Thank heaven for English theatre bars. We’ve had two acts of this play, complete suffering both onstage, and off.
This month, we head back to the earliest days of Rogertainment with the very first episode of The Saint (1961), in which Roger Moore teams up with a future Bond girl, the glittering Shirley Eaton, to thwart a serial wife-killer who will one day control every computer in the galaxy. Or something. It’s all a bit confusing really.
I don’t trust a man who makes toys in a land where children are forbidden.
It’s Christmas, and to celebrate we’re heading back into James Bond territory by watching a film produced by Albert Broccoli, based on a novel by Ian Fleming and a screenplay by Roald Dahl. It’s like You Only Live Twice with a much nicer car, and we love it: it’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
I love you madly. I love the way the hair curls on the back of your neck. You’ll make a beautiful corpse. I’m going to do you the honour of letting you die superbly.
This month, we’re watching The Prisoner (1967), more specifically its weird antepenultimate episode The Girl Who Was Death. So while Nathan puts the children to bed, James does some ball-tampering, Brendan drives around on the ceiling, and Richard enters a deadly alliance with the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker. No, we don’t know what’s going on either.
– Oh, I’m sorry about the explosion. It doesn’t happen every day.
– I don’t come every day.
This month, we’re watching the camp 1966 spy-fi classic Modesty Blaise, starring a very attractive Italian lady, Dirk Bogarde and Bernice off Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. There’s diamond smuggling, spycraft and racist comedy Arabs, but it’s mostly all there to get in the way of the lovely location work in Amsterdam and Italy and the upsettingly psychedelic wallpaper.
This month, we’re watching The Persuaders! Season 1 Episode 17, Five Miles to Midnight, in which TV’s Roger Moore and sometime lady saxophonist Tony Curtis team up with Joan Collins to smuggle some guy out of Italy, accompanied by a series of excellent jokes written by Terry Nation.
And in the process, we answer the age-old question, “What did Tony Curtis call Joan Collins during the production that got her so annoyed?” Over and over again, I’m afraid.
This month, we head back in time to 1965. While James Bond is in the Bahamas enjoying some painfully slow underwater harpoon fights, Harry Palmer (Michael Caine) is having a much more prosaic time spying for the Ministry of Defence, trying to locate a kidnapped scientist. That is, until the psychedelia kicks in.
– Steed! I thought you were an old lady with a bale and knitting needles.
– They do say I take after granny.
This month, we go back to Richard and Brendan’s first love — 1960s spy-fi classic The Avengers. Brendan has taken up knitting, James is achieving better living through self-help books, Nathan is wondering why Graeme Garden left his computer here, and Richard is relaxing in a leotard and a giant birdcage. Watch out, everyone: it’s The Girl from Auntie.
– Oh, Mr. Simpkins, that was wonderful. I’m sure I’ll never get my drawers off as slickly as that.
This month, Richard leads a bumbling troupe of trainee Secret Service agents on a mission to retrieve a top-secret chemical formula. But Brendan faints after his first martini, James keeps accidentally giving the formula to enemy agents, and Nathan is altogether too enthusiastic about disguising himself as a dancing girl. Which is why there’s nothing left for us to do but Carry on Spying.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
It’s James Bond’s fiftieth anniversary, and so we’re celebrating by introducing him to Q and Moneypenny, casting doubt on his fitness for the job, shooting him in the chest, burning his house down, and killing his Mum. Take it away, Adele!