Sebastian Baczkiewicz:
The Orchid Grower

BBC Radio 3: Drama on 3

Broadcast: Sunday 11th September 2005 @ 8:00 p.m.

The play marks an episode in the history of the CIA that prompted its future director, William Colby, to conclude: "That kind of Intelligence Service is a threat to its own people". At the beginning of 1964 the cold war was at its height and Yuri Nosenko was a Lieutenant-Colonel in the KGB who longed to share in the freedom and potential of life in the United States. His defection should have been a major coup for the CIA, however, its head of counter-intelligence saw not a convert to capitalist democracy, but a deadly double agent.

Knowing that he had information that would have been valuable to the Americans, Nosenko had expected to be rewarded with a lavish American salary. The fact that he had handled Lee Harvey Oswald's file for the KGB should have made him even more important to the Americans. But he is caught in a web of suspicion, betrayal and paranoia. His CIA "handler", Kovacs, tells his story from twenty-five years later in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall comes down.

Sebastian Baczkiewicz tells the incredible story of Nosenko's four years of torture and imprisonment without trial, as civil war raged within the CIA over his bona fides.

A co-production with CBC, Canada, and recorded on location in Toronto, the play was wriiten by Sebastian Baczkiewicz, drawing on material from journalist and Cold War expert Tom Mangold's 1991 book "Cold Warrior: James Jesus Angleton - The CIA's Master Spyhunter".

With Kenneth Welsh [Phil Kovacs], John Cleland [Young Phil Kovacs], Michael Murphy [James Angleton], Leo Vernik [Yuri Nosenko], Emma Campbell [Fran Kovacs], Greg Ellwand [Andy Dawson], Rod Wilson [Stan Forbes], John Robinson [Frank Holmes], Tara Samuels [Stacey, the Waitress], Chuck Shamata [Richard Helms], Michael Caruana [Dr. Delamore], Patrick McManus [Cal], Barry Flatman [Bruce Solie], Jonathan Higgins [Durand], and Gerry Mendicino [CIA Doctor].

Directed by Toby Swift

Co-Produced by Greg DeClute

Re-broadcast on Sunday 25th June 2006 @ 8:00 p.m.

90 min.


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