A British diplomat who defected to the Soviet Union has come in from the cold at Dundee’s Caird Hall.
Caird Hall manager Susan Gillan has unearthed a signed framed portrait of Alan Bates from the time of filming his role as Guy Burgess in the BBC drama An Englishman Abroad.
The framed portrait will now take pride of place as part of a display to celebrate the 100th year of the Caird Hall.
The film, which was shown in November 1983, was shot in Dundee and centred on the British diplomat Guy Burgess who defected to the USSR in 1951.
The Caird Hall was transformed into the Bolshoi Ballet building in Moscow and tonnes of salt was poured on to City Square by council workers to replicate a Russian winter.
Susan said: “The photo was taken during the filming and is of Alan Bates in character as Guy Burgess in the foyer of the Caird Hall when he arrives at the Bolshoi Theatre.
“The picture used to hang in the old bar at the Whitehall Theatre before it was returned to our management seven years ago and now is a good time to let the public view it again.”
The discovery of the framed portrait was made before a free screening of the film by the Friends of Dundee City Archives at the Steps Theatre on May 9 at 2pm.
The drama, which was written by Alan Bennett and directed by John Schlesinger, celebrated its 35th anniversary last year, which prompted the Friends to find out if it could be shown again in the city.
The Caird Hall made it on to the cover of the Radio Times to promote the film, which starred Alan Bates, Coral Browne and Charles Gray who played the arch-villain Blofeld in the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever.
Iain Flett from the Friends said: “In one scene Coral Browne was trying to find someone who could give her directions to an address she had been given.
“She ended up searching around a chalkboard information centre based in Exchange Street where the former Victorian building had a Chicago-type fire escape.
“I recall that some Dundonian wag then chalked up ‘Russkies go home’ on top of the Cyrillic messages once filming had stopped.
“We’d be interested to hear the tales of those who were extras, like the Chamber’s cleaner’s daughter who had to wear authentic Russian clothing right down to the scratchy woollen underwear.”
The TV play was based on a true incident in 1958 in which actress Coral Browne met the spy and defector Guy Burgess in a Moscow theatre.
The Friends have also been given permission to show a short extract from the BBC Archive from 1968 entitled: “Cameron’s Country: Point of Departure” (Dundee) when journalist James Cameron revisited the newsroom of The Courier to read some of his earlier prose.
Entry is free but a large turnout is expected and so places should be booked at Central Library reception or 01382 431500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org