The first radio 007 was Bob Holness, working for SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) in 1956 as a jobbing actor, in a 90-minute dramatisation of "Moonraker". This was a lot more faithful to the novel than the later film version. But SABC kept no radio archives until 1964 so it's virtually certain that no recording exists. In fact I have been unable to discover if they have retained any archives at all; after the political upheavals of the last couple of decades.
The next radio 007 was Michael Jayston, an actor who was once tipped to take over from Roger Moore in the Bond films. The adaptation was done by Michael Bakewell. The radio Bond, with no possibility of visual gimmicks, was more cerebral than the film,substituting intrigue and inner monologues for exploding fountain pens, to quote Jane Anderson, radio editor of Radio Times.
To celebrate Ian Fleming's centenary, the BBC commissioned another Bond radio play: Dr. No, at 2.30pm on 24 May 08, with Toby Stephens as 007, who is sent to investigate a strange disappearance in Jamaica. A further play, "Goldfinger", went out in April 2010, and others have appeared since then.
NOTES ON PLAYS AND READINGS
4 May 19: Saturday Play: Live and Let Die
Toby Stephens as 007. Dramatisation by Archie Scottney. Bond is sent to New York to investigate an underworld leader known as Mr. Big, who is importing gold coins to finance Soviet spy operations. Mr. Big: Kevin Daniels, Solitaire: Rutina Wesley, "M": John Standing, Leiter: Josh Stamberg, Tee-Hee: Michael A Sheppard, with Lovensky Jean-Baptiste, Ron Cephas Jones, John Cothran, Jonathan Cake, J.D.Cullum, Jake Green, Gilbert Brown, Anna-Louise Plowman, Janine Barris, Larry Powell, Anna Mathias, Martin Jarvis as narrator Ian Fleming, James Morrison, Darren Richardson, Alan Shearman, Andre Sogliuzzo and Matthew Wolf.Producer: Rosalind Ayres. 90m. Jarvis & Ayres Indie production.
31 Mar 18: Saturday Play: Moonraker
On 10 Dec 2016 we had THUNDERBALL, by Ian Fleming, dramatized by Archie Scotney (R4, 1430, 10 Dec 2016). This was from the ninth James Bond novel. It was great fun, but please forgive me for not attempting to summarise the preposterous plot. Bond was played by Toby Stephens, Largo by Tom Conti, and Blofeld, the arch-baddie, by Alfred Molina. Ian Fleming was narrated by Martin Jarvis, the producer was Rosalind Ayres, and this was a 90-minute Jarvis & Ayres Indie production. (......ND, Diversity website review, Dec 2016)
25 Jul 15: Saturday Play: Diamonds Are Forever
90m drama: James Bond story by Ian Fleming, dram. Archie Scottney for Jarvis & Ayres (Indie production). Bond investigates a New York crime syndicate's plot to smuggle diamonds out of British mines in Africa. Bond: Toby Stephens, M: John Standing, Supt. Harris: Nigel Havers, Rufus B Saye: Alan Shearman, Tiffany Case: Lisa Dillon, Shady Tree: Alex Jennings, Felix Leiter: Josh Stamberg, with Stacy Keach, Jared Harris, Kevin Daniels, Andre Sogliuzzo, Darren Richardson, Matthew Wolf, and Martin Jarvis as Ian Fleming. Produced by Rosalind Ayres, directed by Martin Jarvis.
Fleming's fourth Bond novel is especially dazzling. Its humour encompasses millions of pounds worth of diamonds smuggled out of British mines in Africa. Responsible? Somebody known as 'ABC'. James Bond is sent undercover by MI6 to New York to follow the pipeline. Masquerading as a courier he meets enticing, ice-cold, Tiffany Case. She stands between Bond and gang-bosses whose criminal diamond business stretches from Sierra Leone, via London, to the gambling tables of Las Vegas. Bond infiltrates the mob. Horse-racing scams, a car chase, a rigged card game, and a pursuit by locomotive ... Archie Scottney's dramatisation parades a bizarre collection of mafiosi monsters.
Sound design: Mark Holden;
Original music: Mark Holden and Michael Lopez.
ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE ....2014
Saturday Drama, R4, 3 May 2014. Toby Stephens as 007. The cast includes Joanna Lumley, Alfred Molina, Alex Jennings, Lisa Dillon, John Standing, Janie Dee, Lloyd Owen, Joanna Cassidy, Clare Dunne and Julian Sands, with Jarvis himself as the voice of Fleming. Director: Martin Jarvis. Producer: Rosalind Ayres. Indie. (Jarvis & Ayres Production).
21 Jul 12: Saturday Play: From Russia With Love
6 Aug 11: Saturday Play: Dr. No
A Jarvis and Ayres production. 3 Apr 10. Saturday Play, 90m. Ian McKellen is the villain in this adaptationby Archie Scotney of the 1959 novel. I can remember reading this when 10 years old. Oddjob being sucked out of the porthole, and his deadly bowler hat... that's 40 years ago....music by Sam Barbour and Mark Holden; producer Rosalind Ayres, director Martin Jarvis. And why wasn't the independent production company mentioned in "Radio Times"? Come on, RT.....it's about time you gave credits where they're due.
