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Leonard Cyril Deighton (born 18 February 1929), known as Len Deighton, is a British writer of novels, military history, screenplays, cookery writing, and also a graphic artist. He is perhaps most famous for his spy novels from the 1960s and 1970s, beginning with The IPCRESS File, which was made into a film starring Michael Caine as Harry Palmer.
Several of Deighton's novels have been adapted as films including The IPCRESS File, Funeral in Berlin, Billion Dollar Brain and Spy Story. His first five novels featured an anonymous and cynical anti-hero named "Harry Palmer" in the films (produced by Bond co-producer Harry Saltzman) and portrayed by Michael Caine. The atmosphere was considered quite realistic, not the least because many of the characters were openly venal, cowardly or stupid; equally because the bureaucratic complications and inter-departmental rivalries of the British civil service, even the secret civil service, made for frequent black-comic relief; and the portrayal of the technical aspects of espionage and related criminal enterprises was quite detailed. The novels were dotted with footnotes explaining various slang terms and abbreviations in the dialogue; there were even appendices. The first trilogy of his Bernard Samson novel series was made into a twelve-part television series by Granada Television in 1988, shown only once, then withdrawn on instructions from Deighton. Although Quentin Tarantino expressed interest in filming the trilogy, the nine Samson novels are currently in pre-production with Clerkenwell Films, who have hired Oscar-winner Simon Beaufoy to adapt the novels for television. In addition, the BBC has commissioned the writers of the last five James Bond films, to adapt Deighton’s alternate history novel SS-GB for a five-part TV miniseries.