The first ever British spy to purposely appear as such on TV had his false moustache fall off during filming, it has been revealed.
The Telegraph reports today on the embarrassing disguise failure, which took place during the recording of an interview for BBC TV's The One Show.
Beeb journo Justin Rowlatt was questioning the spook, identified only as "John", when it became clear that all was not well with the government-issue fake face fungus sported by the incognito intelligence officer.
"He was sitting behind a rather grand desk at the Foreign Office and everything was going fine," Rowlatt told the Telegraph.
"Then I noticed that he was touching his upper lip occasionally ... the edge of the moustache was peeling away ... he was aware of what was happening."
For a while the cameras rolled, obtaining some no doubt priceless footage, but then Rowlatt took pity.
"When we had a break in the filming I said to him, 'John, the old moustache is coming off.' He said, 'Oh God, I thought that might happen.'"
The luckless spy was apparently a veteran Secret Intelligence Service (aka MI6) officer who had tangled with enemy counterintelligence operatives on many occasions. According to Rowlatt, he recovered well from what could have been (but evidently wasn't) a sticky situation, nonchalantly trousering the shoddy government moustache and maintaining a stiff (though now unclad) upper lip.
"He was very good about it and just said, 'I'll take it off completely'", said Rowlatt.
"If he hadn't, I think it would just have fallen to the floor."
In a clear sign of behind-the-scenes influence exerted by the SIS, it seems that the moustache unpleasantness will not be broadcast when the episode goes out tomorrow.
The Telegraph report can be read here. ®