BBC Radio 4 is celebrating the Ian Fleming centenary with a season of programs, including a radio play adaptation of Dr No, with 007 voiced by Toby Stephens...

Radio 4 Bond Season
3rd May 2008

Ian Fleming, renowned author and creator of iconic spy James Bond, was born 100 years ago and to mark this special anniversary, BBC Radio 4 presents a short season of programmes.

They include an all-star dramatisation of Dr No; a documentary following Fleming's niece on a personal journey to find out more about her uncle; and an exploration of what the creation of James Bond tells us about post-Empire Britain.

On Saturday 24 May, Toby Stephens and David Suchet star in the first ever full radio adaptation of Dr No, Ian Fleming's 1958 James Bond novel.
Dr No Radio Play - Preview

Recovering from the after-effects of his last assignment, Bond is given what appears to be an easy job on his next case.

Sent to Jamaica to investigate the mysterious disappearance of two of his colleagues, Bond discovers that the heart of the mystery lies with a sinister recluse on Crab Key, Dr No.

Before long Bond comes face to face with this bizarre creature and soon he is fighting for his life in a murderous game. The cast also include Samuel West, John Standing, Martin Jarvis and Peter Capaldi.

Above: Toby Stephens, who played Gustav Graves in the 2002 film "Die Another Day"

In The Bond Correspondence, also on Saturday 24 May, Ian Fleming's niece, Lucy Fleming, sets out to discover more about both her uncle and the creation of his most famous character, James Bond. Her uncle has, until now, been someone Lucy vaguely remembers from her teens. But, after she delves into dusty old boxes of letters to see the wealth of correspondence from readers and his responses, she discovers a lesser known side of Ian. She goes inside the old Naval Intelligence Unit where her uncle worked in the Second World War, visits his wartime girlfriend Joan Bright Astley, and stepdaughter Fionn Morgan, and, in doing so, brings to life ghosts from the past.

On Monday 26 May, Professor David Cannadine argues that the Bond novels are a fantastic response to the moment when Britain lost an Empire but was still struggling to find a role in the new world. In James Bond, The Last Englishman, Professor Cannadine claims that Fleming's Bond novels have played a key role in shaping England's national self-image. For Cannadine, Bond is the consolatory fantasy of Fleming, the nostalgic conservative appalled by Britain's collapse as a great power.

There will also be another chance to hear Amis, Amis and Bond on Sunday 18 May in which Martin Amis explores his father's obsessive interest with James Bond and the writing of Ian Fleming with fellow Bond enthusiast Charlie Higson.

Schedule - BBC Radio 4
Amis, Amis and Bond is on Sunday 18 May at 1.30pm
The Bond Correspondence is on Saturday 24 May at 10.30am
Dr No is on Saturday 24 May at 2.30pm
James Bond, The Last Englishman is on Monday 26 May at 8.00pm

Related Articles
Dr No Radio Play - Preview
Ian Fleming Centenary Events