BBC2 drama set to tell the story of ex-SAS officer in Equatorial Guinea

By Emma Farge

BBC Two will shoot a docu-drama, Coup!, about how Etonian and ex-SAS
officer Simon Mann plotted to overthrow the government in oil-rich
Equatorial Guinea.

News of Mann’s averted armed overthrow made headlines last spring
and ran on well into the summer when Mark Thatcher, son of the former
Prime Minister, was charged with financing it.

Coup! is written
by satirist John Fortune. He said: “The purpose of the film is not to
vilify or be unsympathetic to Simon’s situation. I hope Coup! will be
seen as an absurd and funny insight into what makes a man risk
everything for one last dangerous adventure.”

Executive producer,
Jess Pope said: “This is the story of a plot of astonishing audacity. A
small coterie of wellconnected, white, middle-class Englishmen were
arrogant enough to believe they could plunder the rights to the oil
reserves of a minor African dictatorship in a ‘get rich quick’ scheme.”

The
film traces Mann’s scheme through to his arrest and conviction by
African courts last September. He is serving out a sentence in a
Zimbabwe jail for attempting to buy arms.

Mark Thatcher pleaded
guilty to failing to ensure that his investment wasn’t used for the
purposes of a coup and was dealt a fine of £265,000.

Coup! will be directed by Simon Cellan Jones and it will be broadcast sometime in 2006.

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