MI6 sent Alex to the Point Blanc Academy, a school for rich but troubled teenagers, in the guise of ‘Alex Friend’.

'Alex Friend' was supposed to be the son of Sir David Friend, a billionaire supermarket tycoon who was heavily involved with the government as a personal adviser to the Prime Minister. His pretend sister was Fiona Friend, and his mother Caroline Friend.

Alex spent a week with the family in Lancashire. His made-up background included being expelled from Eton, and a criminal record for shoplifting, vandalism and drug possession. He had his hair cut very short and his right ear pierced. He wore scruffy clothes, arriving at Sir David Friend's mansion in a hooded sweatshirt, Tommy Hilfiger jeans and old trainers. He had to pretend not to speak French when with Mrs Stellenbosch in Paris.