No Time To Die: 007 facts about James Bond in Herts

The much-delayed 25th James Bond movie, No Time To Die, is finally scheduled to have its world premiere at London’s Royal Albert Hall in September. The new 007 blockbuster will be given the red carpet treatment on Tuesday, September 28, 2021, EON Productions, MGM Studios and Universal Pictures have announced.  A new final international trailer for No Time To Die has just been released, which you can watch below.

[embedded content] A trailer for Daniel Craig retrospective film Being James Bond has also been released, which you can also watch below. Including never-before-seen archival footage from Casino Royale to the upcoming 25th film No Time To Die, Craig shares his personal memories in conversation with 007 producers, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, in the lead up to his final performance as James Bond.

[embedded content] Being James Bond, from Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), will be exclusively available to stream on the Apple TV app as a free rental ahead of the theatrical release of the upcoming 25th film in the James Bond franchise.

Being James Bond, a retrospective film about Daniel Craig's adventure as 007, will stream exclusively on the Apple TV app

Being James Bond, a retrospective film about Daniel Craig’s adventure as 007, will stream exclusively on the Apple TV app for free. – Credit: Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) Following its world premiere, No Time To Die will be released in the UK and Ireland from September 30, 2021, and in the US on October 8.

It is Daniel Craig’s fifth – and final – outing as Ian Fleming’s famous secret agent following Casino Royale, Quantum Of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre. In No Time To Die, Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Paloma (Ana de Armas) in No Time To Die.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Paloma (Ana de Armas) in No Time To Die. – Credit: Nicola Dove (C) 2020 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help.

The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Dr. Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux)drive through Matera.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) and Dr Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux) drive through Matera, Italy, in No Time To Die, a DANJAQ and Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film. – Credit: Nicola Dove (C) 2019 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM.

No Time To Die also stars Bohemian Rhapsody’s Rami Malek as villain Safin and Ana de Armas as Paloma. Ralph Fiennes returns as M, Naomie Harris plays Eve Moneypenny again, and Rory Kinnear is back as Tanner.  Lea Seydoux also returns as Madeleine Swann and Christoph Waltz as Blofeld.

Rami Malek as villain Safin in new James Bond movie No Time To Die.

Rami Malek as villain Safin in new James Bond movie No Time To Die. – Credit: Nicola Dove (C) 2019 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM.

Paloma (Ana De Armas) in Cuba in No Time To Die.

Paloma (Ana de Armas) in Cuba in No Time To Die. – Credit: Nicola Dove (C) 2019 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM.

Moneypenny (Naomie Harris), M (Ralph Fiennes), and Tanner (Rory Kinnear) in a tense moment in M's office in No Time To Die.

Moneypenny (Naomie Harris), M (Ralph Fiennes), and Tanner (Rory Kinnear) in a tense moment in M’s office in No Time To Die. – Credit: Nicola Dove (C) 2019 DANJAQ, LLC AND MGM.

While 007 fans wait to see Daniel Craig one final time at the cinema as James Bond, here’s seven facts about the secret agent movies and their filming links to Hertfordshire and the surrounding area.

1. GoldenEye

Pierce Brosnan’s first James Bond outing in 1995 was made in Hertfordshire and not the franchise’s regular home at Pinewood Studios. Because Pinewood in Buckinghamshire was booked for another major production, EON Productions took over the empty former Rolls-Royce factory site at Leavesden Aerodrome and created a film studios in Herts.

[embedded content] Now Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, where the Harry Potter movies were filmed, GoldenEye was the first film made at the then Leavesden Studios.

The movie’s memorable St Petersburg tank chase was partly shot on the backlot at Leavesden, including when the tank crashes through the Perrier truck. Scenes from Brosnan’s second Bond blockbuster, Tomorrow Never Dies, were also shot in Hertfordshire, this time at Frogmore, a village between St Albans and Radlett. With both Pinewood and Leavesden this time unavailable, filmmakers created EON Studios in a former warehouse and on the adjoining Radlett Aerodrome site.

A number of key sequences were filmed on the sound stages, including the scene with Pierce Brosnan and Michelle Yeoh on a motorbike jumping over the top of a helicopter.

2. The name’s Bond… James Bond!

James Bond actors Sir Roger Moore, Sir Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan have all starred in movies and TV series made in Hertfordshire.

Moore played Simon Templar in The Saint, which was filmed at Elstree Studios, while Connery, as King Arthur, shot scenes of First Knight at St Albans Cathedral. Sir Roger also made the films Crossplot and psychological thriller The Man Who Haunted Himself at Elstree.  In 2012, he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Arts from the University of Hertfordshire in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the UK film and television industry and, in particular, in Hertfordshire.

Sir Roger Moore receives an Honorary Doctorate at the University of Hertfordshire Graduation ceremony in 2012.

Sir Roger Moore receives an Honorary Doctorate at the University of Hertfordshire graduation ceremony in St Albans Cathedral in 2012. – Credit: Harry Hubbard / Archant

The Hatfield-based uni’s graduation ceremony that year was held at St Albans Cathedral.  After collecting his honorary award in 2012, Sir Roger said: “Having spent many enjoyable and successful years of my working life in Hertfordshire, I feel deeply humbled the University of Hertfordshire is bestowing this great honour on me.” Moore’s successor as Bond, Timothy Dalton, played scheming supermarket boss Simon Skinner in Simon Pegg and Nick Frost cop movie Hot Fuzz. 

