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From Blofeld to Moneypenny

Dr Steven Gerrard has recently edited a collection of academic writings about various aspects of gender in the Bond books, films and games

From Blofeld to Moneypenny
I love the James Bond films. The very first film I saw in the cinema was Live and Let Die which starred Roger Moore as Ian Fleming’s super suave, ruthless MI6 Agent. And what an introduction to cinema it was: violence, alcohol, drugs, sex… and that was just when I was sitting in the cinema!

Well, that love for 007 has never waivered. Every time a new film gets released, I take my dad to see it. We sit in the darkened theatre enraptured as Bond battles the villain, takes on despots, topples regimes and wins the day. I want to be James Bond. 

It was with great joy then, that my edited collection, From Blofeld to Moneypenny: Gender in James Bond was not only published recently, but thanks to PhoenixFM, you can hear me speak about the subject on their special episode about James Bond. Their Arts Programme, hosted by Rob West, is no stranger to the world of Bond. Last week, Bond-girl Madeline Smith discussed her role as Miss Caruso in Live and Let Die.

The book contains fifteen enthusiastically written chapters from academics who also love the subject. Whilst most of us think of the films, the book covers Fleming’s creation in the books, comic strips, and even the gameplay of today’s consoles. There are such great chapters in there, that even a quick summary doesn’t do them justice: the Russian women in Bond, the forgotten work of scriptwriter Johanna Harwood who set the template for Bond in the films, title sequences and lyrics, Lads Mags, the villains, the clothes, and studies of both his boss M and the ultimate Bond Girl – Miss Moneypenny – are just a small part of this diverse collection. 

Of course, we had to have a publisher. Emerald Publishing are based in Bingley, Yorkshire. Their editor, Helen Beddow jumped at the chance to produce a book of cutting-edge research, which was originally planned to be released the week before Daniel Craig’s final Bond-outing, No Time to Die. The film has been delayed due to the current Covid-19 outbreak. But the book is out there, ready to be read by you. You might be both shaken and stirred by what you read… but above all else, it was written for you to enjoy.
 

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Dr Steven Gerrard

Dr Steven Gerrard is a film historian and a Senior Lecturer at the Northern Film School.

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