David Jason is to present a spy documentary for More4, Custard TV can reveal.
With the working title David Jason’s Secret Service, the series follows the espionage enthusiast as he investigates Britain’s spy history at home and across Europe, driving a Sunbeam Alpine, the car made famous by Sean Connery in Dr No.
Airing next month, the three hour-long episodes will explores how Britain set up the world’s first professional intelligence agency in 1909, thwarted the Nazis and pioneered cutting-edge gadgetry.
“As a boy, growing up in the 40s, the world of spies and espionage filled my young brain with endless questions” Jason said. “Throughout the years, the Bond movies and spy novels fuelled that interest and I was fascinated with the ingenuity and audacity of real life secret agents around the world.
“I hope this journey will answer so many questions and reveal newly discovered secrets of a very secret world. No longer fantasy speculation, these stories have been researched by top historians and their results are incredible. I feel privileged to be exploring such a fascinating world.”
Each episode focuses on a different theme, with the actor travelling from Austrian resorts to luxury Parisian restaurants and picturesque stately homes as he uncovers the secrets lurking behind their doors and the characters that have shaped spy history.
Jason, who has previously fronted films on wartime escapes and the Battle of Britain for ITV, will also be interviewing historians and visiting secret locations, examining the significance of the latest intelligence scoops, Heath Robinson gadgets and recently declassified files.
He shot Secret Service between work on the fourth series of Open All Hours and disclosed some details about the series last month.
“I know Ian Fleming ended up creating James Bond from his knowledge of the secret service but there’s a whole other side involving real people fighting against oppression” he told The Daily Mirror.
“There were literally little old ladies in France or Belgium sitting knitting by the railways who were secretly employed to share information about German troop movements.
“Some of the stories are incredibly moving, like the 21-year-old refugee Gabrielle Petit, who eventually got murdered by a German firing squad.
“And some are funny, like the one about this scruffy boffin Cecil Clarke who invented a bomb to try to eliminate Hitler’s right-hand man Himmler.
“But lots of the stories demonstrate the incredible human spirit people demonstrated amidst the horrors of war.”
David Jason’s Secret Service is directed by James Tovell, produced by Rebecca Hayman and executive produced Miker Warner for documentary specialists October Films. It was commissioned by Rob Coldstream, Channel 4’s commissioning editor for history.
Story from Jay Richardson