Goldfinger ..... Ian McKellen
James Bond ..... Toby Stephens.
'M' ..... John Standing.
Col. Smithers ..... Ian Ogilvy
Pussy Galore ..... Rosamund Pike
Tilly Masterton ..... Lisa Dillon
Du Pont ..... Henry Goodman
Hawker ..... Alistair McGowan
Helmut Springer ..... Hector Elizondo
Jill Masterton ..... Anna Louise Plowman
Johnny Solo ..... Tim Pigott-Smith
Mr Strap ..... Tom Hollander
Felix Leiter ..... Lloyd Owen
Jed Midnight ..... Nigel Anthony
Oddjob ..... Jon David Yu
Alfred ..... Alan Shearman
Nigel ..... Matthew Wolf
Fleming ..... Martin Jarvis
Doctors and Pilot ..... Kyle Stoller
"Delighted to see this fantastic line-up of actors showing television up for the dumbed-down tosh that it currently is. - a post on the drama messageboard.
24 May 08. With John Standing as M, David Suchet as Dr. No, Toby Stephens as 007, Janie Dee as Miss Moneypenny, Peter Capaldi, Nicky Henson, Inika Leigh Wright, Samuel West. Martin Jarvis is the voice of Ian Fleming, and the production is by Jarvis and Ayres. Dramatisation by Hugh Whitemore.
FOUR JAMES BOND SHORT STORIES....2006
From 17 November to 5 January 2006. Read (2 episodes per story) by Damian Lewis on BBC Radio 2.
1. The Living Daylights;
2. From A View to a Kill;
3. The Property of a Lady;
4. For Your Eyes Only
CASINO ROYALE ....2002
From 30 December 2002 to 10 January 2003. 5 Episodes on 'A Book At Bedtime', BBC Radio 4. Read by Alex Jennings and abridged by Sally Marmion.
YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE....1990
15 Dec 1990, R4. The only James Bond film, until 2008, to be dramatised for radio. It's excellent. Michael Jayston stars as 007; dramatisation by Michael Bakewell, who has been involved with radio drama since the early sixties. Saturday afternoon play, 90m.
ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE ....1989
From 23 October to 3 November 1989. A Book At Bedtime, BBC Radio 4. Read by Joanna Lumley.
OTHER JAMES BOND-RELATED PROGRAMMES
THE SOVIET JAMES BOND....2014
R4 18 Dec 14. In the depths of the Cold War, the Soviets had their own version of James Bond, a superspy whose adventures thrilled readers from Minsk to the Urals. But whereas Bond enjoyed champagne, gambling and beautiful women, the spy codenamed Stierlitz was a Russian patriot of austere tastes (though he does enjoy vodka and singing Russian songs). In novels like "Diamonds for the Dictatorship of the Proletariat," Stierlitz carved a parallel path to that being followed by the great 007. Spy fan Miles Jupp explores the extraordinary legacy of the Soviet James Bond and his creator Julian Semyonov. (From BBC website)
BBC Radio 4, Sun 7 Sep 2014… With Roger Moore ; John Glen ; Richard Kiel (shortly before his death) : Britt Ekland. Presented by Sue MacGregor Producer: Karen Pirie. Series Producer: David Prest. Indie (Whistledown production).
THE BLAGGER'S GUIDE TO JAMES BOND....2012
Radio 2, 22 November 2012.
JAMES BOND - THE LAST ENGLISHMAN....2008
26 May 08. R4 documentary available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/james_bond/12620.shtml. As part of the Ian Fleming centenary, Professor David Cannadine sets James Bond and his creator in their historical context.
THE BOND CORRESPONDENCE....2008
BBC Radio 4, 24 May 2008. Ian Fleming's niece, Lucy, sets out to discover more about her uncle. With Roger Moore as the voice of Ian Fleming.
From Father with Love ....2006
By Mark Burgess. While convalescing in a Hove hotel from a heart attack, Ian Fleming takes the opportunity to write a book for his son, called Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Ian ...... Simon Williams, Ann ...... Lucy Fleming, Michael ...... John Evitts, Zborowski ...... Jonathan Tafler, Bill ...... Trevor Littledale, Janet ...... Alison Pettitt, Paul ...... Jamie Hogarth, Ian (as a boy) ...... Thomas Helm. Director David Blount.
Ian Fleming and Raymond Chandler discussing writing fiction. Home Service, 10 Jul 58. Available on http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/james_bond/12601.shtml. (On this web page there are also links to other video and audio pieces on Bond).
The plays are known to exist in VRPCC (aka The Radio Circle) collections.
Links re the late Bob Holness as James Bond:
Compiled by Alistair Wyper and Nigel Deacon / Diversity website
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