This Sunday (21 August BBC2 @9pm) sees the airing of a new one-off drama I filmed early this year, The Man Who Crossed Hitler, a remarkable factual drama based on a true story, starring Ian Hart, (Hitler) Ed Stoppard (Hans Litten) and Bill Paterson.
In the summer of 1931, with Germany on the brink of economic collapse, and the city of Berlin turning into a paramilitary war-zone, audacious young prosecutor Hans Litten (Stoppard) chose to summon a star witness to a trial of Nazi thugs.
In spite of the risk to his own safety and against the advice of those who love him, Litten forced rising political star Adolf Hitler (Hart) to make a sensational appearance in the witness stand of Berlin’s central criminal court.
Litten aimed to expose the true character of Hitler and his politics to the German public, to reveal his hypocrisy and his violent ambitions, and in doing so, halt the electoral success of the Nazi Party.
In a humiliating and hostile cross-examination, Hitler was forced to account for his political beliefs, his contempt for the law and his desire to destroy German democracy.
For a brief moment, Hitler’s political future was genuinely in the balance. Hitler survived the ordeal, but it was a close encounter which he never forgave, and for which Litten paid a heavy price.