Best-selling author and Times reporter Ben Macintyre tells the extraordinary story of the boldest and most successful secret operation of World War Two in an upcoming new BBC documentary.
Based on Macintyre's Number One bestselling book, Operation Mincemeat, produced by Stephen Walker and directed by Russell England, Operation Mincemeat will be broadcast on BBC2 this Christmas.
One April morning in 1943, a sardine fisherman spotted the corpse of a British soldier floating in the sea off the coast of Spain and set in train a course of events that would change the course of the Second World War.
Operation Mincemeat was the most successful wartime deception ever attempted, and certainly the strangest. It hoodwinked the Nazi espionage chiefs, sent German troops hurtling in the wrong direction, and saved thousands of lives by deploying a secret agent who was different, in one crucial respect, from any spy before or since: he was already dead.
His mission: to convince the Germans that instead of attacking Sicily, the Allied armies planned to invade Greece.
Using fraud, imagination and seduction, Churchill's team of spies spun a web of deceit so elaborate and so convincing that they began to believe it themselves. The deception started in a windowless basement beneath Whitehall. It travelled from London to Scotland to Spain to Germany. And it ended up on Hitler's desk.
For more than sixty years, Operation Mincemeat has been shrouded in secrecy. Now, for the first time, Ben Macintyre reveals the true story of what happened - and how. Together with a cast of original witnesses and previously unseen archive, he reveals how a group of brilliant men and women - and the corpse of a Welsh tramp - came together to pull off one of the greatest, and most bizarre, deceptions in history.
Tremendous... has everything you'd want from a ripping yarn. Truly astonishing. Radio Times
Remarkable... Daily Mail
A cracking yarn... Daily Telegraph
Gripping... sheer delight. A tremendous programme. The Times
Cracking documentary... Sunday Telegraph
A fascinating film... Observer
As incredible as the raciest of James Bond thrillers... Mail on Sunday
A ripping true-life thrill... Metro
Boy’s Own adventure stuff... Daily Express
Impressive... A ripping, gripping yarn... Daily Telegraph
Hugely entertaining.... The Times
See the photo gallery.
About Ben Macintyre
Ben is writer-at-large and associate editor of the Times of London. He is the author of a number of bestselling books including Operation Mincemeat, Agent Zigzag, The Man Who Would Be King, The Englishman’s Daughter, The Napoleon of Crime, and Forgotten Fatherland.
He lives in London with his wife, the novelist Kate Muir, and their three children. Operation Mincemeat is his first television programme as presenter.
Director: Russell England
Producer: Stephen Walker
- Visit the Bloomsbury website for full information about the book, Operation Mincemeat.
- Visit the BBC's programme page for the documentary
- See BBC History for historical background information
- Read an interview with Ben Macintyre about Operation Mincemeat or his blog on the BBC
- Read an article about the making of the documentary by director, Russell England.