Ridley Pearson posted this picture on Instagram along with this caption “July 17, 1955 plays a HUGE roll in my new novella THE SYNDROME (Kingdom Keepers) coming Jan 2015 any guesses?”

For all of you don’t know what happened that day (or today for that matter), Disneyland opened!

My dearest Philip,

As long as I’ve still got my brains you ain’t gonna be eating ANY brains, you understand?! Although, it would be an honor if you ate mine first… I mean, it would be the fairest thing to do since I’m Phil trash no. 1! BUT YOU STILL AIN’T GONNA EAT BRAINS!!! Just keep on snawning, that will do for now. Love yah Philbie♡

Xxx Daniel


2003: Toby’s thoughts on ‘Cambridge Spies’ and Philby

“The reaction to it is slightly hysterical.”  

“I never saw Philby as an heroic figure, I saw him as an idealist, a naive idealist.  These guys came from an intellectual point of view, but they had no idea of the reality of the proletariat.  The one thing I discovered was that they all drank an incredible amount.  But no matter how drunk Philby got he never gave anything away. The others were more of a liability.”

“The great irony is that I was sent to Aldro, the same prep school as Philby. His name has been erased from the records. They are very embarrassed about it.”

Source: 'I’m perfect to play toff spy Philby’, Evening Standard May 2003

"This is about the realities of spying. And the truth is that for Philby it was squalid and boring. He lived with the neuroses of being a double agent for so long. Because he thought that Communism was the only antidote to the fascism sweeping Europe. By the time he realised Stalin wasn’t so great, he couldn’t get out.”

Source: 'Villain with a Past’, Sunday Telegraph

“Really it’s the story of somebody who starts off passionate about something and then slowly becomes more and more closed off and cynical.“ 

“In the end you have to look at the script, see he is a human being who starts off as an idealist.  By the end of the fourth episode, they are completely different, there is no more of that enthusiasm. I think the reality of what they did was actually very squalid and not heroic.’' 

"It’s comic, because you weren’t actually allowed to discuss the fact that Philby went to the school. I only found out through rumor and eventually confirmed the fact with my parents. It was a huge disgrace.”

"Their names are completely synonymous with treachery. These people are seen as traitorous swine and there’s a whole generation in this country who literally won’t speak about them.”

"I think it’s very dangerous when you represent people as straightforward villains.  There are reasons for what they do. One has to look at the historical context in which these men existed, and I think that’s what the series attempts to do.”

“The rise of the right wing in Europe was perceived by the intelligentsia in England as a real threat. Philby believed utterly in Communism as an antidote to the Fascism that was sweeping through Europe.”

 "The notion of loving one’s country but loathing its governance is really what they felt.  They were deeply patriotic, but they hated the way the country was run and desperately wanted to get rid of this old-school class system.“

"These guys were recruited when they were young and idealistic, at the apex of their naive passion. The thing is, once you’ve taken the step of becoming a Russian spy, you can’t suddenly turn around years later and say, 'Actually this is not all it’s cracked up to be.’ You’re in a situation where you have to justify your actions to yourself. The last thing you want to do is admit you were wrong. After killing God knows how many people, it must be so difficult to admit to yourself, to then say, 'It’s a load of rubbish.’ ”

“You do kind of marvel at how he could be like that. It’s inhuman, almost.  He was the most adept agent. They were all heavy drinkers – Burgess and Maclean were renowned for turning around to someone in a bar and saying, 'I’m a double agent.’ Whereas Philby never did, which I found fascinating: He never lost control, even when he was plastered. Philby so despised the old-school people who ran the country. I think he derived a great pleasure out of hoodwinking them for that long.  The further they got, the more easily they could stay under cover, because of the school tie, because of the school jacket… . The thinking was, you know, 'This man went to Cambridge. He couldn’t possibly be a Communist.”

"In Britain at the moment, there’s all these revelations about how the secret service works.  It’s a piece of machinery very few people understand. So when you put this in contrast to the 'Cambridge Spies’ story, there’s the idea that this very closed shop is still going on.”

“There were articles in all these papers asking, 'How can they glorify these people?’.  But we’re not glorifying them or saying these men were heroic in any way. The series does not propagandize what they did, and we’re not saying it’s quite cool to be a double spy.”

“It’s a choice these people made, and it ruined a lot of people’s lives, including their own. That’s part of the tragedy of Kim Philby, and with all of them, really. What kind of life can you really have if you’re constantly being duplicitous?  In the end, they were still traitor.  This series is not apologizing for them. But you can’t see traitors simply as evil people. You have to somehow make sense of why they made these choices. That might be a rather grandiose thing for a TV series to attempt, but unless you get to the root of the problem, you’re not dealing with it and you’re in danger of opening up yourself up to the same thing again.”

Source: 'Traitor’, San Francisco Chronicle 2003 

“You have got to admire them for standing up for what they believed in.”

