MI6 periodically answers mail sent to the website. The first mailbag covers a cornucopia of James bond topics, from Hong Kong to Barham, Kent...

MI6 Mailbag #1
30th December 2006

MI6 periodically answers mail on the main website. Have you got a point of view that others have missed? Have you got a question that has gone unanswered?

Selected letters to the MI6 Editors will be published with an official response, and an opportunity for other fans from around the world to comment. Click here to send you letter to MI6.

In the first MI6 mailbag, readers from around the world write about the sexiest girl, visiting Hong Kong locations, Young Bond on the big screen, uncut DVDs, the MI6 building, and the surprising literary roots of 007 in an English village...

Above: Ian Fleming at the typewriter in his Goldeneye hideaway in Jamaica.

Above: Halle Berry (Jinx in 2002's "Die Another Day") did not fair well in the MI6 Bond Girls Survey in 2006.

Sexiest Bond Girl Debate
Paul Starkey - United Kingdom
I felt I had to write in after seeing your article posted where you claim to settle the age old question of who is the sexiest Bond girl. I fail to see how you can do this when the data you're using is so invalid it discounts any Bond girl pre-Dalton! Would it not be wiser to have a poll on the site where all the Bond girls could be compared, and by Bond fans rather than the average FHM reader? Given the choice between harsh faced Halle Berry and the delectable Diana Rigg I know who I think was the sexier Bond girl!

MI6: The FHM data is restricted to the first year it ran the Sexiest 100 Women In The World survey - 1995, but Maryam D'Abo from "The Living Daylights" (1987) did sneak in to the debut poll. But it is useful in the size of the sample it covers, and that the voters are not necessarily Bond fans. However, a big survey of Bond fans from around the world took place in September 2006, and as luck would have it, the results agreed with your feelings on Bond's conquests over the years. Click here for the full run down on results.

Bonding In Hong Kong
Roo Johnston - Phuket, Thailand
Chaps, I can find no reference to the actual hotel - if it was indeed one - used as the "Rubyeon Royale" (yes, I get the in-joke) in "Die Another Day" (2002). I breezed through there recently, and stayed in a few of the better places but didn't quite recognise any of them from the film. Any gen appreciated.

MI6: Sadly, the production of "Die Another Day" never set foot in Hong Kong. The hotel, which was fictional, was created in Pinewood Studios and the shot of Bond climbing up the dock was digital trickery.

Above: Pierce Brosnan as James Bond and Rachel Grant as the delightful Peaceful Fountains of Desire in a Hong Kong hotel room (actually, Pinewood Studios).

One film you could have checked out though, was 1974's "The Man With The Golden Gun", which was shot on location. Hai Fat's estate is actually the Dragon Garden in Castle Peak, and the Peninsular Hotel on Salisbury Road still has its green Rolls Royce limousines. Unfortunately the "Bottoms Up Club" was fictional, but you can visit the dazzling Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district in which it was set. The wreck of the Queen Elizabeth (M's office) was scrapped on the spot a year after the film opened, and portions of the hull that were not salvaged were left at the bottom of the bay and were later incorporated into landfill for the airport.

Big Screen Young Bond
Jack Lightfoot-Loftus - York, England
Is there going to be a film about the Young Bond books that Charlie Higson is writing? It would be really good if a kid plays Bond.

MI6: Charlie Higson was asked whether they were thinking about starting a movie franchise based on the Young Bond books last year. This question is best answered by his own words: "There's a lot of interest from film companies and from Hollywood but we're going to hold off for the time being. I'm pretty sure there will be a film one day. But I want to get the books written - I don't want people to come to the character through film". The third Young Bond novel is just around the corner...

Licence To Cut
Imran Sheikh - United Kingdom
Will the deleted rooftop chase from OHMSS be on the new DVD? Also will Licence To Kill be uncut this time around?

MI6: The bad news is that, no, the rooftop chase sequence that was shot but later cut from 1969's "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" does not appear on the Ultimate Edition DVD. The scene in question occurs after Bond visits the real Hillary Bray at the College of Arms. Bond discovers an enemy agent spying on him and gives chase across the rooftops, following the villain to a train station where he kills him. Sadly, all that seems to remain from that scene are a few photographs.

The good news is that "Licence To Kill" (1989) was released uncut in its Ultimate Edition DVD incarnation, as was 1995's "GoldenEye" for the first time in the UK.


The Real MI6
Dave Ciampa - Walled Lake, MI, USA
Where in England is this MI6 building used on your site. Is it a computer generated building? I looked for it in UK last year and I didn't find it.

MI6: The building is real, and located in Vauxhall Cross in London on the banks of the Thames. Take the tube to Vauxhall and you can't miss it. The building is actually the headquarters for the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), which is the new name for MI6 - but Bond and the media keep the old moniker alive and in the public domain.


Star Letter - Barham's Bond Roots
Bob Parsons - Barham, UK
There is a rich history of the literary Bond in Barham, a small village to the south of Canterbury, as it was visited a lot by Ian Fleming - indeed he died at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital.

First there is Higham Place in the village of Bridge. The 13th century house called Higham Place north of was the home of Count Zborouski who was famous for his love of fast cars and fast women (there's a connection) and with Captain Howey built the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway. The fast cars were known as the "Chitty Bang Bang" racing cars and were powered by aero engines. They were banned from entering Canterbury due to the vibration caused by those engines and because of the flames that came out of the exhausts on occasions. These cars were the models for Ian Fleming's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - the children's story. It is said that the original is still buried in the gardens there.

Now we come to where Bond's ID came from - and this is completely true. The young Fleming used to visit Higham Place and he travelled down on the coach from London which was route 007 - a route number that lasted into recent history being operated by National Express. A couple of years ago the route was re-numbered 020 and it is strange that the company does not continue to use that original association for "Bond Tourism" into East Kent.

MI6: If anyone can reinforce these points - or indeed rebuke them - please write via this form.

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