The Bridge of Spies spy


On 10 February 1962, Gary Powers, the American pilot whose U2 spy plane was shot down in Soviet airspace, was released on “The Bridge in Spies” in Berlin by his captors in exchange for one Colonel Rudolf Abel, aka Vilyam Fisher – one of the most extraordinary characters in the history of the Cold War.

Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google PodcastsBecome a Patron!
Born plain William Fisher in Newcastle upon Tyne, in the UK this British grammar schoolboy was the child of revolutionary parents who had fled tsarist oppression in Russia. Their son returned to his spiritual homeland, the newly formed Soviet Union, and became a spy, embarking on a mission to New York, where he ran the network that stole America’s atomic secrets.

In 1957, Willie’s luck ran out and he was arrested and sentenced to thirty years in prison. Five years later, the USSR’s regard for his talents was proven when they insisted on swapping him for Gary Powers.

I speak with Vin Arthey, the author of “Abel. The true story of the spy they traded for Gary Powers” Vin Arthey has traced Willie’s tale from the most unlikely of beginnings in Newcastle, to Moscow, the streets of New York, and back again, a story of Cold War espionage to rival anything in fiction.

Episodes mentioned

The Rosenberg’s

Portland Spy Ring

The battle to preserve Cold War history is ongoing and your support can provide me with the ammunition to continue to keep this podcast on the air. Via a simple monthly donation, you’ll become part of our community and get a sought-after CWC coaster as a thank you and you’ll bask in the warm glow of knowing you are helping to preserve Cold War history. 

Just go to

If a monthly contribution is not your cup of tea, We also welcome one-off donations via the same link.

Support the project!

Follow us on Twitter here