Ken Baxter's Battle for Bond
Much has been written about the complex and intricate legal battles for
the rights to bring James Bond to the silver screen but one man who
probably won't feature in these discussions is Ken Baxter, a retired
window cleaner from Huddersfield. However, in a world exclusive, Baxter
recently broke a long silence to explain how he believes he now has the
legal right to produce a renegade James Bond film of his own - and
fully intends to do so. For the latest in his ongoing series of unfunny
comedy articles, Luke Quantrill made the trip to Huddersfield to
interview Mr Baxter in his modest bungalow and uncover the true facts
behind this incredible tale.
Below is the transcript of their extraordinary conversation.
LQ: First of all Mr Baxter, thank you for taking the time to speak to me.
KB: A pleasure. There was nothing on television anyway.
LQ: You claim to have the legal rights to make a James Bond film. Could you explain how you believe this came about?
KB: I had a close association with Mr Broccoli. To cut a long story
short, we were playing subbuteo one afternoon in the early seventies
and he mentioned to me that they'd decided the next James Bond film
would be Live and Let Die. "What's that all about?" I said. "Voodoo,"
said Mr Broccoli. "Voodoo?" I replied. "Voodoo?" I said it twice. "You
should set that in the West Indies Mr Broccoli." He nodded and then,
thinking no more of it, I sloped off to make a cup of tea.
LQ: What happened then?
KB: Well, I put the kettle on and found my mug -
LQ: I meant regarding the Bond rights.
KB: I thought nothing of it but last year, around Christmas, I was
flipping through the channels and I noticed Live and Let Die was on. I
watched it for a few minutes, still sleepy from the double Cinzano I'd
had at brunch and -
LQ: Sorry to interrupt but what is brunch?
KB: Brunch or bruncheon is a combination of breakfast and lunch. The
term is a portmanteau of breakfast and lunch. Brunch is often served
after a morning event or prior to an afternoon one, such as a wedding
or sporting event. A common misconception is that after midday, the
LQ: Right. Just out of interest what did you have for brunch?
KB: A Tracker bar and a can of Vimto.
LQ: So, you're watching Live and Let Die.
KB: Yes, I was watching Live and Let Die and I was flabbergasted to see
sections of the film set in the West Indies. That was my idea! I knew
immediately what it meant.
LQ: Which was?
KB: It meant I had the legal authority to produce a James Bond film based on Live and Let Die.
LQ: Do you think this is possibly a somewhat unrealistic assesment of the situation?
KB: I did take the precaution of taking legal advice.
LQ: From your solicitor?
KB: No, from my next door neighbour Lionel.
LQ: Is he a solicitor?
KB: No, he's a milkman. But he does have a GCSE in Law.
LQ: What grade?
KB: I've got no idea but it can't be a bad one because he paid £20 for it.
LQ: What steps did you take to assert your Bond rights?
KB: I very swiftly arranged a meeting with the head of Nutmeg films to discuss the situation.
LQ: Who are Nutmeg films?
KB: A local company. They started with wedding videos but they have big plans to expand.
LQ: Who runs the company?
KB: My next door neighbour Lionel.
LQ: So how far have you got in your plans to make a new version of Live and Let Die?
KB: We've had several meetings and I'm writing a script with Lionel. We make a good team and his shed is very comfortable.
LQ: Can you divulge any details about the story?
KB: Well, we're only on page 4 so there isn't much to dilvulge yet. The
opening scene is a corker. A cross channel ferry is vaporised by
Blofeld's death ray and Bond, who was onboard and en route to Dunkirk
for an afternoon's shopping, escapes by firing himself into the sea
with an enormous catapult constructed in the ship's laundrette from
LQ: Do cross channel ferries have laundrettes?
KB: I haven't a clue. I'm a landlubber myself.
LQ: I don't think Blofeld was in the original film.
KB: Well, he's in our one.
LQ: How do you propose to fund the venture?
KB: I can't reveal the details too much because it's all very delicate.
We've been very lucky because a local businessman is very interested in
the project and suffers from philanthropy.
LQ: I'm sorry to hear that. That's incurable isn't it?
LQ: What does this businessman do? What line of work is he in?
KB: He produces luminous neckscarves for cats...and kittens.
LQ: Is there much demand for that?
KB: Well, maybe not so much the kittens. They're smaller you see so it's a bit fiddly making neckscarves that tiny.
LQ: Now to the big question, who is going to play James Bond in the film?
KB: Well, that hasn't been decided yet. It's a huge decision and Bond
fans everywhere will hang us from lamposts like underpants on washing
lines if we get this wrong. Lionel is a big Ron Silver fan and is
pitching for him. He even devised a computer programme to show what Ron
would look like without a beard. It's amazing what they can do these
days with technology. My wife Pat is a big Bergerac and Midsummer
Murders fan and, between you and me, I might be lynched if John Nettles
doesn't get the part!
LQ: Who do you favour?
KB: There are many contenders. I think of Bond as the classic British
gentleman so Simon McCorkindale is high up on our list. My wife Pat and
I used to watch that show where he could turn into any animal. It's
funny, and we wrote to Barry Took at Points Of View about it, but you
never saw him turn into a squirrel. Gareth Hunt I've always liked. That
Australian fella is in with a good shout too.
LQ: Hugh Jackman?
KB: No, Stefan Dennis. My wife Pat and I always enjoyed him as Paul Robinson in Neighbours and he's also a very talented singer.
LQ: What about Pierce Brosnan? Have you approached him?
KB: No. Lionel went to visit him when he was in London recently. There
was a bit of a mix-up in the hotel and Lionel wasn't able to introduce
himself and explain who he was before Pierce's security staff
intervened. It's unlikely that the restraining order will end before
production starts so it will be very difficult for us to get Brosnan
now. I might end up playing the role myself!
LQ: Any thoughts on Q or Moneypenny?
KB: Nothing is settled yet but Sir Patrick Moore is our preferred choice for M.
LQ: How do you feel about the recent rumours of a renegade "Blofeld"
film, featuring James Bond, based on Kevin McClory's rights?
KB: It sounds like cobblers to me I must say but stranger things have
probably happened. We could end up with three Bond films in one year! I
suspect our film will blow the others out of the water though.
LQ: What do think about the recent Bond films and the reboot?
KB: I'll be honest. I haven't seen them. I did tape Casino Royale off
SKY a few years ago but my wife Pat recorded Ready Steady Cook over
most of it without telling me. I must have watched a good half an hour
before I realised it was Antony Worrall Thompson and not Daniel
LQ: Any thoughts as to when your film will begin shooting.
KB: Nothing is concrete yet but James Bond will be back very soon!
LQ: Mr Baxter, thank you very much for your time.
KB: A pleasure.
Next Month: "I was Daniel Craig's stunt double" by Ken Baxter.