From vagabond to spy and world-famous author, the BBC miniseries, ‘Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond,’ comes to Arizona PBS Thursdays at 8 p.m. during the month of May.
This four-part chronicle explores the life of Ian Fleming, who wrote the James Bond novels. Ian’s story begins at the outset of World War II, at which point he is a mischievous playboy who is chasing women, collecting books and living off his family’s fortune.
He believes he’s a disappointment to his mother, as he lives in the shadow of older brother Peter, a successful author married to a movie star.
Ian, played by Dominic Cooper, is a lost young man, dreams of becoming the “ultimate” man and finally sees direction in his life when he is recruited to begin a naval intelligence job to help take down the Nazis. This experience paves the way for his creation of 007.
May 2: Part One
In 1938, Ian Fleming is a dissolute playboy in London, eclipsed by his father, a war hero, and his 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.
May 9: Part Two
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, only to have unexpected obstacles arise.
May 16: Part Three
While training at Camp X in Canada, 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.
May 23: Part Four
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 throes, Fleming’s days in Naval Intelligence are numbered – what other ways will he find to channel his ingenuity and imagination?