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20th January 2023

Which episodes were the most listened to in 2022?

MI6 logo By MI6 Staff
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2022 was a busy year for the James Bond & Friends podcast as we took on the endeavor of debriefing each of the 25 official films on a weekly basis to coincide with their re-release in UK cinemas. There was also the small matter of the 60th anniversary on top of the usual deep debates on specific elements of Bond fandom, totaling 35 hours.

Now that the dust has settled on 2022, here are the five most-listened-to episodes of the year. A big thank you to all of the podcast listeners as we crested the 500,000 unique listens milestone.

#5 - Debrief: No Time To Die (0145)

It was the finale of the 25-episode series of weekly deep-dives into each film as they went back up on the big screen in UK cinemas. The format was simple: a rotating panel of Bond commentators was tasked with identifying the iconic elements we would use to describe the film as "the one with", shake the Bond cocktail and pick this film's most potent ingredients, toot the horn for underappreciated elements, round up our favourite trivia tidbits, and give our final top/middle/bottom rankings. 'No Time To Die' attracted the most listeners as the mini-series came to a crescendo in October. Runners up in the 'debrief' run were 'Licence To Kill', 'Dr. No', and 'GoldenEye'.

#4 - A Bloody Big Ship (0117)

Dubbed the "we're getting old" episode by one listener, this episode asked if parts of the Bond film series were becoming inaccessible to newer fans? Released in February as we were gearing up for the 60th anniversary, we reflected on the longevity of the series and asked if enough time has passed now that newer fans may no longer connect to the older films, especially as the cultural context of those productions is outside of living memory for average audiences. 2022 marked the 50th anniversary of Roger Moore taking over the role of 007, but the end of his tenure marks the mid-point of the film series! We tried to get our minds around the fact that in 2028, GoldenEye will mark the half-way point in the franchise. As we head towards the day when there won't be anyone left from the early films, we also pondered how history will be written.

#3 - February Round Up (0116)

There was quite a lot of news from the 007 universe in February. We started by exploring the power shifts in the UK studio space and how the next Bond film finding a new home may be a good thing, and debated a couple of kooky ideas for what may come next. We also caught up on the upcoming books, debated the pros and cons of the latest merchandise, and anticipated a return of GoldenEye. 

#2 - Unmade Bond 24 (0147)

The creative path on the 24th James Bond film had more twists and turns than perhaps any of the 007 productions before it, and due to a massive Sony Pictures leak, some of those debates, decisions, and debacles were exposed. In this episode that kicked off the 'Unmade' series, we ran through the early 2014 state of the film before the serious work was done on getting the script tightened up for filming (months behind schedule) and analyzed the later drafts scene by scene picking out the changes that were made from the version we all saw on screen. A female villain, a stolen Heineken truck, the return of Irma Bunt, buckets of eyeballs, Moneypenny's redemption arc, 'dopey' passport documents, Tanner's dark fate, terrible one-liners, Q earning his stripes, African diamond mines.... and lots, lots more!

#1 - Licence To Tweak (0115)

Now undergoing a bit of a renaissance as James Bond fans rediscover Timothy Dalton's harder-edged 007, what could have been done differently back in 1989 to give Licence To Kill a better shot a box-office success? What changes or different decisions could have been instrumental in improving the film's success back in 1989? What if... The budget hadn't been a limitation? The aesthetic was popular with US audiences? First choices for cast had accepted? Della didn't die? MGM hadn't screwed up the marketing campaign? The panel pondered these questions and more, and became the most downloaded episode of the year, proving that Dalton's sophomore outing is more popular than ever.

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