Toby-Stephens-James-BondYou know the name, and you know the number. James Bond and Radio-4 in the UK are uniting once again for a new entry in the audio drama world of 007, and this time its an exciting adaptation of the fourth Ian Fleming Bond adventure Diamonds Are Forever.

The BBC’s publicity department have announced that the latest 007 radio adaptation, with Toby Stephens once again playing James Bond, will be transmitted on BBC Radio-4 on Saturday, 25th July, 2015, at 2.30pm.

Produced by Jarvis and Ayres Productions in collaboration with the BBC, the 90-minute audio play is the fifth radio production to star Stephens as 007, who first took on the role of James Bond in Dr. No in 2008, which was followed by Goldfinger in 2010, From Russia With Love in 2012 and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service in 2014.

Toby Stephens, of course, is very familiar to Bond aficionados as, uniquely, he has played both 007 and a Bond villain. In 2002 he was the baddie Gustav Graves in EON’s fourth Pierce Brosnan Bond movie Die Another Day.

For this new adaptation of Diamonds Are Forever, which has been dramatised by Archie Scottney and is directed by Martin Jarvis, Lisa Dillon will play Tiffany Case and Jared Jarris will be Mr. Spang. Dillon, an acclaimed stage actress who has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, previously read a Jarvis and Ayres production of Hilda Richards’ 1939 story Jemima Gets Them Guessing, which aired on BBC Radio-4 in 2011. Jared Jarris, who is one of the three sons of the late Irish actor Richard Harris, is perhaps best known for his role as Lane Pryce in TV’s smash-hit Mad Men series, but he has also carved out a good range of big-screen roles, including as the devious Professor Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows (2011). His latest role has been as Saunders in the new big-screen version of The Man from UNCLE (2015).

The new audio adaptation of Diamonds will also see John Standing return as ‘M,’ and Martin Jarvis will reprise his role as the voice of Ian Fleming. Other roles will include Nigel Havers as Superintendent Harris; Alan Shearman as Rufus B. Saye; Alex Jennings as Shady Tree; Josh Stamberg as Bond’s CIA buddy Felix Leiter; Stacy Keach as Ernie Cureo; Kevin Daniels as Sammy; Andre Sogliuzzo as Rocky/Wint; Darren Richardson as Kidd/The Sergeant; and Matthew Wolf as Tingaling/Dentist.

James Bond author Ian Fleming’s fourth 007 adventure, published in 1956, saw Bond return to America to trace and infiltrate the routes taken by the participants in an international diamond smuggling pipeline, a ring which stretched from mines in Sierra Leone in Africa right through to Mafia interests in New York and Las Vegas. The pipeline is being operated by the ‘Spangled Mob’, a gang run by the two Spang brothers. In the 1950s, Fleming had taken a close interest in the diamond industry and the trade in illicit diamonds and, at one point – making use of his contacts with ex-employees of MI5 – he had conducted a considerable amount of his own background research for the Sunday Times. Some of this background material appeared in his non-fiction book The Diamond Smugglers (1957).

Jarvis and Ayres have been praised for their determination to offer faithful adaptations of the original Ian Fleming Bond stories. In 2010, Jarvis explained to the UK’s popular SFX magazine that one of the remits behind his James Bond radio productions is that ‘we’re not making a version of the movie. We go back to the novel and keep great faith with it’.

Did You Know?

A key part of the storyline concerning Tiffany Case in the Ian Fleming novel Diamonds Are Forever took place on the luxury cruise ship RMS Queen Elizabeth. In real life, when the liner was retired and sold in 1968, it eventually ended up in the hands of a Hong Kong businessman, who intended to turn the ship into a floating University. But in 1972, while undergoing refurbishment for this project in Hong Kong harbour, the liner mysteriously caught fire, and was capsized by the water that was used to put out the onboard blaze.

In the autumn of 1973, when a large EON recce team were hunting for suitable locations in the Far East for the next 007 movie after Roger Moore’s debut film Live and Let Die, they eventually came across the charred wreck of RMS Queen Elizabeth in Hong Kong harbour, and immediately saw the on-screen possibilities. It thus appeared in Moore’s second Bond movie The Man With The Golden Gun (1974), featuring as a temporary MI6 station.