The UK’s BBC Radio-4 have given Bond fans an early Xmas present by repeating some of the Toby Stephens 007 adventures, the highly-praised adaptations by Archie Scottney of the Ian Fleming novels, produced by Martin Jarvis and Rosalind Ayres Productions.

The Radio Bond season commenced on Saturday 14th November with a repeat of Thunderball, which starred Stephens as Bond, Tom Conti as Largo and Alfred Molina as Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Janet Montgomery played Domino and John Standing returned as ‘M’, with Martin Jarvis as the voice of Ian Fleming. Janie Dee played Miss Moneypenny and Julian Sands was ‘Q’.

The retransmission was also partly a tribute to actor John Sessions, who sadly died recently (he played Dr. Wain in the adaptation). The Jarvis and Ayres production of Thunderball was originally broadcast in December, 2011.

Saturday 21st November saw a welcome repeat on Radio-4 of Moonraker, Archie Scottney’s adaptation of Fleming’s third James Bond adventure from 1955, with Samuel West as Sir Hugo Drax and Katherine Kingsley as Gala. John Standing reprised his role as ‘M’, Janie Dee played Moneypenny and Julian Sands took the role of ‘Q’. It is an interesting adaptation as Scottney has introduced the Prime Minister Winston Churchill (played by John Baddeley), who now has a fairly key role. This adaptation of Ian Fleming’s third novel was first broadcast in March, 2018.

Another Jewel in the Pipeline

Bond fans who enjoy the radio adaptations with Toby Stephens as 007 should also set their clocks for Saturday 28th November, 2020, when Diamonds Are Forever will be re-broadcast on BBC Radio-4, at 2.45-4.15pm GMT. The adaptation was first broadcast in the UK in July, 2015.

The Archie Scottney adaptations are notable for their authenticity, atmosphere and close adherence to Ian Fleming’s original novels, something Jarvis and Ayres have been particularly keen to ensure over the years. The JBIFC understands that a brand new adaptation of a Fleming story in this series has been planned for 2021, subject to Covid restrictions and changes.

Did You Know? 

A radio adaptation of Ian Fleming’s third 007 novel Moonraker was once broadcast live in South Africa, with Bob Holness as James Bond. Holness later found fame in the UK as the very popular host of a teatime quiz show, Blockbusters. Sadly, no recording was made of that original radio version of Moonraker.