“The name’s Sparkle. Chris Sparkle.” You might have realised, gentle reader, that I often enjoy a challenge. For three years now I’ve been working away at my Agatha Christie Challenge, re-reading all her books and then writing a blog post about each of them. At my current rate it’ll be at least 2021 before I finish, maybe even later.
Juggling that alongside all my usual blatherings about theatre, travel, films, Eurovision and all that lark, I’m going to introduce another thread – The James Bond Challenge. Now, I’ve never read any of the Ian Fleming books, but as a youngster I was quite a fan of Mr Bond on film. In the 70s they frequently brought back the 1960s Sean Connery films as double-bills, and I remember seeing From Russia With Love and Diamonds Are Forever on the same cinema ticket with my schoolfriend John – I expect we chatted all the way through it, much to the annoyance of the other cinemagoers. My cousin also worked with and was personal friends with George Lazenby, so we all felt we had a family allegiance to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
But then something strange happened… I never saw any more in the series. I loved the Wings single of Live and Let Die, but never got around to seeing it at the cinema. So I never saw (and still haven’t) Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton or Pierce Brosnan in the role. I did see Skyfall at the cinema, but missed out on Spectre. I decided this was Something About Which Something Must Be Done.
So very kindly Mrs Chrisparkle bought me for my birthday this year a box set of all the James Bond films from Dr No to Quantum of Solace, excluding the erroneous comic Casino Royale – which I saw at the cinema as a youngster with the Dowager Mrs Chrisparkle and I remember laughing like a drain at it. But I have that Casino Royale, Skyfall and Spectre all downloaded on my Freeview box anyway, so every James Bond film is now at my fingertips. Lucky me!
As a result I’m going to start the James Bond Challenge. I’ll be re-watching each and every Bond film in chronological order (maybe with Mrs C, if she’s of a mind to join me) and then giving each one a little write-up afterwards every few weeks or so. Mrs C and I have already sat down and watched Dr No again and we were both really impressed! So watch this space and, all being well, Dr No will kick off the season in a couple of days’ time! And if you’re fancying dipping your toes back into Bond-land, and have access to the films, it would be great if you wanted to watch along at the same time and we can compare notes!