Q (Desmond Llewelyn)
Q played by Desmond Llewelyn
Born in Newport, South Wales, UK on 12th September 1914
Died 19th December 1999
Starred In From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967), On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), Diamonds Are Forever (1971), The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Moonraker (1979), For Your Eyes Only (1981), Octopussy (1983), A View To A Kill (1985), The Living Daylights (1987), Licence To Kill (1989), Goldeneye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) and The World Is Not Enough (1999).
It is not until Goldfinger that the famous scenes between Q and Bond are established however. After Bond watches the curious experiments being conducted in Q's workshop in Goldfinger, Q introduces Bond to his new car, the famous Aston Martin DB5. Whilst Q is explaining the gadgetry of the car, Bond is clearly becoming bored, until Q explains the car is fitted with an ejector seat. Bond perks up and quips "Ejector seat? You're joking!" leading to Q famously replying, "I never joke about my work 007."
Thunderball sees Q for the first time 'in the field' in Nassau. Bond comments on his regret when he spots Q, with Q also telling Bond that he would rather be back in London, finding equipping him in the field highly irregular. Similarly, for the second time in two films, Q travels to Japan on Bond's request to deliver Little Nellie in You Only Live Twice. Bond revels in antagonising Q, knowing that he dislikes field assignments, which only proves to deepen Q's bad mood.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service sees little appearances from Q, who is restricted to a couple of small scenes. In the pre-title, Q tries to demonstrate an uninteresting looking object. Later at the end of the film, there is a nice moment where Q congratulates Bond on his marriage. He tells Bond that he knows they haven't exactly seen eye-to-eye over the years, but assures him that he will be there if he ever needs him.
Unusually Diamonds Are Forever sees Q enjoying his field assignment in Las Vegas where he tells Tiffany Case that he has been aching to try out his new electromagnetic RPM controller. He also provides a number of gadgets that allow Bond to take on Peter Franks' identity, imitate Bert Saxby's voice to fool Ernst Stavro Blofeld, and rescue Willard Whyte. Conversely Q is given little to do in The Man With The Golden Gun, merely meeting Bonds unique request for a 'third nipple.'
The Spy Who Loved Me happily features Q appear in a number of scenes. Bond, M, Major Anya Amasova and General Gogol visit Q's workshop hidden inside an Egyptian pyramid where a number of unusual gadgets are demonstrated. Q then leads a briefing as to the contents of the submarine tracking system. Later in the film Q drives Bond's Lotus Esprit to Sardinia where he tries to explain the cars gadgetry but 007 impatiently drives off.
Moonraker sees Q inside a monastery, where he demonstrates the latest gadgets, and informs Bond about the liquid taken earlier from one of Hugo Drax's globes in Venice. Q is also present with the minister of defence and M at the end of the film, where he comically unwittingly replies to Sir Frederick Gray's question as to what's Bond doing with "I think he's attempting re-entry sir."
In For Your Eyes Only Q provides Bond with the latest gadgets in his workshop, and helps him identify the man who paid off Hector Gonzales by means of the 3D Identigraph. Amusingly Q reappears much later in the guise of a priest to inform Bond of some information.
In Octopussy Q's workshop provides refuge from Gobinda after a car chase, where Q demonstrates the latest gadgets and makes sure Bond has all the right equipment. Q later appears in the film when he assists Vijay in watching Octopussy's Floating Palace, although is sadly not around to prevent Vijay's untimely demise. Later in a highly amusing scene, Q pilots a large union jack covered hot air balloon over Kamal Khan's Monsoon Palace allowing Bond to attempt to rescue Octopussy. After Q unwittingly lands the basket, knocking out one the guards, a bevy of beautiful women surround him giving him plenty of loving attention, where Q tells his admirers "Not now! Maybe later!"
In A View To A Kill, Q leads a briefing about a microchip and Max Zorin's connections, and then travels to Royal Ascot with M, Moneypenny and Bond to investigate Zorin. Appearing at the end of the film Q finds Bond (after being presumed dead) in the shower with Stacey Sutton. After M enquires as to what Bond is doing, Q disapprovingly remarks, "Just cleaning up a few details."
The Living Daylights features Q assisting Bond in his mission to help General Georgi Koskov defect, and as usual provides the latest gadgets to Bond at his workshop. Licence To Kill however sees Q's biggest role when he takes a leave of absence to unofficially assist Bond in the field. Initially refusing his help, Bond is grateful of Q's gadgets to help get revenge on Franz Sanchez. Q takes on a number of guises, and along with Pam Bouvier helps Bond get access to infiltrate Sanchez's inner circle. In an amusing sequence near the end of the film, Q uses the broom transmitter, then ironically throws the gadget into the bushes - the practice Q had frequently complained to Bond about since Goldfinger.
In Goldeneye the gadget maestro is light-hearted and comical, enjoying demonstrating the latest gadgets to Bond and even joining in with a few of Bonds quips. Tomorrow Never Dies features Q back his usual disapproving self however, when he runs through a list of insurance options posing as an Avis car hire salesman. After Bond shows off with the BMW remote control, Q doesn't hesitate to tell him "Grow up 007!"
Sadly, The World Is Not Enough features the last appearance of Desmond Llewelyn as Q, who had played the gadget expert for nearly forty years. Q exclaims when Bond steals the Q-Boat telling Bond it was for his retirement when they meet later at the MI6 Scottish HQ. After introducing his new assistant, Q issues Bond with some final tips before he disappears by descending into the floor.
The beloved Q, or more formally Major Boothroyd, has been the lifesaver of Bond's life many times by using his ingenious inventions. Disapproving of Bonds caviller attitude towards life and his womanising ways, Q frequently finds his gadgets at the brunt of the Bonds ways. Often having to deal with his impatience and lack of respect, Q is often at the source of Bonds quips and antagonistic ways, and frequently has to remind him to return his gadgets.
Q has undergone a number of changes throughout the films. In the early films the relationship between Q and Bond was quite tense. Q would frequently get annoyed at Bond for not listening ("Pay attention 007!"), abusing his gadgets and simply never returning them in one piece. However as the films progressed so the relationship grew stronger. In Q's final appearance Bond issues his genuine concern when Q mentions his retirement, and Q equally shares the sentiment.
Tragically Desmond Llewelyn died in a car accident after returning home from a book signing in East Sussex shortly after the release of The World Is Not Enough. While John Cleese takes on the role of Q, there will never be anyone else to replace the celebrated Q, Desmond Llewelyn. §