'Bond Is GREAT Britain', By Jonathan Knott, British Ambassador To Hungary

  • 9 Nov 2012 8:00 AM
'Bond Is GREAT Britain', By Jonathan Knott, British Ambassador To Hungary
"We arranged a screening of the new Bond film, Skyfall, last week. On the same day it premiered here in Budapest. And we invited our closest contacts and friends to share the evening with us. It was great to see members of government, politicians, people from ministries, NGOs and just friends of the Embassy relaxing at the movies.

And what a film! I’m a huge Bond fan. And loved it. Daniel Craig is my favourite Bond. My favourite film is still Casino Royale. But Skyfall ran it a close second. Fantastic story, great action, super performances. And the return of the silver Aston Martin DB5. Fantastic.

The film brought home to me how much the UK is mirrored in Bond. The key parts of the film reflect aspects of excellence in Britain. Starting (as the films do) with great music: the UK is still dominant in the music business. More than 12% of music sold last year was by British artists. Then the clothes – the films feature beautiful people in (and sometimes out of) fabulous costumes. Which made me think of all the British designers, from Westwood to Smith and Choo. Of course the actors themselves are a big part of the films. Did you know that in 4 of the last 6 years a British actor has won either the leading man or leading woman Oscar?

Then I thought about the gadgets which Q has supplied Bond with over the years. My favourite is the Lotus which converts to a submarine. But Britain is all about innovation – and not just gadgets. With 76 winners of Nobels for Science and Technology the UK comes second in the world. Then there are the cars. Beautiful luxury British cars, from the DB5 to Goldfinger’s Rolls Royce to the other Aston Martins and Jaguars Bond has driven. But the UK isn’t just about classy cars. It’s also about fast cars. Britain is home to nearly all Formula One teams and every part of every F1 car has input from the UK. And that sort of technology lead is a feature of modern Britain. London has more IT and online companies than any major US city. More electronic goods are sold in the UK than anywhere else in Europe (about 22% of all EU sales).

Then there’s Bond himself. I think the character of Bond has changed through the years much as the character of the UK has changed. The sixties saw Connery’s hard, uncompromising Bond. A post war, cold war Bond for a post War, Cold War Britain. Then we saw the Lazenby and Moore Bonds. With Roger Moore’s softer, kitsch, funnier Bond reflecting the seventies and early eighties in the UK. We saw the Dalton and Brosnan versions through to early this century. And now we have a Bond for modern Britain. Daniel Craig shows us what the UK is all about now. Confident, independent, sure-footed; sophisticated, street-wise, sexy."

Bond is

Source: British Embassy Budapest

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