The incredible bravery of apparently ordinary men and women who served in Winston Churchill's secret squad of agents during World War II is revealed in a new BBC programme.
The elite Special Operations Executive were tasked with outwitting Axis powers with sneaky espionage tactics, operating in every enemy-controlled nation in Europe and south-east Asia.
The group's heroes included a Polish countess who is said to have inspired a Bond girl, and a pair of assassins who killed Reinhard Heydrich, a high-ranking Nazi and leading architect of the Holocaust.
In the BBC series Secret Agent Selection, whose first episode airs tonight, 21st-century volunteers will face the same intense physical and mental tests the SOE recruits did during the 1940s.
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