Richard Aldrich

Richard J. Aldrich is an award-winning spy writer, historian and presenter. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Professor of International Security at the University of Warwick and the author of many books including GCHQ: The Uncensored Story of Britain’s Most Secret Intelligence Agency (2019) and The Black Door: Spies, Secret Intelligence and British Prime Ministers (2016).

He is an experienced broadcaster and public speaker, appearing on The One Show, Newsnight, the Today Programme and Nightwaves. Together with Rory Cormac he has co-presented history documentaries for Channel 4, most recently The Queen and the Coup (2020). He has also featured in several Timewatch, Discovery, ZDF and PBS documentaries. He enjoys literary festivals and has been a regular at Edinburgh and Cheltenham.

Richard has assisted with national museum exhibitions related to intelligence and advises English Heritage on the Blue Plaques scheme in London.

Links & Credits

Channel 4 - The Queen and The Coup

Richard Aldrich co-presents the Channel 4 history documentary


GCHQ: The Uncensored Story of Britain’s Most Secret Intelligence Agency

Richard Aldrich

GCHQ is the largest and most secretive intelligence organisation in the UK, and has existed for 100 years – but we still know next to nothing about it.

In this ground-breaking book – the first and most definitive history of the organisation ever published – intelligence expert Richard Aldrich traces GCHQ’s development from a wartime code-breaking operation based in the Bedfordshire countryside into one of the world-leading espionage organisations.

Packed with dramatic spy stories, GCHQ also explores the organisation’s role behind the most alarming headlines of our time, from fighting ISIS to cyber-terrorism, from the surveillance state to Russian hacking.

Revelatory, brilliantly written and fully updated, this is the crucial missing link in Britain’s intelligence history.

The Black Door: Spies, Secret Intelligence and British Prime Ministers

Richard Aldrich and Rory Cormac

The Black Door explores the evolving relationship between successive British Prime Ministers and the intelligence agencies, from Asquith’s Secret Service Bureau to Cameron’s National Security Council.

From Churchill’s code breakers feeding information to the Soviets to Eden’s attempts to assassinate foreign leaders, from Wilson’s paranoia of an MI5-led coup d’état to Thatcher’s covert wars in Central America, Aldrich and Cormac entertain and enlighten as they explain how our government came to rely on intelligence to the extent that it does today.