Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond premieres January 29 On BBC America’s Dramaville

Date: 19.12.2013     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 17.51
Category: BBC Worldwide
New original miniseries reveals the man behind Bond - starring Dominic Cooper as the creator of 007

Click to tweet: Fleming: The Man Who Would Be #Bond premieres January 29 On @BBCAmerica’s Dramaville http://bbc.in/JFI2yH via @BBCWpress 

There’s no questioning the iconic status of the man they call 007, but before his thrilling adventures hit the page or screen, they were experienced first-hand by author-to-be, Ian Fleming. Stylish and explosive - BBC AMERICA’s Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond tells the fascinating story of the man whose own life and escapades were the inspiration for one of the most iconic figures in modern literature – James Bond. The new original four-part drama stars Dominic Cooper (Captain America: The Winter Soldier) as Fleming, a charming and sophisticated maverick, whose pleasure-seeking life was turned around by WWII and led to the creation of the greatest spy the world has ever known. Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond premieres Wednesday, January 29, 10:00pm ET/PT as part of BBC AMERICA’s Dramaville.  

Set at the outbreak of WWII – mischievous playboy Ian Fleming is untroubled by the specter of impending war – chasing women, collecting rare books and living off his family fortune. Forever in the shadow of his brother Peter (Rupert Evans, World Without End), and an eternal disappointment to his formidable mother Eve (Lesley Manville, Maleficent), Fleming dreams of becoming the ‘ultimate’ man – a hero, a lover, a brute and the one who always gets the girl. He is finally given some direction in his life when he’s recruited by the Director of Naval Intelligence, Admiral John Godfrey (Samuel West, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell), to help in the effort against the Nazis. Suddenly, Fleming finds his chance to shine and prove his worth.

At first, Fleming’s inclined to treat his new job in Naval Intelligence as a big adventure. But as he encounters the shocking consequences and challenges of war, he learns where his talents lie. With the somewhat skeptical support of tough-cookie Lieutenant Monday (Anna Chancellor, The Hour), Fleming’s ability to spin a tale makes him a perfect fit for espionage and quickly takes him from pushing paper to stealing secrets.

From the director of the BAFTA®-nominated Road to Guantanamo, Mat Whitecross, Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond captures both the opulence of high society London and the suspense and intrigue behind enemy lines. Through mind-blowing escapades at home and abroad, Fleming risks his life. At the same time, the stakes increase as Fleming faces his own inner demons, battling to breakdown the walls within and open himself to love. His chance encounter with the captivating baroness, Ann O’Neill (Lara Pulver, Sherlock), becomes a passionate affair that shapes both their lives. While Bond fans will spot many a nod to the legendary agent, the series is ultimately a gripping account of a playboy spy and the woman who won his heart.

Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond is the latest title to join BBC AMERICA’s Dramaville, the home of groundbreaking British drama. The Dramaville slate includes the channel’s hit series Broadchurch, Golden Globe®-winning mini-series Luther, Emmy® Award-winning mini-series The Hour, and the Golden Globe® nominated Burton & Taylor.


Note to editors

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CAST AND PRODUCTION CREDITS

 

Ian Fleming                   Dominic Cooper (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Devil’s Double)

Ann O’Neil                   Laura Pulver (Sherlock, True Blood)

Muriel Wright              Annabelle Wallis (Peaky Blinders, The Tudors)

Eve Fleming                  Lesley Manville (Maleficent, Theory of Everything)

Lieutenant Monday       Anna Chancellor (The Hour, How I Live Now)

Admiral John Godfrey  Samuel West (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Mr. Selfridge)

Peter Fleming               Rupert Evans (World Without End, Hellboy)

Loelia                            Camilla Rutherford (The Crimson Petal and the White, Gosford Park)

Writers                        John Brownlow

                                    Don Macpherson

Director                       Mat Whitecross

Executive Producer      Douglas Rae 

 Michael Parke

Robert Bernstein

Producer                      Sarah Curtis

 

Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond from Ecosse Films is a BBC AMERICA and Sky Atlantic co-production, distributed by BBC Worldwide.

 

CHARACTER GUIDE

IAN FLEMING (Dominic Cooper)

Ian Fleming is the debonair and enigmatic creator of James Bond, whose real life is as exciting and sexually charged as that of his famous creation. We meet Fleming as a lost young man with only one sure purpose in his life – the pursuit of pleasure. WWII and a position in Naval Intelligence bring about a brilliant man with a hidden dark side.

