The James Bond film franchise turns 50 today with the release of a revealing new documentary about its turbulent past and the first listen of the new theme tune performed by Adele.
If comedy is the new rock 'n' roll, then Magnus Betner may be its Lou Reed: deadpan, downbeat and determinedly difficult. The Swede tells us he is a "fucking superstar" in his home country, though it's hard to tally that with the jaded figure who explains he couldn't be bothered to give his show a name. "People would go to something because of the title? How stupid is that?" he seethes. Duly, his set is austerely gimmick-free. A vitriolic jeremiad sees him weighing in on numerous "horrible, tragic" news stories – his preferred kind – with provocative one-liners and skewed sermonising. Given the ground covered, it's inevitably a mixed bag – his rundown of the Aids "hierarchy" was as trenchant as his analysis of the Batman shootings was glib. But, in an hour that inspires as many awkward silences as laughs, his uncompromising commitment to serious humour is a perversely admirable thing.
It's becoming something of a Sky speciality. Spend a bit of cash to hoick something from the terrestrial channels and then give it its own specialist channel so devotees can dedicate 24 hours a day, or thereabouts, to watching their favourite thing. It did it for sports, then it did it for Formula 1 and now it's doing it for the Bond films. It struck a deal in April with MGM, the film studio behind the spy franchise, to take the films away from ITV (who previously held the exclusive rights, which is why you were rarely more than a few hours away from Thunderball on ITV4). And from the autumn, Bond will be getting his martinis poured without ads on a temporary dedicated channel on Sky, launching on 5 October, which will also get the TV premiere of the forthcoming Skyfall.
Rather than renting the same old boring Cornish cottage, how about staying in a bolthole with a creative past?
The buzz coming off this show has been as loud as the sound of a devilish gadget fashioned by Q. The name that counts here, though, is Bishop, Mike Bishop, not James Bond. Mike Bishop, father of Des, is a former actor and model who was in line for the James Bond role but was beaten to it by George Lazenby. Though this could be seen as a lucky escape, Bishop tells us that his father can't watch the spy films because they remind him of a career that might have been. That regret paled into insignificance when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year.
Today’s announcement that Daniel Craig is to star in a Hollywood film of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is great news for fans of Stieg Larsson. But it represents a rather less exciting development for those who prefer Craig’s other alter ego, James Bond.
A car that starred in two of super-spy James Bond's most famous adventures is expected to make around £3.5 million when it is sold at auction.
When Ian Fleming died in 1964, fans of the world's most famous fictional spy at least had the consolation that James Bond had not gone with him: 007's story continued to be told by writers including Kingsley Amis as well as by Hollywood's film franchise, all determined to keep alive the suave, Martini-sipping secret agent.
The new James Bond book Devil May Care has smashed the record for Penguin's fastest-selling hardback fiction title.
More than 40 years after the last adventure, a new James Bond book has arrived with its writer warning that the spy is not a slick superhero armed with hi-tech gadgetry, but a, "solitary, unarmed guy in a smart suit and soft shoes".