How Simpson and Bateman dodged spies in Zimbabwe

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John Simpson revealed that he considered wearing a beard to go under cover in Zimbabwe – but discarded it because it kept coming loose in the heat.

Simpson reported live from inside Zimbabwe last night for the BBC Ten O’Clock News despite the BBC being banned. Writing in the Independent today he revealed there was a major risk of him being spotted because of the popularity of BBC World in Zimbabwe.

He said that he was recognised three times – including once at a restaurant where the cost of his meal came to $290 million.

Unpleasant though Zimbabwe is, Simpson reported, people still have a degree of personal freedom. Although he said that at one point cameraman Nigel Bateman was approached by a suspected Government spy who said: “I would so much like to be your friend, won’t you give me your name and phone number?”

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