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50 Years of Bond

Drew Bridger and Alice Rook bring you a special 007 feature which includes an exclusive interview with Jon Gilbert the author of Ian Fleming’s bibliography and a preview of the hotly-anticipated Skyfall

Jon Gilbert interview

Jon Gilbert, the author of Ian Fleming’s bibliography is an expert in all things Fleming and Bond. The bibliography covers every aspect of Fleming’s writing, from the manuscript stage through typescripts, uncorrected prods, paperback printings and collected editions.

How old were you when you started to collect Fleming’s books? I was in my teens - fortunately the books were cheaper in those days, even first editions.

What is it about Fleming’s work that captivates you so much? I work in rare books and was surprised to find there was no comprehensive bibliography of Ian Fleming - surprising for such a popular author.

What do you hope readers will take away from this book? There is a vast amount of information here about the production and publication of the James Bond books, much of it having never been provided before. There is also a biographical narrative, so I hope readers will be entertained as well - bibliographies are full of facts and figures, but I have tried

to make this quite readable! Are there any aspects of Fleming’s life you find particularly interesting? Yes - his role during the war; he worked in Naval Intelligence. Much of Fleming’s knowledge of the cloak and dagger world of espionage comes from this period.

How did you research all of the subjects and arts of Fleming’s life? My publisher, Queen Anne Press, is managed by Ian Fleming’s niece and nephew, who are most supportive and enthusiastic, and have enabled me to access some rare papers and publishing material; naturally one needs permission to view such archives, and I am very grateful to them - the book simply could not have been written without numerous research trips to the relevant collections and institutions.

If you could be 007 for the day, what would you do and why? I wouldn’t much like to be chased, shot at or tortured… so I would probably stick with a good strong Vodka Martini.

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007: A history

Adapted from Ian Fleming’s 007 books, the Bond films began in 1962 with Dr. No, introducing James Bond to the world through Sean Connery who is now widely regarded as a fan-favourite Bond along with Roger Moore. Connery had a total of 7 official outings as Bond before handing over the mantle to George Lazenby, the only actor to officially portray 007 only once in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 1969. While that film did not go down well among fans, Connery came back in 1971 for Diamonds Are Forever, directed by Guy Hamilton who directed a total of 4 Bond films – second only to John Glen who helmed 5 Bonds in a row from 1981 to 1989. Connery then handed over the tuxedo and Walther PP7 to Roger Moore, who debuted as Bond in Live and Let Die, and went on to star in 7 Bond films in a row from 1973 to 1985 (making him the longest running actor to play Bond yet) in such titles as Octopussy, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker and The Man With the Golden Gun.

Moore hung up the tuxedo in 1985,

until Timothy Dalton put it on in 1987 for a stint of two slightly edgier Bond films The Living Daylights and License to Kill, before a six-year break allowed Pierce Brosnan to take over as 007 for 4 films

from 1995 to 2002, making the iconic Goldeneye and the far less iconic Die Another Day.

Which brings us to the latest

incarnation of Bond in the form of Daniel Craig who, along with Casino Royale director Martin Campbell in 2006, took Bond back to his early years as an agent in MI6, reinventing what it means to be ‘on Her Majesty’s secret service’ in the process and leading the way for Quantum of Solace in 2008 and the much anticipated Skyfall this year. So, 50 years and 52 ‘Bond Women’, 8 nuclear plots, tonnes of gadgets and cars, and 352 dead henchmen (making a body count of 1,299 overall including ‘other means’) later, it’s clear James Bond still hasn’t lost his edge. A recent survey conducted by Cineworld revealed who really has the licence to thrill. The legendary Sean Connery was voted the number one James Bond of all time, and Connery’s Goldfinger topped the poll as the best ever Bond film with almost a quarter of the votes. What’s more, Cineworld asked 007 fans who their ultimate dream Bond would be… 1 in 5 people voted for Clive Owen, with Hugh Jackman following closely behind.


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