Sean Connery may be retired but the character that defined his career, James Bond, is still here and he will be back. Whether that will be in the form of Daniel Craig, the latest actor to take on the iconic role, remains to be seen. Until then you can indulge in all things Bond with M-Net Movies pop-up channel 109 that is bringing you all 24 official 007 movies between 23 February and 5 March.
To tide you over until the channel opens, here are 15 fun facts you may not have known about Bond. James Bond.
- The character was created by English author and naval intelligence officer Ian Fleming who also drank his martinis shaken, not stirred.
- Fleming wrote his books on a gold-plated Royal typewriter. He ultimately wrote twelve Bond novels and two collections of short stories. Casino Royale was the name of the first novel, the name of a Bond spoof, and the name of Daniel Craig’s first Bond film.
- The spy was named after an ornithologist called James Bond, because Fleming felt the name was suitably dull and obscure enough for a spy trying to be surreptitious.
- Sean Connery is only the fourth actor to play Bond. The first actor to portray the spy was Barry Nelson in a TV adaptation of Casino Royale. The second was Bob Holness, a South African born actor, who portrayed Bond in a South African radio adaption of Moonraker. Sean Connery then landed the role in Dr. No – the first film adaption of Fleming’s novels – but not before stuntman Bob Simmons portrayed the character’s silhouette in the opening credits.
- Hugh Jackman was offered the role of Bond, but turned it down. Had he accepted, he would have been the second Australian to play the character; the first was George Lazenby, who made only one Bond film: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Other actors to turn down the role include Clint Eastwood, Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor.
- Donald Pleasance – who played infamous Bond villain Blofeld in You Only Live Twice – was peed on by the character’s famous Persian cat during filming. Other actors to portray Blofeld include Charles Gray and Christoph Waltz.
- Bond villain Dr. No – the first film’s title character and main villain – was meant to be a monkey.
- Christopher Lee – who played Bond villain Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun – was Ian Fleming’s step-cousin.
- Not everything is at it seems in the Bond films – or rather, as it sounds. Both Ursula Andress (Honey Rider in Dr. No) and Gert Fröbe (Goldfinger in Goldfinger) had their voices dubbed. Andress due to her heavy Swiss-German accent and Fröbe due to the fact that the only English he knew was “How do you do? I am very pleased to be here.”
- Ian Fleming owned an idyllic piece of land in Jamaica and called it Goldeneye (also the name of the 17th Bond movie). After Fleming’s death, Bob Marley purchased the property.
- Moneypenny has been portrayed by six actresses in the films including Downton Abbey’s Samantha Bond and Academy Award nominee Naomie Harris. Q has also been portrayed by six actors, with Ben Wishaw playing the youngest iteration of the character.
- Roald Dahl – author of famed children’s books such as Matilda, The Witches, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – wrote the screenplay for You Only Live Twice. He also co-wrote the screenplay for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a film based on a children’s book by none other than Ian Fleming.
- Look out for a very bad blooper in You Only Live Twice when Bond accepts a stirred martini.
- When Sean Connery was cast as Indiana Jones’ father in The Last Crusade, he quipped: “Who else but Bond could have been worthy enough to play Indiana Jones’ dad.”
- Judi Dench, who played M in eight films, has the James Bond theme as her ringtone.
Click here for more on James Bond.
Have questions about the pop-up channel? We have answers here.