It’s now 60 years since Sean Connery first cocked an eyebrow and introduced himself to Sylvia Trench and the world at large as Bond – James Bond. Twenty-five films and $5 billion in box office takings later, he and his franchise are at an intriguingly poised point.
With casting for a brand new Bond still in its early stages, a top-to-bottom reboot on the cards and nothing much happening in the near future, it’s a good time to dig into the back catalogue of the man who makes functional alcoholism with a side-order of post-traumatic stress disorder look exotic and saucy.
The Bond pod-verse is one which skews pretty severely male – and particularly toward formats where two blokes talk to each other about one film for ages – but there are other, more interesting and provocative takes out there too.
Here are some of the best James Bond podcasts out there.
The James Bond A to Z Podcast
The sprawling, interconnected, frequently quite strange history of Bond from his roots in Ian Fleming’s novels to the films, games and comics is a bit of a mess. It needs organising. Journalists Tom Butler and Tom Wheatley and comedian Brendan Duffy start at the top of the alphabet and work their way through, from Aston Martin and Ken Adam to Cubby Broccoli, Blofeld and onward. Telling a definitive history of James Bond is a daunting task – its fandom is very sensitive to people getting Bond wrong (copyright A Partridge) – but the three hosts draw on a really deep well of knowledge to give the people responsible for Bond their dues. Listen now on your podcast player >>
What started as host John Rain and friends rewatching all the Bond films and ripping them to pieces together – though always from a place of great love and respect – has mushroomed into an all-purpose cinematic snark-athon taking in any films even tangentially related to Bond actors. That means you get classic Pierce Brosnan joints like Mamma Mia! and The Lawnmower Man, Connery’s The Hunt for Red October and The Rock, and the Timothy Dalton-Mae West comedy musical Sextette. Very daft, very sweary and very funny. Listen now on your podcast player >>
No Time To Die: The Official James Bond Podcast
Now mothballed of course, there are nevertheless a lot of useful tidbits about the making of Daniel Craig’s final Bond film here, and as is usually the case with in-house promo pods, the access is second to none. Everyone involved in the film pops up here, from Craig himself to director Cary Joji Fukunaga, Rami Malek and the rest of the gang, and it goes well beyond just gassing up the last film and instead picks apart what makes a Bond film a Bond film. That means deep dives on the music, the locations and the way that the fictional spy has been moulded by the real world. Listen now on your podcast player >>
The Great James Bond Car Robbery
Though he’s adept at getting hold of all sorts of stolen bits and pieces on behalf of HM Government, Bond has never been part of a heist crew. And fair enough: he usually leaves a trail of destruction behind him. But a real-life heist sprung in a Florida aircraft hangar in 1997 was easily as strange and inexplicable as that gondola hovercraft Roger Moore drove through Venice in Moonraker. An Aston Martin DB5 used in Goldfinger and Thunderball and estimated to be worth £18.5 million is missing, but specialist sleuths are on the case. Elizabeth Hurley narrates. Listen now on your podcast player >>
James Bond & Friends
From the people behind the fansite MI6 HQ, this is a holistic, 360-degree expert’s eye view on pretty much every iteration of Bond, from the films to novels and video games to cartoon spin-off series James Bond Jr. Yep, it’s another let’s-watch-the-movies-in-order kind of a pod, but you know why people keep doing that? Because it works. And this load of Bond fans really do know their stuff. Alongside MI6 HQ’s James Page is a coalition of Bond aficionados who’ve read every ‘for your eyes only’ secret dossier out there, while regular guests include Dr Lisa Funnell, an academic whose research focuses on Bond and gender. Listen now on your podcast player >>
Kill James Bond
If you’re less pie-eyed about Bond and his penchant for murder, following his horn and the more yikes-y quips of yesteryear, this one might be more your thing. Abi, Alice and Devon (who produces the very good comedy/economics/current affairs/whatever pod Trashfuture) have watched all the Bond films and go in on them with both feet. Their assessment of Bond’s flat as seen in Spectre (“He has one crate of Gamer Fuel he’s using as a chair”) is worth the admission alone, and they’ve expanded out into anything even vaguely spy-adjacent since. The good news is you don’t need to have seen Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London to enjoy their work. Listen now on your podcast player >>
Desert Island Discs
It’s a mark of how venerable Desert Island Discs is that it was already two decades old by the time Ian Fleming washed up to pick his tunes with Roy Plomley in 1963. (As well as Rosemary Clooney and Edith Piaf, he picked the appropriately noirish Harry Lime Theme from The Third Man.) Roger Moore dropped in in 1981, while latterday M Dame Judi Dench reflected on her time sending Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig to almost certain death in 2015, and iconic set designer Ken Adam has been set adrift. Bond composer John Barry has done it too, as have a raft of Bond theme song acts: Macca, Lulu, Sir Tom Jones, Adele and Dame Shirley Bassey all feature.