The Franchise Never Dies


Anyone know if it’s the James Bond 50th Anniversary ? They really should let us know if it is or not. As usual, the Albert R “Cubby” Broccoli organisation are keeping their Walther PPKs close to their chests. The BBC have hardly mentioned a thing on their website – a mere four features a day of various hoary old Bond yarns.

On a recent wander past the magazine racks in Sainsburys, I saw Daniel Craig or a Bond Girl on no more than 78 different mag and newspaper covers.  From GQ, Vanity Fair and LIFE down to Woman and Home (which includes a knitting patter for an Aston Martin DB5), Wisden (“James Bond’s 50 Best LBWs”), The Daily Express: “Was Jimmy Savile the real Goldfinger ?and You Magazine‘s fascinating quiz “Best 50 Up the Skirt Shots of Bond Girls”.

It only serves as a reminder to me that once upon a time, every four years or so, I and everyone else in the press were charged with coming up with or working on terribly interesting and ,of course, highly original huge feature spreads on Ian Fleming‘s Character. For many of us, this meant dealing with the charmless EON Productions who make it their business to drip feed each ‘news’ organisation titbits and archive material for an 8-page “feature/advert relating the new movie – including rare shots of Shirley Eaton painted from head to toe in gold (there are only 93 different shots known to be in existence).

All this material is handed over under the strict understanding that you are doing them a favour. We slam the phone down, we say rude words and kick the desk, knowing that your rival publication has got that shot of Roger Moore that you really needed to finish your montage of “50 Best Bond Casual Attires” (Horse& Groom). But because Bond is sexy, alluring, ever-changing and the one of two British blokes on the planet with a sense of style (modesty forbids me to name the other), every few years we put that to the back of our mind and call Eon again to ask if they have a handy list of Bond Villains (they’d never thought of compiling one – honest). And “wasn’t it terrible that Adele’s song ‘leaked’ online ?”  Incredible.

And every few years the public swallow all this and lap it up. Our (or rather your) appetite for 007 has no end, apparently. I read with no interest at all that Friday 5 October 2012 has been declared ‘Global James Bond Day’ By who(m) ? Have a guess. There’ll be a “row” on TV about the name of the latest movie; endless phone-ins about who is the “Best Bond” are broadcast on radio (I once called up and suggested John Bond, who used to play for West Ham – I didn’t get on air), Ursula Andress’s swimsuit will be auctioned off again at Sotheby’s, and the BBC (again) will send Alan Yentob to do a documentary on Ian Fleming “The real James Bond“. Someone will write a “new” Bond book in the style of the originals. A debate on a late Arts show will show that David Niven and George Lazenby (who the producers worried was gay, d’you know ?) were bloody good actors and Sean Connery will be asked what he thinks of Daniel Craig, while we uncomfortably watch how old he’s suddenly become and realise that we really do Only Live Once.

So don’t worry if you missed this piece, I shall be re-publishing it in three years time, in time for the new movie “A View to an Overkill”. You won’t, of course, realise it’s the same piece as there will be new and exclusive pictures of Halle Berry and a rare interview with Gert Frobe where he told us that he couldn’t play cards after all ! It’ll be a thrill. Honest.

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5 thoughts on “The Franchise Never Dies

  1. Bit harsh I feel…but clearly you are entitled to your opinion…
    What mustn’t be forgotten is that each and every Bond film will be some viewer’s first and so the producers have to reach out to a new audience every time whilst still retaining enough ‘authenticity’ to satisfy the returning punter…
    Whether one likes the new version(s) or not I have never felt compelled to not desperately see what they come up with next time,so am therefore classed as hooked,which I guess is job done?
    On a more critical note..the late.John Bond passed away September 26th and I don’t recall seeing any obituary style hommage in these pages…you would have had a great link into this subject?!

    Skyfall…
    Bring it on ,debate is good,so one must see the latest offering to be able to compare the inevitable notes …It will be a sad day if the franchise were to end…
    Global icon..as demonstrated by Her Majesty the Queen’s willingness to have the current version appear alongside her as the very epitome of Britishness…

    Yours
    Ex- patriotically

    • A few things to pick up on: Please accept my deepest sympathy on the death of your sense of humour (albeit the piece was written with your ilk in mind); Also, please go back and read it again and note that it’s an attack on the press being hauled in like a fish on a hook every few years and producing the same features time and time again, as opposed to an attack on the movies themselves. Personally I gave up getting excited about Bond since I spent all afternoon and evening in Erith Picture House and watched Live & Let Die 3 times. But I do appreciate that there are those who love the stuff unquestionably. Like me and Lt Columbo, Chas n Dave and self-abuse, some obsessions are here to stay.

    • Ok I admit I was wrong about the BBC being obsessed/predictable/paid-up by the Bond franchise. I said the produce 4 features a day on the subject, when in fact if you search for ‘James Bond’ on the BBC news website there are on 14 features on the subject since October 1st – which is less than 3-a-day. Silly me.

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