How double agents tricked Nazis
Double Cross: The True Story Of The D-Day Spies BBC2, 9pm
THE story of D-Day has been told from the point of view of the soldiers who fought in it, the tacticians who planned it and the generals who led it.
But that epic event in world history has never been told before from the perspective of the strange handful of spies who made it possible.
D-Day was a great victory of arms, a tactical coup, and a moral crusade. But it was also a triumph for espionage, deceit, and thinking of the most twisted sort.
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Operation Fortitude, which protected and enabled the invasion, and the Double Cross system, which specialised in turning German spies into double agents, deceived the Nazis into believing the Allies would attack at Calais and Norway rather than Normandy.
It was the most sophisticated and successful deception operation ever carried out, ensuring that Hitler kept an entire Army awaiting a fake invasion, saving thousands of lives, and securing an Allied victory at the most critical juncture in the war.
Along the way, it included a brilliant, urbane intelligence officer, a colourful assortment of MI5 handlers, and the five spies who formed Double Cross's nucleus – a dashing Serbian playboy, a Polish fighter-pilot, a bisexual Peruvian party girl, a deeply eccentric Spaniard with a diploma in chicken farming and a volatile Frenchwoman, whose obsessive love for her pet dog very nearly wrecked the entire plan.
If that little lot doesn't persuade you to get watching, I don't know what will.