Secrets of the Spies: who were Roman Czerniawski, Kim Philby, who is Aimen Dean - release date of ITV series

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ITV historical docuseries Secrets of the Spies sheds light on the shadowy world of international espionage from the Second World War to this century

Secrets of the Spies follows some the most important figures, both real and fictional, in British espionage.

The ITV history series was released on streaming service Britbox this March but is now being broadcast on ITV.

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Secrets of the Spies uncovers the hidden role that spies had during the Second World War, and still have today, in shaping global events

Using archival footage, previously secret documents, and expert interviews, the series paints a picture of life as a spy.

James Bond author Ian FlemingJames Bond author Ian Fleming
James Bond author Ian Fleming | Getty Images

What is Secrets of the Spies about?

The series is made up of three hour-long episodes, and each instalment looks at a different element of spycraft.

Episode one explores the techniques that spies employ and the kind of character that a spy must have to maintain a double life.

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The second episode focuses on notorious assassination attempts made by spies.

The final episode of the series covers the art of disinformation, blackmail, and exploitation.

Secrets of the Spies revisits Britain’s most iconic secret agent, James Bond, and his creator, Ian Fleming, who drew on his experience working for Naval Intelligence during the Second World War as inspiration for the character.

The series also explores the lives of three real life spies - Roman Czerniawski, Kim Philby, and Aimen Dean.

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Who was Roman Czerniawski?

Roman Czerniawski was a Polish Air Force captain and double agent during the Second World War.

He set up an espionage network in France in 1940, but the network was uncovered by the Germans who sent him to England to work as an agent for the Reich.

Instead, Czerniawski made himself known to British authorities and agreed to work for them as a double agent under the codename Brutus.

He went on to play a significant role in Fortitude South, a deception campaign designed to convince the Germans that the allies would invade Europe via the Pas de Calais rather than Normandy.

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Who was Kim Philby?

Kim Philby was a British Intelligence officer and double agent for the Soviet Union for decades.

At first Philby worked as a journalist, covering the Spanish Civil War and the invasion of France, although he had already been recruited by Soviet intelligence in 1934.

Philby began working for the British secret service in 1940 but continued as a double agent for the Soviets, passing key information to Moscow.

In 1963 he was revealed to have been a member of the Cambridge Five, a British spy ring working for the Soviets. Upon his unmasking, he defected to Moscow where he remained until his death in 1988.

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Double agent Kim PhilbyDouble agent Kim Philby
Double agent Kim Philby | ITV

Who is Aimen Dean?

Aimen Dean was born in Saudi Arabia in 1978, and joined the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda before being recruited by MI6.

As a teenager, Dean fought in the Bosnian War as part of the  Bosnian mujahideen, and witnessed the execution of 200 prisoners by decapitation.

Later, he joined al-Qaeda where he taught recruits Islamic theology - but he became disillusioned by the murder of civillians and left the group.

He was captured by Qatari Intelligence and given the option of joining MI6 which he agreed to do - Dean then spent the next eight years travelling between London and Afghanistan, and passing information to MI6.

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When is Secrets of the Spies on ITV?

The next episode of Secrets of the Spies will air on ITV at 9pm on Tuesday 16 August. The remaining episodes will be broadcast at the same time weekly.

All episodes are currently available to watch on Britbox now.

Is there a trailer?

Yes there is, and you can watch it right here:

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