Plane-spotters consider book plan

A PLANE-spotter thrown into a Greek jail on suspicion of spying is considering writing a book outlining her six-week ordeal behind bars.Lesley Coppin, who was arrested alongside 13 others, including her husband Paul, said the idea was one of several the Suffolk couple were currently mulling over as options to explore after work on a TV drama of their experience is complete.

A PLANE-spotter thrown into a Greek jail on suspicion of spying is considering writing a book outlining her six-week ordeal behind bars.

Lesley Coppin, who was arrested alongside 13 others, including her husband Paul, said the idea was one of several the Suffolk couple were currently mulling over as options to explore after work on a TV drama of their experience is complete.

Filming on the Granada-produced special, first mooted after the couple were cleared on appeal of espionage charges stemming from their trip to Kalamata's military air base, is due to start next month.

And Mrs Coppin, of Mildenhall, yesterday told the EADT she is extremely happy with the casting, with her role played by popular actress Lesley Sharp, who starred alongside Alan Davies in Bob and Rose, and Christopher Ecclestone in 2002's The Second Coming.


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"Pre-production work has started, and we are talking to lots of people about what things such as the prison looked like and how we felt," said Mrs Coppin, who has no interest in planes and was arrested while sitting in a bus outside the base doing a crossword. "Filming is going to start shortly, but I am not sure when the programme will be aired.

"We are not yet 100% sure who will be playing Paul, and understand there are one or two names flying around, but I am pleased Lesley Sharp will be playing me. I have met her, and she is a very nice lady, and she is also younger than me - which has to be a good thing!"

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The group, who were in Greece taking part in a tour organised by Mr Coppin, were convicted of spy charges in 2002, but were eventually cleared on appeal later that year.

They were later approached by Granada asking permission to adapt the tale for an ITV drama.

"We are trying to get the essence of what happened into the drama, but you cannot put six weeks of activity into a one-hour and forty minute show," added Mrs Coppin.

"We are having as much of an input as we can, to give the feeling of what actually happened. We want it to be as humorous as possible, because what happened was so unreal. At the time, we just couldn't believe what the Greeks were doing.

"When they told us we had been arrested for espionage, I cracked up laughing and thought they were joking, but as time went on things became less funny.

"It will be weird watching it. We are giving a lot of detail to Granada, so I would imagine it will be very strange to see the prison and police station looking almost as they did when I was there. It will perhaps bring back a few memories.

"But we are still scratching out a few plans, and Paul is pushing me to write a book on the subject, so maybe it will not be complete closure yet."

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