WWII double agents to be a TV series

The story of the double agents who fooled the Nazis in the run-up to D-Day is being made into a big-budget TV series.

The show, based on journalist Ben Macintyre's best-selling book Double Cross, is the true story of how an eccentric group of spies tried to convince the Nazis the invasion of Europe would happen at Calais and not on the Normandy beaches.

They were so successful that large numbers of German troops were kept stationed near the port and away from the vital landing beaches.

Macintyre said the appeal of the story was the "dodgy human material" at the heart of it.

"There are double agents, triple agents, even one quadruple agent. It is a 'truth is stranger than fiction' job so we can make it very dramatic without departing from the truth.

"I mean, one of the main characters is a Peruvian bisexual playgirl with the unimprovable name of Elvira de la Fuente Chaudoir," he said.

The other spies included a Serbian businessman, a Polish soldier and a Spanish chicken farmer who created a vast network of fictional agents who fed false information to the Germans.

Macintyre added: "I inherited a rather black-and-white view of the Second World War where we were on the right side and they were on the wrong side and this is a far more confused picture where good people do bad things for a good cause. There is a complexity to it that people like."

The series is being developed by See-Saw Films - the UK production company behind The King's Speech - and is expected to include an American and European cast.

Macintyre said casting had not begun, but he did have one star in mind to take part.

"I think Damian Lewis would be a fantastic character to have involved and I know he is very interested in this area of history."