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From the Archive
Issue #37 (2000)


Pay Attention 007!
Bonding with Pierce Brosnan in Tomorrow Never Dies (1996)

Desmond Llewelyn as Q with Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) 

At ‘Cubby’ Broccoli’s tribute in November 1996 you gave a very eloquent eulogy of the man. What are your personal memories of ‘Cubby’ and Dana?
I think he was a wonderful man. I was very fond of him. I loved him actually. He couldn’t have been kinder, and he couldn’t have been nicer. He really was a magnificent producer. I will stick my neck out completely and say that if it wasn’t for ‘Cubby’ Broccoli the Bond films wouldn’t be what they are today. ‘Cubby’ was there all the time, he was always on set. Quite an amazing man.   

What are your memories of Harry and Jacqueline Saltzman?
I hardly knew them at all. The only time I got to know Harry’s wife was when I was hanging about on the set of Thunderball. Harry was a nice little man, sort of a bouncy Napoleon you know. Cubby was sort of a really friendly nice character. Saltzman was all right, but I didn’t really know him. 

The Spy Who Loved Me firmly established Roger Moore as James Bond. It‘s well known that Roger was very much a practical joker on the set.
Yes, he used to fool around a lot. As I always had trouble remembering my lines he would be inclined on a close-up to hold up a placard with “balls” written on it.  He is a very nice man. 

Moonraker was the first Bond film not to be solely based at Pinewood?
Yes, I went to France and Italy. I was going to South America, but unfortunately the scene I was to do in Rio they did in Italy instead. They were looking for a monastery, but they couldn’t find one in South America where they were going, so the one you see in the film is in fact in Italy.

Before For Your Eyes Only went into production you lost one of your co-stars, Bernard Lee.
He died during For Your Eyes Only. He came down, but he was very ill, they brought him down to Pinewood but he just couldn’t do it, so James Villiers took over. 

35 Years of 'Q' From Russia With Love (1963) Goldfinger (1964) Thunderball (1965)
The World Is Not Enough (1999) Desmond Llewelyn as Q 1963-1999 You Only Live Twice (1967)
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)
GoldenEye (1995) Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Licence To Kill (1989) The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)
The Living Daylights (1987) The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
A View To A Kill (1985) Octopussy (1983) For Your Eyes Only (1981) Moonraker (1979)
Licence To Kill (1989)

Desmond plays chauffeur to Timothy Dalton’s 007 in Licence To Kill (1989).

Octopussy introduced the audience to Q’s assistant Smithers (Jeremy Bulloch). Was his character supposed to feature in succeeding Bond films?
No, no. I don’t think so. Smithers was really only an extra in a way. He was an awfully nice chap, and I don’t know why he hasn’t been in the films since.

Octopussy marked your largest role as Q up to that point in the series. Did you have the opportunity to visit India for this shoot, or were your scenes shot entirely at Pinewood?
Entirely at Pinewood. The scene of me in India is a double, just a technician.

What was the filming of the hot air balloon sequence like with Roger, and all the beauties that surround Q in the Octopussy?
It was practically the only time I ever met any Bond girls. They were great fun, and I got to know them quite well as I did a promotional tour with them. We went to Australia. I also went to America twice with two of them, Mary Stavin, and I can’t remember who the other one was. We did the balloon sequence very near Christmas, something went wrong and Roger had to go because he was catching his plane to leave. 

During the production of Octopussy you were also faced with a rival Bond film, Never Say Never Again.  Were you ever asked to appear in the film, and what did you think of Alec McCowen’s portrayal of Q in this movie?
No, I wasn’t asked to be in it. I think he was very funny, he made it totally different to me.

With the fresh approach that was taken with Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights, regular Lois Maxwell was dropped from the cast in favour of a younger Miss Moneypenny. At this time did you feel your future in the Bond series was under any threat?
I always have. I’m much too old. I’ve always said I’m much too old for the part – but it just goes on.

What kind of relationship did you have with Timothy Dalton, how did you find him to work with?
Very good. He’s a stage actor. The problem why he was not so successful was because he made him a real person. Licence To Kill I think was a very good film, but what the Americans said is quite true, it wasn’t a Bond film. It lost all its fantasy, and Timothy made him into a real character.

Your role in Licence To Kill was greeted tremendously by James Bond fans. Whose idea was it to give Q such as a major role in this film?
I haven’t a clue, perhaps the writers.

How long were you hired for on Licence To Kill, and what was it like shooting in Mexico?
It was just very nice to be out in Mexico. I was out there for a month, then I came back for a month, then I was out there for a couple of weeks. When I finished filming I hired a car and drove up thorough America. It was very pleasant.

Did your wife go with you to Mexico?
Yes she did. Then she went on tour with me to Australia.

Licence To Kill marked the beginning of a six year gap, due to yet another legal wrangle. Did you still have regular contact with Barbara Broccoli, Michael Wilson and EON during this period?
Well yes. I saw Cubby once or twice. I didn’t see Barbara because I don’t think she was in England, and I don’t think Michael was either. But when Cubby came over I saw him. I went to EON Productions' office in London to see the publicity people.

Desmond Llewelyn with Christopher Lee, Shirley Eaton, Tania Mallet, Guy Hamilton, and Norman Wanstall at Pinewood Studios in 1996 | Desmond Llewelyn's final appearance as Q in The World Is Not Enough (1999).

ABOVE (left) Supporting yet another JBIFC convention, with Christopher Lee, Shirley Eaton, Tania Mallet, Guy Hamilton, and Norman Wanstall at Pinewood Studios in 1996 (centre & right) Desmond Llewelyn's final appearance as 'Q' in The World Is Not Enough (1999).

When James Bond eventually returned in GoldenEye, things had changed dramatically. Bond, M, Moneypenny, and the director had changed. Were you expecting to be asked to reprise your role as Q, and at what stage of the pre-production did you sign to return?
I never sign anything. Barbara phoned up and said would I like to go up to Leavesden to meet the director Martin Campbell. So I went up there to meet him.

In the last three films with Pierce Brosnan, each was directed by a different director. Do they have any input into how you should play Q, or do they leave it up to you, as you know the character best?
No not really, one just plays him, it depends very much on the scriptwriter.

It's been reported that Tomorrow Never Dies had a troubled production.
I wasn’t there very long, only three days. Yes there was a certain amount of friction that went on. I think it was a difficult production because it had to be out by Christmas. I liked the director, as far I was concerned he was very good. I usually have to have those damn idiot boards up, to remember certain things, but he wouldn’t let me use them. I said all right, but it's going to take a long time, I’m getting old and I can’t remember my lines. As a director he was good.

Tomorrow Never Dies must rate as one of your best performances as Q.
Really? The beginning of the scene was shot in Hamburg – why God knows – but it was very nice. The rest was Stanstead.

And now we come to Bond Number 19, The World Is Not Enough. Can we expect to see you in a scene similar to GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies?
I don’t know – I haven’t had the script yet. I’m not doing anything until June. I must get onto them actually and find out.

Desmond Llewelyn as Q in The Living Daylights (1987) | Bond and Q Examine the Faberge Egg in Octopussy (1983) | Q’s gadgets continue to be treated with disinterest by Roger Moore’s 007 in  A View To A Kill (1985)

ABOVE: (left) Desmond Llewelyn as Q in The Living Daylights (1987), (centre) Bond and Q examine the Faberge Egg in Octopussy (1983), and Q’s gadgets continue to be treated with disinterest by Roger Moore’s 007 in  A View To A Kill (1985).