It’s not long into the latest Bond blockbuster Skyfall before 007 is given a black box containing his trademark Walther PPK. Next to it is a small radio transmitter, about the size of a matchbox. Q looks pleased. Bond does not. “A gun and a radio,” he says. “Not exactly Christmas, is it?” His disappointment was echoed through the world’s multiplexes. This is the first time we’ve seen Q since Die Another Day in 2002, when John Cleese played the role of MI6’s eccentric quartermaster. But he’s gone now, replaced by a younger, snarkier version. So what happened to Aston Martins with rockets? And shouldn’t his watch fire laser beams?
Q’s toys are a vital Bond ingredient. Who could forget the DB5 ejector seat or Connery’s briefcase bomb? And if Roger Moore doesn’t arrive in a crocodile submarine, popcorn shall be thrown. Set against this tradition of gadgetry, Skyfall would appear to contain all the tech of Downton Abbey. And yet, to the trained eye, it was about as cutting-edge as it gets, and uncannily close to real life. Have a look around. Your car has Bluetooth. Your PC has WiFi. At the core of them all? Good old-fashioned radio waves. Seems like the new Q is on to something…
Words: Dan Read
Photos: Alex Lake