WAS TE Lawrence murdered by shadowy forces on a Dorset road?

An upcoming film - to be shot on location in the county- will take a new look at the circumstances surrounding the untimely death of the military officer, archaeologist, diplomat and Arabist, dramatising persistent rumours that he was assassinated by intelligence services.

'Lawrence: After Arabia' will concern the last years of Lawrence's life in the early 1930s when, having returned from his famous adventures battling the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East, he lived in a cottage, Cloud's Hill, near Bovington Camp.

In 1935, Lawrence was fatally injured in a motorcycle crash when he swerved to avoid two boys on their bicycles on a road near his home. While his death was recorded as an accident, film-maker Mark Griffin believes he may have been killed on the orders of the British secret service.

"He knew too much," Mr Griffin told the Echo, adding that Winston Churchill- then not in government, but an influential politician nonetheless - was working to install him as leader of the secret service, a move that powerful figures within the service are likely to have strongly opposed.

"A D-notice was applied by the secret service to the accident, so no one knew it had happened until the day of his death [six days after the crash]," Mr Griffin, of Gryffyn Productions, explained. "A lot of discrepancies emerged at the inquest - including the infamous 'black car' that was seen driving away from the scene of the crash.

"While he had influential friends, his uncompromising manner created powerful enemies," the producer and director noted. "He continued to be involved in the Arab cause and created links to Oswald Mosley and the Blackshirts. Lawrence’s friend Churchill also planned for him to lead the Secret Service. Zionists, the secret service and the establishment were all against him."

Dorset is set to provide the backdrop for the film and Gryffyn Productions is in talks with the National Trust about using Clouds Hill itself for the shoot - though issues of cost and the property's opening times may stymie the plan.

The film will be the first to look at the last years of Lawrence's life, following on chronologically from the 1962 David Lean epic 'Lawrence of Arabia', which starred Peter O'Toole, and the 1990 TV film 'Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia', with Ralph Fiennes in the title role. Mr Griffin was unable to reveal who was earmarked to follow in those two actors' footsteps, but said that casting was already underway, with location visits scheduled for this August and filming pencilled to start in June next year for a May 2020 release date.

The production company is meanwhile still looking for funding, with about a third of the total cost, and half of the shooting cost, so far raised. Donations and sponsorship entail benefits such as being named in the final credits or appearing as an extra.

To make a donation, visit lawrencethemovie.com/sponsorship.