License to Kill?

Filed under: Biography

Daphne Park speaks about British Intelligence, with readings from Lucy Fleming

Daphne Park does not look like James Bond – in fact her beady cosiness is more reminiscent of Miss Marple – but she was the true face of British Intelligence for the second half of the twentieth century. She served in the SOE during the Second World War, in Moscow during the Cold War, and in Hanoi during the Vietnam conflict. She smuggled men out of the Congo in the boot of her car (not an Aston Martin, but a 2cv), and became a senior controller for MI6, before moving on to become Principal of Somerville College, Oxford. Created Baroness Park of Monmouth in 1990, she insists that intelligence work is less about glamorous derring-do than about ‘knowing human beings’. So, how real was James Bond? In a discussion to mark the centenary of the birth of Ian Fleming, interspersed with readings from his work by his niece the actress Lucy Fleming, Lady Park talks to diplomat Alan Judd, author of the authorised life of Mansfield Cumming, founder of MI6, and of the spy novel Legacy. Chaired by Alan Judd.

Photo of Ian Flemming.

Recorded on Monday 12 May 2008.