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Channel 4 has commissioned a co-production between Firecrest Films and Typer Productions that explores the extraordinary life and spying career of John Stonehouse, a senior minister in Harold Wilson’s 1960s Labour government.

The narrative film, which is part of the Secret History strand, reveals how Stonehouse colluded with the Czech security service at the height of the Cold War. The film also looks at how Prime Ministers from Wilson to Thatcher chose not to investigate further the allegations that Stonehouse was a spy.

It features testimony -shown for the first time- from those who were there, combined with archive and motion graphics. It also uses actors, who voice written testimony from both the Czech Security Services files on Stonehouse and the National Archives’ government records.

Shaminder Nahal, Head of Specialist Factual and Commissioning Editor says: “The story of the former minister John Stonehouse faking his own death is nothing less than extraordinary. This rich and atmospheric film reveals new evidence about his spying for the Czechs at the height of the Cold War - and its heady mix of politics, celebrity, mystery and media frenzy throws up interesting parallels with events today”.

Keely Winstone, director says: ‘It’s been incredible to have the opportunity through Channel 4 to show what I can do as a director. I felt really empowered by my commissioner Shaminder Nahal to create something individual to me in terms of tone and style.’

The Spy Who Died Twice airs Monday 9th May at 9pm on Channel 4.


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