Cambridge Spies - The Guy Burgess Files
Cambridge Spies - The Guy Burgess Files is a City, University of London microsite dedicated to the research of Professor Stewart Purvis and Jeff Hulbert. You will find the latest updates on the academics’ investigations into the Cold War spy, as well as videos, analysis and background information.
The discovery of the only known television interview with Guy Burgess, one of Britain's most infamous traitors, is the latest remarkable breakthrough to involve the City researchers. It offers a fascinating insight into the spy's life in Russia and will be among the valuable sources used by the academics in their biography of the spy.
Recorded in Moscow after he defected to Russia in 1951, the footage was recovered from an archive at a Canadian broadcaster and aired in the UK for the first time in an exclusive Newsnight report. The BBC Two programme's analysis of the film was presented by Stewart Purvis, Professor of Television Journalism at City, who revealed the significance of the discovery with the help of experts and historians.
It followed the finding of the only known audio recording of Burgess in 2013, when the City researchers obtained a tape from the FBI through a freedom of information request. An exclusive Channel 4 report on the finding was broadcast in January 2014 - receiving worldwide interest and raising the question of whether further recordings existed.
The television interview was unearthed when an archivist from Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) recognised Burgess's name on an old reel following the worldwide coverage of the FBI tape story. CBC then contacted the City researchers to check the authenticity and significance of the finding. After detailed research, the academics concluded there was no other record of the film.
The 1959 recording - which remained hidden in archives for more than 50 years - brings to life the colourful Cold War spy, who defected to Soviet Russia in 1951 but claims in front of the camera that he is not a traitor. It is thought to be the only time any one of the Cambridge Five - Burgess, Anthony Blunt, John Cairncross, Donald Maclean and Harold 'Kim' Philby - spoke to a Western camera crew while in Moscow.