James Bond , 007 - Radio Plays

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.


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.

DR. NO....2008
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.

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.

These plays are known to exist in VRPCC collections.

compiled by Nigel Deacon / Diversity website

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