Thursday, 18 March 2010

Goldfinger: The Radiogram

Great news! If, that is, your definition of "great" is "rubbish, and largely unwelcome". BBC Radio 4 are broadcasting an adaptation of Ian Fleming's 'Goldfinger' in April, starring former Bond film actor Toby Stephens as 007, former Bond film actress Rosamund Pike as Pussy Galore and former Bond film actor Tim Pigott-Smith as DuPont. In fact there are so many Bond film alumni in it that I wouldn't be surprised if Desmond Llewellyn himself rose from the grave to urge 007 to grow up.

"But The Incredible Suit", I hear you cry, "you're a manically deranged, borderline psychotic Bond fan who owns one of Sean Connery's toupees and a pair of Daniel Craig's trunks, surely you lap this kind of thing up?" Well, yes and no. Yes, in that when Radio 4 did the same thing with 'Dr No' a couple of years ago, I downloaded it and spent a tedious bus journey through a remote and ugly part of China listening to it. No, in that it was abominably bad.

Toby Stephens, one of the movie series' worst ever villains, was hammier than a herd of pigs in a vat of salt brine, and David Suchet, as the eponymous bad guy, employed such a ludicrous vocal interpretation that it was as much as I could do to resist winding down the bus window and hurling my mp3 player into the nearest paddy field. Imagine a parrot emulating William Shatner's syntax while delivering lines like "No... BODY who... comestothis ISLAND has EEE-ver left it. DOYOUUNDERSTAND?!?! NOBODY!!!!!!"

So it is with no small amount of fear and anguish that I approach the 'Goldfinger' adaptation, which will feature Ian "Surrian" McKellen - no stranger to a bit of over-the-top luvvitude himself - as the titular precious metal-hoarding lardbucket. It's a useful bit of pub quiz trivia that the first actor to play 007 on the radio was Bob "Can I have a P please" Holness, in a version of 'Moonraker' in 1956. So I suppose we should be grateful that today's quiz show hosts aren't getting in on the act, or we'd have Vernon Kay or the AntDecBorg wrapping their cheeky chappie tonsils around Fleming's words.

All of which leads to the inevitable graph of greatness of various formats of James Bond storytelling:

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  1. Surely the most obvious complaint about a future Radio 4 adaptation is that you CAN'T SEE THE TRUNKS!

    Ms So So Jeans

  2. Surely you have several pictures of THE TRUNKS you could stare at whilst listening?

  3. I agree that the book Bond is better than the Film Bond, but maybe that is because I read the books while the 'cold war' was still on and 'wimmin's lib' had yet to pour cold water on Bond's amorous moments and Q's gizmos had yet to be on public sale in Radio Shack.