Scenes of the movie were shot inside the Barn Theatre in Welwyn Garden City, where the appalling am-dram production of Romeo & Juliet was filmed. Skinner later comes a cropper at the climax of the movie when he gets impaled on one of the church towers in Sandford’s model village. The police chase was filmed in the grounds of Hatfield House, with the model village built on land where the George’s Gate car park now stands.

In a Hot Fuzz DVD extras ‘making of’ documentary, Simon Pegg says: “Having James Bond fire back at me… it didn’t escape me at all that I was actually scrapping with Bond and winning as well.

“So to be leaning out of a speeding police car and seeing Timothy Dalton firing a big handgun back at me was I can’t even tell you how much fun that was.”

Dalton, who played 007 twice – in The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill – adds: “You know one of the things we did it was more fun than anything I ever did on a Bond movie, and it’s absolutely true.” Pierce Brosnan appeared in the third movie of Pegg and director Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy, The World’s End, which was largely filmed on location in Welwyn Garden City and Letchworth, as well as at Elstree Studios.  The film also reunited Brosnan with his 2002 Die Another Day co-star Rosamund Pike.

3.

Never Say Never Again…

While not produced by official James Bond franchise makers EON, Never Say Never Again saw Sean Connery return to the role of 007 after more than a decade. His previous Bond adventure was Diamonds Are Forever in 1971. Based on the 1961 Bond novel Thunderball, this 1983 film was shot at Elstree Studios, now owned by Hertsmere Borough Council.

While location filming took place on the French Riviera and Nassau in The Bahamas, principal photography finished at the rather less exotic Elstree, where interior shots were filmed.

4. The Oscar-winning theme song

No, not Skyfall by Adele but Sam Smith’s song Writing’s On The Wall.
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It was the first James Bond theme song to reach number one in the UK singles charts. Billie Eilish’s No Time To Die theme song has since also topped the UK charts. Smith’s track from the movie Spectre won both the original song at the 2016 73rd Golden Globe Awards and that year’s Oscars. 

Sam Smith grew up near Royston, with the singer’s childhood home being in Great Chishill, just across the county border in Cambridgeshire. 

Sam Smith returned to Chishill, where they spent their childhood, to reopen the windmill in 2019 after restoration work.

Sam Smith returned to Chishill, where they spent their childhood, to reopen the windmill in 2019 after restoration work. – Credit: Neil Heywood The village is the highest point in Cambs, and Sam Smith returned to his childhood home in 2019 for the reopening of the restored Great Chishill Watermill. The acclaimed singer also went to school in Bishop’s Stortford in Herts.

5.

The Bond scriptwriter

Sticking with Spectre, former Verulam, St Albans, schoolboy Jez Butterworth helped with the screenplay for Daniel Craig’s fourth outing as the fictional MI6 agent.

Daniel Craig stars as James Bond in action adventure Spectre.

Daniel Craig stars as James Bond in action adventure Spectre. – Credit: Jonathan Olley. (C) 2015 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., Danjaq, LLC and Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. Directed by Sam Mendes, following the success of Skyfall, Spectre was co-written by John Logan, Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and Jerusalem playwright Jez Butterworth, who was drafted in by Mendes to work on the script. Spectre includes a Guinness World Record for the largest on-screen explosion – the destruction of Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s lair.

Daniel Craig on the set of Spectre.

Daniel Craig on the set of Spectre. – Credit: Jonathan Olley. (C) 2015 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., Danjaq, LLC and Columbia Pictures Industries

Playwright, screenwriter, and film director Butterworth had earlier in his career made movie Birthday Girl with Nicole Kidman playing a Russian mail order bride who cons a bank clerk from St Albans. Scenes of the movie were filmed in Herts and in the St Albans.

6. Right on Q!

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Also the voice of Paddington in the heartwarming family movies, award-winning actor Ben Whishaw is the current Q in the Bond films.  From Clifton, Bedfordshire, Whishaw was a member of the Bancroft Players’ youth theatre section at Hitchin’s Queen Mother Theatre before carving out a successful career on stage and screen. The former Samuel Whitbread pupil made his debut as Q – Bond’s MI6 gadget man – in Skyfall, and is back in No Time To Die.

[embedded content] Whishaw won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for A Very English Scandal, a TV dramatisation of the Jeremy Thorpe scandal, which includes scenes filmed in Hertford.

7. Thunderbirds are go…

The cover of Shane Rimmer's autobiography From Thunderbirds to Pterodactyls

The cover of Shane Rimmer’s autobiography From Thunderbirds to Pterodactyls – Credit: Supplied by Shane Rimmer

Canadian actor Shane Rimmer is perhaps best known for providing the voice of Scott Tracy in the original 1960s Thunderbirds series.

A Potters Bar resident for many years before his death in 2019, he appeared in Sean Connery 007 films You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever.

Shane Rimmer in the 1970s.

Shane Rimmer in the 1970s. – Credit: Supplied by Shane Rimmer

He later had a much bigger role in 1977 Roger Moore movie The Spy Who Loved Me as Commander Carter, the captain of the American submarine USS Wayne, which is hijacked by Karl Stromberg’s forces.