Rogue Agent

Alice and Robert by the River Thames

As I write James Bond’s producers have a “we’re hiring” sign over Daniel Craig’s vacant seat. Is Rogue Agent James Norton’s audition? If it is, it’s a funny sort of one, though Norton is fairly remarkable as a man on a mission – to deceive almost everyone he comes into contact with. The thing to bear in mind through the length of this familiar and yet bizarre film is that it’s pretty much all true. As the film opens, it’s 1993, the IRA bombing campaign on Britain is at full spate and Norton’s Robert Freegard is working undercover as a barman, recruiting students at an agricultural college to infiltrate what he assures them … Read more


Gemma Arterton in Byzantium

A movie for every day of the year – a good one 26 November Vlad the Impaler becomes ruler of Wallachia for third time, 1476 On this day in 1476, Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia became ruler of Wallachia for the third time. His father, Vlad II, had become a member of the chivalric Order of the Dragon (Drache in German, Dracul in Romanian) in 1431. As the son, Vlad III carried the patronymic Dracula, son of Dracul (he signed himself Wladislaus Dragwlya). Vlad III spent a good deal of his life asserting his claim on Wallachia. He was first installed as a ruler by the Ottomans – Vlad III had been brought … Read more