The next twelve months are very significant for all things James Bond. It's been 50 years since 007 first appeared onscreen in DR NO and all the stops are being pulled out to make 2012 a huge celebration of the world's favourite spy. There are plans to reunite all six EON Bond actors - Connery, Lazenby, Moore, Dalton, Brosnan and Craig - on the same stage for the first time ever. Of course, there's the latest instalment of 007 - SKYFALL - which opens in October and with the talent assembled in front and behind the camera, it's looking very good.
Kicking off the year is the BOND IN MOTION exhibition at Beaulieu motor museum in Hampshire. This is the most extensive collection of Bond vehicles and props ever put together and spans all 22 films. As a 007 fan, I was keen to see as early as possible and so went to the museum recently to see if it lives up to the hype.
Fortunately, it does. Even for the most casual Bond fan, there's a lot of good stuff here. There is, of course, the iconic Aston Martin DB5 from GOLDFINGER, together with the Rolls-Royce Phantom from that film. There's the Lotus Esprit S1 from THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, albeit in its submarine variant. "Little Nellie", the rocket-firing gyrocopter from YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE is present, as well as the AMC Hornet car which did the memorable bridge-flip from THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN. Plus the high-flying Glastron GT-150 speedboat from LIVE AND LET DIE and the "Q Boat" which memorably raced down the Thames in THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH.
Disappointingly, the Moon Buggy from DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER doesn't make an appearance, nor Scaramanga's flying car from ...GOLDEN GUN. No matter. There's enough here for even the most discerning Bond fan. It's worth noting that some of the vehicles from the upcoming SKYFALL are promised to make an appearance later in the year.
The exhibition is open now and runs until December; you can full details of opening times and how to find the Museum here. There are photos of the exhibited vehicles on my Flickr site here; I also shot some video, which you can find below.