SHE has often been dubbed the bravest of the brave.

Russian-born Noor Inayat Khan was one of the secret agents recruited by the Special Operations Executive (SOE), which worked with the Resistance during the Second World War.

In 1943 she became the first female wireless operator to be parachuted into Nazi-occupied France.

Daily Echo:

After making her way to Paris she used the training she had received at SOE's "finishing school" - a collection of country houses at Beaulieu.

Noor, who was descended from an Indian prince, managed to evade the Germans for more than three months before being arrested and tortured.

She was executed at Dachau concentration camp in 1944 after refusing to tell her captors what they wanted to know.

Now her story is set to be told in a TV drama series starring Freida Pinto, who appeared opposite Dev Patel in the 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire.

The 36-year-old actress said: "She was a fierce and amazing woman, the most unlikely heroine of World War Two."

Last year English Heritage unveiled a blue plaque outside Noor's former family home at Taviton Street in Bloomsbury, London.

Speaking at the ceremony historian Shrabani Basu said: "When Noor Inayat Khan left this house on her last mission, she would never have dreamed that one day she would become a symbol of bravery.

"She was an unlikely spy.

"She believed in non-violence and religious harmony. Yet when her adopted country needed her, she unhesitatingly gave her life in the fight against Fascism."

Anna Eavis, cultural director at English Heritage, added: "Her courage was unfaltering, even in the face of such extreme danger."

More recently the Banknotes of Colour campaign has called for Noor's image to appear on British currency.

She was preparing to return to England when she was captured by the Gestapo and held in chains. Her last word before being shot the following year is said to have been "Liberté".

In 1946 she was posthumously awarded the Croix de Guerre, followed by the George Cross in 1949.

Noor is one of the SOE agents whose bravery is commemorated in the Secret Army exhibition at Palace House, Beaulieu.

Other personnel who were trained on the estate include Violette Szabo, who was portrayed by Virginia McKenna in the 1958 film Carve Her Name with Pride.