No disrespect to Her Majesty's 60th jubilee – which I celebrated with a traditional English breakfast of bacon, eggs, fried bread and coronary – but another landmark anniversary is coming up later in the year: James Bond's 50th.
Yes, 007 made his film debut in Dr No in 1962, an age when villains were dastardly and the evil doctor plotted to use a radio beam to disrupt an early American manned space launch.
More pertinently, Ursula Andress emerged from the sea in a bikini that had shrunk in the wash. Probably the first time she'd worn it, too, and you can imagine how distressing that was to witness for me, a passionate consumer rights advocate of a lad not yet out of his woggle.
Sean Connery was 32 at the time, so if he'd stuck with the role he'd be more Octogenarian than Octopussy now. The 23rd instalment of the "franchise", Skyfall, premieres this October in Britain.
Director Sam Mendes knows how to make a clever movie, and it can't be any worse than the last, Quantum of Tedium, which held me for about five minutes when it was on the telly a few weeks back. It grossed half a billion dollars.
A tag-team of scriptwriters churns these things out, and two of them on Skyfall are chalking up their fifth Bond flick. Considering that the franchise has grossed US$5 billion – only bettered by Harry Potter – it's unlikely to be their last.
Bring back Connery, I say. In a golden jubilee year, it's fitting for the definitive Bond to reclaim his throne – banishing some sorry pretenders.
Coincidentally, I have just the script. (A solo effort, so we don't need to split the scriptwriting cheque.) My movie has action, suspense, veracity and something else I can't remember. Here's a sneak preview.
From Stoke With Love
Scene 12: MI6 headquarters, basement laboratory.
Aged boffin Q is polishing a beautiful machine. Basement door slides open and M enters, followed by a silver-haired Bond.
M: Keep up, Double Oh 70-plus.
Bond: Sorry ma'am. The new hips are taking a while to bed in.
(Q turns to greet them with a smirk.)
Q: Good morning, ma'am, James. I expect you'll be wanting a device to thwart a dastardly megalomaniac plotting to use a radio beam to disrupt an early American manned space launch.
M: (sigh) No, Q, that was, Oh, never mind. What have you got?
Q: Behold – the Aston Martin DB5 of mobility scooters. (He gives it a final buff.)
Q: I do love your Scottish brogue, James.
Bond: Brogue nothin'. Damned falsh teef are comin' loosh again.
Q: Take a look at this baby. Nought to 100 in 5.6 seconds – that'll weld the denture to your palate. ABS, traction control, airbag and sickbag.
Bond: You've thought of everything.
Q: Beaded seatcover, satellite PPS.
M: Don't you mean GPS?
Q: No, Pill Positioning System – lets you know what compartment of your pill tray to take at any given moment anywhere on the planet.
Bond: You've outdone yourself, Q.
Q: Now, this is one of mine: Lavman – automatically directs you to the nearest public toilet. And this. (Takes a ballpoint pen from a holder on the dash.)
Bond: Ah, a miniaturised radio beam jammer?
Q: (shakes head) For doing crosswords – there's a dictionary programmed into the onboard computer.
Bond: Genius. Bloody genius.
Q: Oh please, no. Merely the product of enormous class sizes in my formative years. We used to split atoms in the playground at morning break, you know. Oh, wait, that was marbles. I had a wizard stonker. Steelies, peewees, cat's eye – I smashed them all.
M: Yes, yes. Moving on.
Q: Quite. Lawn trimmer on the side, heated towel rail, food liquidiser – all fairly standard.
Bond: Is there room on the back for the ladies?
Q: The ladies what?
Bond: The home-help ladies who come in once a week. We often pop down to the supermarket for a few groceries.
Q: You old scallywag. Is that what you call it these days? (Quiet aside) Little blue pills in Compartment D, mate.
(To M) OK, the piece de resistance (points to a red button) ... Emergency use only.
Bond: You love your red buttons, Q. What is it – an ejector seat? Very handy for getting out of ma hatchback.
Q: Next level, my friend. The Queue-Jumper 3000 – vaults you to the front of the line at the PostShop with a look of total insouciance.
Bond: (Hand on chest) If I had emotions I'd tear up.
M: Oh, get a room, you two. What is all this costing, Q? We civil servants have to realise that the public purse is not bottomless. We are taking food out of the mouths of millionaires.
Q: No problem, ma'am. The entire machine is constructed from Skyhawk fighter jet parts picked up a cheap job-lot. (Taps his nose.)
And so on. Senior moviegoers will love it. They've learnt the hard way not to take life too seriously. If only their descendants were half as wise ...
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