ANN O’NEILL (Lara Pulver)

Elegant, independent and alluring, Ann is a leading figure among London’s social elite. She is married to Baron O’Neill, but while he serves in the military she is indulging in an affair with newspaper magnate Esmond Rothermere. When she meets Fleming, the pair is infatuated and become hooked in a twisted game of passions.

LIEUTENANT MONDAY (Anna Chancellor)

The inspiration for Miss Moneypenny, Lieutenant Monday is Admiral Godfrey’s secretary and Fleming’s liaison. She’s highly capable at her job and first to spot the potential in Fleming, in spite of his self-destructive tendencies.

MURIEL WRIGHT (Annabelle Wallis)

The very first incarnation of the Bond girl, Muriel is a beautiful dispatch courier who falls in love with Fleming, and hopes (against the odds) that she can be the one to win his heart.

ADMIRAL GODFREY (Samuel West)

Director of Naval Intelligence, John Godfrey is the inspiration for ‘M’. Skeptical, cantankerous and practical, Godfrey hires Fleming for his position in the Navy. He’s an old curmudgeon, with a stern manner, but eventually warms to Fleming and becomes something of a father figure to him.

PETER FLEMING (Rupert Evans)

Already a successful author, Peter (Ian Fleming’s older brother) tries to help keep his sibling on the straight and narrow, and can be a little unintentionally patronizing at times. He’s serving in the army during the war and becomes very much affected by the realities of combat.

EVELYN ST CROIX FLEMING (Lesley Manville)

Ian Fleming’s mother, Evelyn, is a force of nature – ice cold, but fabulous. Swathed in furs and colorful scarves, she exudes all the power a woman in her position at that time had, to the extent that she is on first-name terms with Churchill. Always championing Peter at Ian’s expense, she has a very strained relationship with her youngest son and intensely disapproves of his dalliance with Ann.

ESMOND ROTHERMERE (Pip Torrens)

Ann O’Neill’s future husband and owner of the Daily Mail, Esmond is posh, rich, and in denial about Fleming and Ann’s relationship.

EPISODE SYNOPSES

Episode One premieres Wednesday, January 29, 10:00pm ET/PT.

In London, 1938, Ian Fleming is a dissolute playboy, eclipsed by his dead war hero father and successful brother. While propping up the bar at a jazz club, he meets Ann O’Neill, an alluring socialite. Unlike many of his conquests, Ann is more than a match for him. She already has a husband and a lover, Esmond Rothermere. Fleming finds solace in the arms of a beautiful dispatch rider named Muriel. Following a frosty morning-after encounter with Muriel, Fleming’s domineering mother secures him a job assisting Naval Intelligence’s Admiral John Godfrey. He quickly incurs Godfrey’s wrath when he cooks up an unorthodox scheme to get information from two captured German submariners. However, Fleming’s valuable findings make it apparent that an imaginative approach could be just what the war effort requires.

 

Episode Two premieres Wednesday, February 5, 10:00pm ET/PT.

A mischievous Ann invites Fleming to Esmond’s birthday party, and although Fleming has brought Muriel as his date, sexual chemistry sizzles between them. Meanwhile, France is looking like it’s about to crumble against Nazi forces. Office bound and desperate to be a man of action, Fleming urgently tries to persuade Godfrey to send him to France to oversee the destruction of secret files at one of their bureaus. To his surprise, Godfrey accepts. Fleming sets-off on his mission, but when unexpected obstacles arise, how will he handle the dangerous consequences?

 

Episode Three premieres Wednesday, February 12, 10:00pm ET/PT.

While training at a camp in Canada (Camp X), the Americans ask Fleming to use his talents to write a blueprint for a Central Intelligence Agency. On his return to London, Fleming persuades Godfrey to form the 30 Assault Unit – a group of the toughest soldiers prepared to play dirty, with Fleming serving as commanding officer. He believes the new unit of Intelligence Commandos is the key to beating the Nazis. Meanwhile, Fleming continues his relationship with Ann, but refuses to consider taking it to the next level, while Rothermere makes it clear he intends to win her over once and for all.

 

Episode Four premieres Wednesday, February 19, 10:00pm ET/PT.

The war is nearly over, but Fleming is convinced the Nazis are hiding nuclear plans and that the British need to find them before the Russians. Finally, Fleming is granted permission to go to Germany to attempt to retrieve the plans. He succeeds in tracking down the documents, but comes face to face with The Werewolves (renegade German soldiers who will die before giving up the cause).  Back in London, celebrations are underway, but the arrival of peace also means wartime relationships will have to be reassessed. Will Fleming and Ann finally find a way to be together? Moreover, with the war in its final throws, Fleming’s days in Naval Intelligence are numbered – what other ways will he find to channel his ingenuity and imagination?

 

 

 

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