MI6 reports from the red carpet at the World Premiere of Quantum of Solace, the 22nd James Bond adventure, which debuted in Leicester Square last night...

Quantum of Solace Royal World Premiere
30th October 2008

Although the Royal World premiere for the 22nd James Bond film "Quantum of Solace" used two theatres, down from three for the previous outing "Casino Royale", Leicester Square in London was packed to capacity once again on Wednesday 29th October 2008.

Crowds started lining up before noon just as the railings and scaffolding for the temporary stage was popping up. Within minutes the queues were hundreds deep, all prepared to wait up to six hours before being granted access to the audience pens within the red carpet layout. Those who came late were left to peer over the 6 foot railings and soak up the atmosphere from a distance.

Construction crews completed laying the final pieces of the red carpet just minutes before the first guests cleared security. A central ring of red carpet allowed the fans to grab autographs and pick out their favourite celebrities from the precession.

The Odeon hosted the Royal half of the premiere, with the adjacent Empire cinema used as overflow - but both were linked with a simulcast live video presentation during the build-up.

Above: Gemma Arterton arrives at the world premiere in a stunning purple dress.

Cameras caught the special guests arriving and frequently cut to interviews on the red carpet. Craig graciously thanked the fans for the best crowd at a premiere, and made a couple of jokes with the red carpet interviewer. Asked to name his favourite Bond Girl, Craig motioned over his one good shoulder: "The one on my arm, of course," he said, referring to longtime girlfriend Satsuki Mitchell.

Ukranian actress Olga Kurylenko, in a red Valentino gown, said she is proud to play the only Bond girl who does not end up in bed with Bond. "Bond and the Bond girls are becoming deeper, and they have more interesting stories. I prefer to watch that. Other women do, too. Women don't want to be portrayed as (sex objects). Women have evolved," she said.

Actress Gemma Arterton's character in Quantum, Agent Fields, wasn't so modest, jumping into bed with Bond after receiving what may be the strangest pickup line in Bond history. "It worked! Guys all over the world will be using it from now on," Arterton said. "He is a fantastic kisser. I kept messing up deliberately," she joked.

Jeffrey Wright, who plays CIA agent Felix Leiter, arrived at the premiere with a Barack Obama lapel pin. "I will be back to the States in time to vote," he said.

Quantum director Marc Foster said he was asked to direct the next Bond film. "I was very honoured to be asked, but I passed on it (because) I'm working on another project."

Dame Judi Dench said playing Bond boss M is a nice change of pace from the heavy drama she usually tackles. M "is strong and bossy. I like getting a bit of action. I don't like just being in an office all the time," Dench said.

Also at the special event were Samantha Bond, Elle Macpherson, Katherine Jenkins, Robbie Coltrane, Rick Yune, Karen Elson, Meredith Ostrom, Paul Simonon and Peter Gabriel. In addition, other notable people also spotted strolling down the red carpet included Boris Johnson, Chris Hoy, Alexander Hanson, Jenni Falconer, Michael Grade, Mohammed Al Fayed and Tamara Beckwith.

Although there were strict instructions to have everyone seated by 7pm, guests had to wait 90 minutes before the premiere actually began. A little after the official start time, the Royal guests Prince William and Prince Harry arrived in a motorcade and strolled down the red carpet flanked by security detail. 200 heroes from a wide range of British military units formed a long welcoming line for the Royal party. Both Princes spent significant time speaking personally to each of the specially selected heroes, sharing stories and posing for photographs. The proceeds from the premiere were shared between the Prince's two charities, the Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes.

An hour later, the Princes were introduced by producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli to studio executives, crew and principal cast members. Taking time for conversation with each person in the line, it was another 30 minutes before they reached the cast: Anatole Taubman, Jeffrey Wright, Giancarlo Giannini, Gemma Arterton, Mathieu Amalric, Judi Dench, Olga Kurylenko and Daniel Craig.

After the meet and greet was over, Wilson and Broccoli came on stage at The Odeon to announce that the event had raised a stunning amount for charity - £505,138 at that moment. Sales of £10 charity premiere brochures would boost that number. The producers then welcomed on stage director Marc Forster and the principal cast members. Both Forster and Craig spoke briefly.

By the time the curtain came up on the film it was 8:30pm and the London Film Festival screening that was originally intended to follow the Royal premiere, also in Leicester Square, ultimately overlapped.

After the screening, the bash was brought to Battersea Power Station for a no-expense spared one million pound after party that ran in to the early hours of the morning.