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DOUBLE AGENT: The Eddie Chapman Story

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Ben Macintyre Agent Zigzag

Tuesday, 15th November | 9pm | BBC2

Following on from his hugely successful BBC 2 documentary, Operation
 Mincemeat, based on his book of the same name, writer and presenter Ben 
Macintyre returns to the small screen to bring to life his other best selling book - Agent Zigzag.  As part of this new Timewatch series, Macintyre reveals the gripping true story of Britain's most extraordinary wartime double agent, Eddie Chapman.

Codenamed Zigzag by his British handlers, Chapman breaks every stereotype of
the stiff upper-lipped WW2 spy. A working-class pre-war crook - and one of
 the best safe-blowers in the country - he was a dashing, handsome,
 womanising conman whose talents led to one end: breaking all the rules.

Arrested in 1939 in Jersey after blowing a safe at the Co-Op, Chapman faced
 20 years in prison. When the Germans occupied the Channel Islands in 1940,
 he immediately offered them his services. His safe-blowing skills
recommended him: that, and the fact that he was wanted by every police force 
in Britain. Trained in a secret German spy school in France, Chapman was 
parachuted into England in 1942 with orders to blow up the factory producing
 the famous Mosquito aircraft - Britain's fastest bomber.

But Chapman had other ideas. Immediately after landing, he turned himself in
to MI5 and began working for them - as a double-agent. An astonishingly bold
plan was hatched to fake the attack on the Mosquito factory. The fraud was
successful beyond anyone's dreams. Chapman was flooded with radio messages
of congratulation by his German spymasters. When he finally returned to
 Occupied Europe via Lisbon – an act of extraordinary bravery - he was also awarded Germany's highest decoration, the Iron Cross. He remains the only British citizen in history ever to win one.

A lone British spy at the heart of the German Secret Service, Chapman's Nazi
 handlers never suspected him. Instead, they lavished money and gifts on him.
 As the Third Reich's star spy, he even helped train other German agents in
the black arts of espionage. Meanwhile, he was busy hatching his own plan to
assassinate Hitler at a rally, a plan which was stopped for reasons that are
still classified.

In June 1944, the Germans sent Chapman back into Britain for a new mission. 
M15 installed him in a suburban house in Hendon, from where he sent false
reports back to Germany about the accuracy of the V1 rockets which were
terrorising London. As a result, he was personally responsible for saving
thousands of lives.

Including remarkable and newly-discovered footage from an interview Chapman
 gave three years before his death in 1997, Macintyre goes on the trail of
one of Britain's most unlikely heroes in this true-life ripping yarn - a
story of adventure, love, intrigue and astonishing courage.

Double Agent: The Eddie Chapman Story is directed by Stephen Walker, who also produced Operation Mincemeat and directed the multiple Bafta-nominated A Boy Called Alex about a young Eton music scholar who suffers from cystic fibrosis.

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