Source: BBC

“I knew bits about all of them but the one I knew the lest about was Philby.  Ironically we attended the same prep school Aldro School in Surrey.  Uncovering the truth about Philby proved difficult because of the misinformation that surrounded the lives of these four men.  Firstly, after it all happened, M16 didn’t want to release any information about him because the whole episode was an embarrassment to them.  Secondly, his own biography, written when he was in Moscow was vetted by the KGB and proved useless.  It was quite difficult trying to find out what was true and what was false and, as a consequence, I don’t think many people know what his real story is.  In the end, I just had to play him as the person Peter Moffat had created rather than a villain.”

“Peter’s script portrays Philby as somebody who started out with rather naive ideas about world politics - an idealistic Communist at Cambridge.  He did become cynical and bitter, but when he was recruited to the KGB he believed utterly in Communism as an antidote to the Fascism that was sweeping through Europe.”

“I think they were very different people, and what’s remarkable is that they bonded for such a long period of time.  But what brought them together was their common belief in communism and the whole subterfuge of what they were doing, the excitement of it and the fact that they had no one else to talk to.”

“I think Philby’s greatest sacrifice was having to run away to Moscow.  I think that must have been the biggest sacrifice of all, which is ironic in itself: the fact that they were doing everything for Moscow and yet when they actually got there they found an incredibly grim place.  They believed Stalin’s Russia was this real economic and military power, but when they got there, they saw it for what it really was - a rather shambolic and poverty-ridden place.”

“There’s something very appealing about being a lone wolf, out there doing daring deeds, just you and a pistol.  That’s an image that’s been created by the movies.  But I hope that what ‘Cambridge Spies’ demonstrates is that being a spy is a strange thing to do.  You can’t discuss what you’re doing with anybody.”

Source: Press Pack, BBC

“They were complicated people in a complicated world and their choices were complicated. … This is the story of a sort of love affair between these four characters and a political ideal that was tragic, not only for themselves but for everyone involved.”

“People’s attitudes to Philby are very extreme. Either they think he’s the spawn of Satan, or they think he’s quite an attractive figure.”

“Every area of life was infested with duplicity, our task was to try to hazard a guess, and our guess is as good as anybody’s.”

Philby had a bad stutter and Toby had wanted to use that because “it actually helped him, because it made him cover things up more easily, because it gave him extra time to think about what he was saying."  But he opted not to stutter, because in this "incredibly condensed” version of the spies’ lives, it would have been “a massive distraction.”

“He kind of used women to give him cover or get what he wanted." 

Source: Associated Press 2003 

“Everyone, in their fantasies, wants to be a subversive. But most of us don’t become one, and that breeds a kind of fascination: “How did they manage it? Why would I never have the wherewithal to do that?” The reality must have been very, very complex for them, and at times boring – writing down and photographing all that stuff – and pretty neurotic. They all made sacrifices, and 'Cambridge Spies’ is about what it cost them on an individual level.”

“There’s a dichotomy in Burgess and Blunt where they feel patriotic towards England as a place – they love the landscape, they love the literature, and Blunt loved the royal family – but they don’t feel patriotic towards the government: and I think a lot of people have that duality in their relationship with their country.”

Source: Anton Gardner, The Telegraph Magazine  

“I think really it’s the story of somebody who starts off passionate about something and then slowly, through what he is asked to do, becomes more and more closed off and cynical.”

“It’s very difficult finding anything that’s concrete about Philby,’ he says. 'All you have is people’s opinions of him or attitudes towards him or what they felt about him, how he behaved, but then he was covering up so much even that is misleading.”

“In the end you have to look at the script, see he is a human being who starts off as an idealist.”

“By the end of the fourth episode, they are completely different people and there is no more of that enthusiasm. I think in a way it’s sort of sad, it’s very sordid and the reality of what they did was actually very squalid and not heroic.”

“I’ve never been political actually. I’m very reticent, like most English people, about extremes of politics.  I don’t get involved myself in arguments because I’m a great one for being devil’s advocate as I can see both sides. I think it’s a kind of disease actually”

Source: The Birmingham Post, 5 May 2003 

“They weren’t keeping diaries after all, it was hard to discover what the traitors were really like.”

Source: 'Fidelity, treason, espionage and sex’ The Journal (Newcastle, England) 6 May 2003 


Finally finished! So I made them all pretty attractive mostly because, well, it’s Disney. Disney typically hires good-looking people for their face-things and the Kingdom Keepers are all described as good-looking at one point or another. Amanda has the dark-mysterious beauty quality and Jess is called pretty quite a few times.

Anyway, I tried to capture the diversity of the group. Maybeck gave me a bit of trouble so I used inspiration from Cykeem White (Seriously gorgeous man). Hope you guys like it. 

From left to right: Jess, Willa, Philby, Charlene, Maybeck, Amanda, and Finn. 

ALSO: If you guys want to make some Kingdom Keeper art requests, I’ll gladly take them. :)