Salting the Battlefield

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Salting the Battlefield
GenreDrama, Thriller, Crime, Action
Written byDavid Hare
Directed by David Hare
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
ProducerCelia Duval
Running time93 minutes
Production companies
Original network
Original release
  • 27 March 2014 (2014-03-27)

Salting the Battlefield is a 2014 British political thriller television film, written and directed for the BBC by the British writer David Hare. It follows Page Eight , which aired on BBC Two in August 2011 and Turks & Caicos , which aired in 2014. [1] [2] [3] [4]



Following their flight from Turks and Caicos, Johnny Worricker (Bill Nighy) and Margot Tyrell (Helena Bonham Carter) hopscotch around Europe to evade capture by MI5. After spotting one of his former recruits, disguised as a passing jogger, Johnny relocates once again and instructs former colleague Rollo Maverley (Ewen Bremner) to leak news of Prime Minister Alec Beasley's (Ralph Fiennes) corrupt dealings with Stirling Rogers (Rupert Graves) and his Bridge Foundation. Margot secretly keeps in touch with Johnny's pregnant daughter Julianne (Felicity Jones). In London, Acting Director General Jill Tankard (Judy Davis) contacts Deputy Prime Minister Anthea Catcheside (Saskia Reeves) and offers her services in aiding Catcheside's embattled husband.

Johnny and Margot separate on their way back into Britain to confound their pursuers. While Johnny disappears and travels via the English Channel, an errant MI5 agent runs into Margot on a train and alerts his superiors. Rollo aids Margot's escape and delivers her to Reverend Bernard Towers (Malcolm Sinclair), a friend of Johnny's from Cambridge. Johnny contacts Belinda Kay (Olivia Williams), editor-in-chief of The Independent and details the workings of the financial deals surrounding Beasley, Rogers and The Bridge. Kay's publication of the information causes Rogers to resign from the foundation and admit to his misdeeds, despite Beasley's assurances.

Julianne contacts Margot after learning that her boyfriend (Shazad Latif) was an MI5 plant who has bugged her flat. Johnny arranges a meeting with Beasley at 10 Downing Street, demanding he call off the surveillance against his daughter. Beasley reveals that he intends to leave office and assume the title of Consul General to Iran, with American funding and UN cover. Johnny is then summoned to a meeting with Tankard, who reveals that she engineered Beasley's downfall after seeing the extent of the Page Eight, the intelligence that started the scandal. Through her burying of Bill Catcheside's legal troubles, Tankard has Anthea, Beasley's planned successor, in her pocket. Tankard asks Johnny to return to MI5, an offer he reluctantly accepts in return for Julianne and Margot's safety and Maverley's reinstatement into MI5.

Back in Margot's apartment, Johnny sees Margot leaving for Hong Kong to work in a start-up. Margot mentions that Julianne is in labour, accompanied by her mother. The film closes with scenes of Margot leaving, Johnny walking across London to the MI5 headquarters, and Julianne giving birth to her child.


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