Andrew and Director Dominic Cooke sit down to talk about his new movie The Courier (2021), starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel Brosnahan and Merab Ninidze, which tells the story of Greville Wynne and Oleg Penkovsky. A Cold War spy thriller based on true events where humanity was precariously perched on a wire.
- Director Dominic Cooke & Andrew
The Courier (2021) starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel Brosnahan and Merab Ninidze
- Based on one of the most remarkable espionage stories of the Cold War
- High level Soviet military intelligence officer, codename Hero (USA), Yoga (UK)
- Historical backdrop: the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Berlin Crisis, Kennedy vs. Khrushchev
The Spy Who Saved the World?
How did a rather unremarkable English businessman find himself working undercover behind the Iron Curtain
on behalf of western intelligence? How did he end up as a courier for a Russian military intelligence officer who was secretly working for the west? How, frankly, did your average Joe end up in the infamous Lubyanka Prison in Moscow, only to be exchanged for a KGB intelligence mastermind named Gordon Lonsdale (who was really Konon Trofimovich Molody)? This is the story of Greville Wynne and Oleg Penkovsky who for a short period of time worked together during some of the most critical – and tense - years of the Cold War: from Kennedy’s Inaugural in ‘61
, and the Bay of Pigs and the building of the Berlin Wall later that year, to the climacteric Cuban Missile Crisis in October of 1962
, an event to which the names of Penkovsky – who provided crucial information – and Wynne will forever be associated. Indeed, they were “rolled up” by the KGB that very month. Greville came back from his incarceration a shell of his former self and never really recovered, struggling with depression and alcoholism for the rest of his life, while Penkovsky would be executed for treason.
An Englishman and a Scotsman Walk Into a Podcast
Hear more as two University of Warwick
Alumni chat it up about the Cold War, drama, spy fiction, whether or not Benedict Cumberbatch really lost all that weight for one of the movies most poignant scenes, and much more besides.
N.B. SPYCAST 2.0 - LAUNCH DATE, May 4, 2021!