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James Bond's Kent connections as new movie Skyfall released


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Daniel Craig stars as James Bond in Skyfall
Daniel Craig stars as James Bond in Skyfall

Daniel Craig stars as Bond in Skyfall

by Andy Gray

Movie fans throughout Kent are getting shaken AND stirred ahead of the release of the latest Bond film, Skyfall, tonight.

The 23rd Bond movie goes on general release today - in the 50th anniversary of the of the suave super spy's cinematic debut.

The franchise has grossed around £3.1 billion since its first instalment, Dr No, in 1962.

Daniel Craig in Skyfall
Daniel Craig in Skyfall

The secret agent in a scene from the movie

But how much of a super sleuth are you - can you unravel the secret agent's darkest links with the county?

James Bond author Ian Fleming was inspired by what he saw in the county and apparently numbered his spy accordingly.

It is rumoured that the author either took the world famous numbers - 007 - from the London to Dover coach or from the Deal to Canterbury bus service.

How Kent locations were used in Ian Fleming's Bond novels

Fleming moved to St Margaret’s Bay, between Dover and Deal, after taking over the lease of a holiday home in 1952, with his wife-to-be Anne Rothermere and their son Casper.

Much of the surrounding area was used as inspiration for Bond novels including the white cliffs at St Margaret’s and Kingsdown as the site of the missile Moonraker, built by the villain Hugo Drax in the novel of the same title.

The author’s other great love was golf and the Royal St George’s course at Sandwich features heavily in Goldfinger as Royal St Mark’s, where Bond and Goldfinger took part in a match.

Maidstone can claim to have played a role in the franchise's success, as Ian Fleming’s book version of Moonraker featured some familiar road names and places.

Pierce Brosnan
Pierce Brosnan

Mereworth

Action hero Pierce Brosnan

King Street, Gabriels Hill and the Royal Star Hotel - now the Royal Star Arcade - enjoy a mention as the novel’s heroine Gala Brand is driven through the county town by the evil Hugo Drax.

She manages to outfox her enemy and scribble down some secret co-ordinates when the town’s horrendous traffic comes to her aid.

Castle appears as the home of David Niven’s 1966 James Bond, in Casino Royale.

When Bond boards a Hovercraft to flee from a diamond smuggler in 1971’s Diamonds are Forever, it featured the Port of Dover ferry terminal.

Sean Connery as James Bond 007 in Ian Flemings "Diamonds are Forever"
Sean Connery as James Bond 007 in Ian Flemings "Diamonds are Forever"

A 1999 appearance from Chatham Dockyard featured in The World is Not Enough. Pierce Brosnan was in the title role and the dockyard was used for a boat chase scene.

Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed Chatham High Street, just before Bond sails past the O2 in London.

Manston Airport in Thanet played a key role in 2002’s Die Another Day, starring Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry, with cargo plane scenes being filmed there, as the airport has one of Europe’s longest runways, capable of accommodating larger aircraft.

Former Gravesend schoolgirl Gemma Arterton appeared in 2008’s Quantum of Solace, alongside Daniel Craig.

And Gravesend also provided another connection in the form of Len Mount.

The pensioner, in his 70s, makes model helicopters and his creation, which cost up to £20,000 have featured in Goldeneye, The World is Not Enough, and Live and Let Die.

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