Exocet

I was asked to work on this film – for the BBC – in 2001. Originally it was going to be a look at clandestine operations run during the Falklands campaign to stop the Argentine military from procuring Exocet missiles – and to destroy their military from using the ones that they already had. To that end, we made contact with a bunch of ex-SAS people and a former MI6 agent called Anthony Divall, who took charge of a canny deception operation to tie up the junta’s funds until the war was over. It shortly turned into something a bit more than that.

Research for the film soon moved towards asking why HMS Sheffield had been hit by an Exocet in the first place. A number of interviews with the ship’s company pointed to the fact that a key member of the Sheffield’s crew had absented himself from the Operations Room shortly prior to the missile’s detection. As a result (they said) the ship had been unable to take countermeasures once the Exocet was detected. The story created a bit of a hoo-hah; various denials were made by the MoD.

I’d love to be able to dig up the original interviews we did – including with the Argentines who sank the Sheffield and the intelligence officers on both sides of the Atlantic who told us about their underhand operations in the arms trade. I seem to recall an interesting chat with the head of French intelligence. Will have a look and see what comes up.