Days That Shook The World

BBC - 2004 - Director/Writer

I shot a couple of films in this award winning series, but it was this sequence that launched my drama career; A footnote in a history book gave me the idea how to shoot the grand ‘July Plot’ assassination attempt on Hitler on such a low budget. 

The coup to overthrow the Fuhrer all depended on blowing up Hitler with a suitcase bomb. The main assassin was high ranking officer Stauffenberg, and I was intrigued to find out that he used a fuse stolen from British military.

We didn’t have the budget to recreate or blow up Hitler’s HQ in its entirety, so focused the drama in and around what happened (or didn’t happen) with the fuse in the case. I insisted we shoot the film in Berlin with German actors and work-shopped the dialogue with a military specialist.

Stauffenberg only had one eye, one arm and with only a finger and thumb and insisted he had to be the one to detonate the fuse. So I took the story into that intense moment of detail – a one-eyed, one-armed man – breaking a glass vial to set off the fuse to kill Hitler – and failing.