James Bond takes over the British High Commission

A big Bond fan... British High Commissioner to Australia in Canberra, Paul Madden.
A big Bond fan... British High Commissioner to Australia in Canberra, Paul Madden.
Daniel Craig, in Skyfall.

Daniel Craig, in Skyfall.

“Madden, Paul Madden,” is just one of the ways the British High Commissioner works a bit of Bond into his everyday life.

On the eve of the Australian premiere of Skyfall even Her Majesty’s main man in Australia, His Excellency Paul Madden is not immune to 007 fever.

Beyond the security check points and gardens of the British High Commission which are peppered with English Oak Trees, a gift from Winston Churchill, there is a household brimming with Bond aficionados.

“The British Commission has lots of Bond like qualities. We are dynamic, we are engaged with world, we are high-tech, we are working with our allies like Australia to make the world a better place and of course all the staff are both suave and beautiful,” Mr Madden told Fairfax Media.

The cinematic release of the 23rd blockbuster focusing on the world’s most popular MI6 agent is a palate cleansing end to the to the cultural feast the Brits have served the world recently.

Entrée came courtesy of Prince William’s marriage to Catherine Middleton and Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee extravaganza while the games, opening and closing ceremonies of the London Olympics were hearty satisfying mains with a side of belly laughs.

“I thought Her Majesty’s cameo role was the best moment in the ceremony. British humour at its best,” Mr Madden said, referring to the Queen’s scene with incumbent James Bond star Daniel Craig in Danny Boyle’s production for the opening ceremony of the Games.

“When I had an audience with her at Windsor Castle last month, I was half hoping she’d say ‘Good evening Mr Bond’.”

Mr Madden said like the next generation of royals and the Harry Potter movie franchise, the Bond brand is an enduring bastion of British culture and the man currently filling out the tailored, hand man Tom Ford suits and drinking shaken martinis is on track to be the best Bond yet.

“Daniel Craig is turning out to be the best Bond ever. He has now become my favourite Bond, as he’s the personification of cool and I think Skyfall is certainly his best yet.”

While the Commissioner gets around Canberra in a 2011 XJ premium diesel Jaguar sedan he said an Aston Martin DB5 as seen in Goldfinger would be his dream car. He also admitted to being fascinated by Q and “his dazzling British inventions” but has always found Rosa Klebb’s signature weapon – her low tech dagger shoes – to be “most scary”.

As for the inevitable James Bond question, does the British High Commissioner imbibe like Bond?

“I had a Vesper Martini before the Australian premiere in Sydney last week. Heavenly. Shaken of course – stirring is what you do to cocoa.”

A James Bond “Did you know?” courtesy of the British High Commission:

  1. Lois Maxwell, the original Miss Moneypenny, was Canadian?
  2. Bob Holness, who went on to present the British children's quiz show Countdown, was the first actor to ever play James Bond? He played Bond in a dramatisation on South African radio which pre-dated the filming of Dr No.
  3. The author of the James Bond sage, Ian  Fleming, began writing his first Bond book (Goldeneye) in his house on Jamaica. He was stuck for a name for the central character and went to look at his bookshelves for inspiration. There he found a copy of the ornithological handbook Birds of the Eastern Caribbean, which was written by James Bond.
  4. Vijay Amritrage was a Wimbledon semi-finalist who had a featured role in Octopussy?
  5. George Lazenby, who played Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service was born in Goulburn?
  6. Maud Adams, is the only Bond girl to appear in two different parts in two different films. She played Andrea Anders (Scaramanga's girlfriend) in The Man With The Golden Gun, and the title character in Octopussy.
  7. Lulu sang the theme tune to The Man With The Golden Gun.
  8. Bond got married in the film On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
  9. Honeychile Ryder was the name of the character played by Ursula Andress in Dr No.
  10. Five actors have played the villain Blofeld. Anthony Dawson was his body, Eric Pohlman was his voice, Donald Pleasence, Telly Savalas, Charles Gray.

Skyfall opens in cinemas on Thursday, November 22.

This story James Bond takes over the British High Commission first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.