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Roisin Gorman’s Open Letter . . . on Bond, James Bond

Our blue-eyed Bond is about to hang up his trunks, but this is no time for the gloriously silly, violent, iconic series to die’


Daniel Craig as James Bond

Daniel Craig as James Bond

Daniel Craig as James Bond

I’m a Bond girl and proud of it. Not the ‘abs in a bikini’ Bond girl, or the more evolved, super-efficient, kick-ass agent with shiny hair and a perfect barb. I’m more of the ‘on the edge of the seat with excitement, popcorn down the bra in the cinema, will watch this film every time it’s on TV’ Bond girl. Even when Roger Moore was clearly corseted and looked like your dad who’d grunt getting out of a low chair, I was there. Even during the dodgy Dalton days — not quite as diabolical as Sylvester McCoy as Dr Who but in the same territory — I hung on in there like a villain about to fall to his death from the roof of a train. Then the clouds parted, and Daniel Craig strode in to a chorus of gunfire, nudging Sean Connery off his plinth as the best Bond ever. I may have been blinded slightly by his blue trunks and bluer eyes, but I’m only human. His Bond cries and gets hurt, and that’s just in rehearsals. He’s lost teeth, ripped tendons and finished one movie with a broken leg. You don’t get that with a green screen. A former colleague who sat next to him on a flight once said Craig had a face like a pebble-dashed terrace and looked like he’d lived every line. Daniel is about to stride off again as the just-opened No Time to Die is his fifth and last Bond — but the gloriously silly, violent, iconic series will survive. After a decade of being bombarded with Marvel’s mind-boggling array of CGI heroes and villains, the super spy now looks more like a gritty reality character who probably has to answer to HR like everyone else. In Craig’s Bond universe, there are no wandering hands, no one cares how his martini is prepared, his boss can be a woman, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge gets brought in to add some heart and some jokes. But the reliable formula of mad plot and ridiculous titles still applies. Quantum of Solace ticked both boxes neatly. As a fan of the franchise which gave us Pussy Galore, I randomly generated my Bond villain name of Tatiana Huggenmore, from the ‘Ian Fleming dodgy gender politics’ era, or Scarlett Loren from the ‘Judi Dench as M’ era. I preferred Tatiana. Fleming wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for his son, so he had form on strange names. The co-producer is Barbara Broccoli, and she’s not even joking. Bond gave us sharks casually waiting for their next spy meal; piranhas who never recovered from the bad press; nuclear warheads in endless peril; machine-gun fights as he skied off a cliff; and a spy who chewed cigarettes and knocked back booze and never woke up with a hangover and fag breath. He gave us villains like Drax and Goldfinger, who grew up to be Elon Musk and Donald Trump without the murderous tendencies; and From Russia With Love’s bad nan Rosa Klebb, who’d finish off the enemy with her stabby shoes and then run the hoover around and straighten the cushions. It all comes with an enormous side order of cheese, but if I want real life, I’ll watch the news. Real life intruded on the 25th film when not even Bond could defeat Covid but, as Craig holsters his weapon for the last time, at least we’ll always have the blue trunks.

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