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They always say, “Write what you know,” and Ian Fleming did just that. A former World War II intelligence officer, Fleming had led a full life before even sitting down to write the character of 007 James Bond at the age of 43. Based on his experiences as assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence, and the secrets he was privy to, Fleming turned out his first 007 title Casino Royale in a little over two months, followed up by another 13 titles.

Fleming lived to enjoy the success of the published titles and see two film adaptations—Dr. No and From Russia With Love—starring Sean Connery. BBC America’s four-part series Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond, which premieres tonight, Wednesday, January 29, at 10pm est, speeds us up on Fleming’s earlier life and what made him into the man he was to become. Here’s a peek at 13 snaps of Ian Fleming in real life:

Ian Fleming
Ian Fleming was born in 1908, the second of four brothers. (Express Newspapers/AP Images)
Fleming and his wife Anne, who he married in 1952, arrive to New York from London in 1962.  (AP Photo)
Fleming sits in front of a train, as a gag, during a visit to the set of the film From Russia With Love in 1963. (AP Photo/Ahmet Baran, File)
FILE PHOTO Writer Ian Fleming, left, with actor Sean Connery during the filming of "From Russia with Love" on August 12, 1964. (AP Photo)
Fleming and Sean Connery chat during the filming of From Russia with Love in 1964. (AP Photo)
Ian Fleming, Connery, WIKI
Connery and Fleming get cozy on set. (James Bond Wikia)
When you’re in charge, you can take a rest. (AP Photo/Ahmet Baran)
Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond.  COPYRIGHT EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS (Express Newspapers via AP Images)
Fleming enjoys a stroll on the beach.
 (Express Newspapers via AP Images)
(Jim Linwood)
Fleming resided at 22 Ebury Street in Belgravia, London from 1908-1964. (Jim Linwood)
Ian Fleming, Plaque, 22 Ebury Street, WIKI
This plaque, which you can see in the above photo, appears at 22 Ebury Street current day. (Wikimedia)
Photo by: Sergio Pitamitz/Robert Harding /AP Images
Fleming settled down in Jamaica where he wrote his James Bond stories. (Sergio Pitamitz/Robert Harding/AP Images)
Photo by: Sergio Pitamitz/Robert Harding /AP Images
Here’s a peek at his writing desk. (Sergio Pitamitz/Robert Harding/AP Images)
Photo by: Sergio Pitamitz/Robert Harding /AP Images
We can see how Fleming was inspired to write 007 in these surroundings. (Sergio Pitamitz/Robert Harding /AP Images)
(Sergio Pitamitz/Robert Harding /AP Images)
Maybe he took a relaxing Bond-style dip after a long day at the typewriter. (Sergio Pitamitz/Robert Harding /AP Images)

If you’d like to hit up some of Fleming’s favorite spots to frequent like White’s gentlemen’s club and Scott’s restaurant, check out this BBC Travel article on James Bond’s London

Are you going to watch Fleming tonight?

See More:
Watch: First Look at BBC America’s ‘Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond’ 
‘Fleming’: 10 Famous Brits Who Were Heroes in World War II 
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By Brigid Brown