When I was very young, my mother gave me a set of books written by Ian Fleming. I think I had watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and wanted to continue my journey. Only this took me off down a route of international espionage rather than a Bavarian castle. The books had belonged to my father who sadly passed away when I was 2 and Mum was happy that there was another keen reader who wanted to take them; this started my love and obsession with Bond.
I avidly read them, again and again. They were delicious to the mind of a 12 year old (although slightly gruesome at times). I could not get enough of this spy, I started to watch the films as they popped up on TV (this is before we had any form of recording, not even video). I quickly became addicted and relished each one from the theme tunes to the baddies, the adventures to the Bond girls, the cars to the locations.
Over the years my love has not faded, if anything I am even more passionate than the 70’s kid who fell in love with this extra-ordinary world (in M’s words – in the shadows). We all have our favourites and for me it was always Sean Connery although looking back at the films now he was not very nice really – extremely violent to men and women but we must remember whilst not excusing, this was a film of it’s time!
Bonds have come and gone from Sean to George to Sean, Roger to Timothy, and then Pierce (and who can forget David Niven!). I could literally write thousands of words on each and everyone of them, plus my fascination with their glamourous counterparts – Fiona Fullerton, Maud Adams, Halle Berry, Brit Eklund to name but a few. I feel I need to focus on the here and now and that is Daniel Craig.
When he took over the role almost 80% of fans thought he had been miscast. He was too rough, too short, too blond – what had Michael Wilson and Barbara Broccoli done? But from the very first few seconds of Casino Royale we knew that they had made the perfect decision. Daniel re-invented Bond, he brought the character I fell in love with kicking and screaming off the pages. Bond was back, a delicious raw and rugged version but boy was he back.
Over the past 15 years I have loved every second of every film, Daniel is the closest (in my opinion) to how Fleming wrote the character. Smartly dressed at all times, vivacious passion for women and fast cars. A highly skilled assassin with a penchant for vodka martini (you know the rest).
With the release of No Time To Die it was time to say goodbye to my leading man, and trust me if you have not seen it yet, it is a rollercoaster of emotion. When the fabulous Dame Judi Dench died in Skyfall I sobbed, really sobbed. Fair dues to Ralph Fiennes he is an equally commanding M (his tone and delivery on a par with the delicious Dench/Craig exchanges). This film feels like the end of Bond as opposed to the end of Daniel playing the part and being brutally honest I am ok with that.
We cannot cast someone in the role is was not written to be. Yes that is not very PC but Fleming wrote this as a heterosexual white male and whilst we have many, many fine actors like Idris Elba or Lashana Lynch (Craig’s sidekick in No Time To Die). Maybe it is time to say farewell to Bond and spin off with a new character like Nomi (Lynch). The remainder of the cast remains but we continue this adventure with a new lead, a new 007. Let Bond be the past and Nomi be the future.
Go and see the film, the locations are spectacular (as always). The cars sleek and fast. The production is beyond expectation. The cast is a veritable assembly of old favourites and new shining stars. There are so many nostalgic nods to the previous films, you walk out feeling completely comfortable that all lose ends have been tied. If this is farewell to Bond, it is going out on a high. In the words of M whilst alongside his MI6 colleagues as they all toast their friend – “The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”