James Bond: Former MI6 head claims he ‘would have said no’ to spy headquarters explosion scene in Skyfall

Sir Richard Dearlove also criticised MI5’s first female director-general for writing about the intelligence services in her autobiography

Ellie Harrison
Monday 30 September 2019 09:55
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The former head of MI6 has revealed he would have said “no” to a scene in James Bond movie Skyfall in which the organisation’s London HQ is blown up by a terrorist.

Sir Richard Dearlove, who was the head of MI6 from 1999 to 2004, told The Times that when Robin Cook was foreign secretary, the film's producers asked him for permission to use the MI6 headquarters – located at Vauxhall Cross on the Thames – as a backdrop.

The building appeared in several Bond films, with a 50ft model being blown up for Skyfall. Sir Dearlove said that Cook did not tell him about the approach, “knowing I would say no”.

Sir Dearlove also criticised MI5’s first female director-general Dame Stella Rimington for writing about her experience of the intelligence services in her autobiography, describing her as “extremely badly behaved”.

He said that Dame Rimington’s 2001 memoir Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5, had been authorised by Whitehall only because “you can’t imagine the government taking the former director-general of the Security Service to court to stop the publication of a book. So she produced the book, which made a lot of her colleagues both in MI5 and MI6 extremely angry”.

Sir Dearlove claimed that since the publication of her autobiography, new recruits to the intelligence community have to sign away copyright as well as sign the Official Secrets Act.

“You can write a book about your experiences if you wish but you are not going to make any money,” he said.

The latest Bond film, No Time to Die, recently wrapped filming, marking Daniel Craig's last outing as the spy.

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