Spies in Fiction – The Agenda full episode
The Agenda


In this episode of The Agenda with Stephen Cole, we sort fact from fiction and examine the role of the spy both in books and on the silver screen.

Following the death of Sean Connery, we take a closer look at the legendary actor's most famous on-screen role, James Bond. 

We ask: Are the Bonds and Bournes of this world anything like their real-life counterparts? Is realism something that even matters in a spy thriller? Or do we forgive all kinds of artistic license so long as the story keeps us on the edge of our seats?

We speak to Frederick Forsyth, best-selling author of The Day of the Jackal, The Fourth Protocol and The Odessa File among many others. As well as having sold more than 70 million copies of his books worldwide, Forsyth also worked alongside MI6, the British Secret Intelligence Service, for decades.

As the pandemic delays the release of No Time to Die, the 25th official Bond film, until April 2021 at the earliest, we also speak to Monica Germana, author of Bond Girls: Body, Fashion and Gender and Penny Fielding, the organizer of Edinburgh's Spy Week and a professor at the University of Edinburgh. We ask them whether there is really a place for the martini-drinking spy in a post #MeToo world.

READ MORE: The name's Bond… Jane Bond? How spy fiction has always reflected changes in society