Richard Whiteley is best known for presenting the popular afternoon quiz show Countdown, and Ricky Tomlinson is best known for starring in the popular sitcom The Royle Family. Back in the 1970s things were very different. This week we examine Tomlinson’s recent allegation that Whiteley was a ‘member’ of the security services, due to his role presenting an 1973 documentary that influenced the trial of the Shrewsbury 24 – including Tomlinson. This trial, and this documentary, were the British establishment’s revenge against Tomlinson and other leaders of the 1972 Building Workers Strike. Amidst an ongoing cover-up I examine the plausibility of Tomlinson’s allegation that Whiteley was a spy, and the unconvincing denial of the allegation by Whiteley’s former partner.
What connects JFK, Allen Dulles and the CIA’s invasion at the Bay of Pigs to the movies Thunderball and Goldfinger? The answer is the relationship between the CIA and James Bond. In this episode we look at Fleming’s decades-long relationship with American intelligence, from the OSS through to the CIA, and how Dulles’ friendship with Fleming allowed the Agency to quietly improve their public image via the James Bond novels. We also examine how the CIA were invited to a screening of Goldfinger by Charles Russhon – the military consultant and technical advisor on the early Bond movies. Rounding off with the story of the CIA’s secret support for the movie of Thunderball and its connections to JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis, this is an epic exploration of the relationships between popular culture, high politics and intelligence.
In November 1959 CIA Director Allen Dulles sent a copy of the new Ian Fleming novel Goldfinger to Jackie Kennedy. In October 1964 the CIA Deputy Director Marshall Carter was invited to a special screening of the new James Bond movie Goldfinger at the MPAA headquarters in Washington. The film was later banned in Israel because of the actor playing the eponymous villain’s Nazi past, as noted in the CIA’s records on Bond, making Goldfinger one of the most important 1960s films to feature the CIA.
Tomorrow Never Dies is perhaps the most military-heavy Bond film of recent times, benefiting from production support from both the British and American armed forces. Despite this the Pentagon’s Hollywood liaison Phil Strub denied that they provided any assistance to the film-makers. This document proves that Strub is not telling the truth and provides new details of the negotiation struck between the producers and the Pentagon.