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Thursday, 1 August, 2002, 23:40 GMT 00:40 UK
Inside Q's workshop
Jaws and a young fan
Fans will be able to come face to face with Jaws

When James Bond takes a call on his in-car phone he looks like any suave man about town.

The difference is, the year was 1964, and mobile phones were just a twinkle in moviemakers' eyes.

The technology dreamed up by the enterprising Q is the subject of a major exhibition being mounted at the Science Museum in London.

Pierce Brosnan
Pierce Brosnan is Bond again in Die Another Day

The weird and wonderful inventions he came up with may have seemed far-fetched at the time but, as with the car phone, often the filmmakers proved to be ahead of their time.

Museum curators are taking a 21st century look at the fantastic storylines and assessing how plausible they are.

In On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), arch villain Blofeld plans to sterilise the world's population by putting a virus into the food chain.

Plot credibility

He had a gaggle of gorgeous girls who he hypnotised to release the virus into the atmosphere using aerosols hidden in their compacts.

In a very scholarly way, Science Museum curators have examined the credibility of his evil plot.

"It was essentially a good idea," said Michael Harvey, curator of the National Museum of Film and TV in Bradford.

"However, it wouldn't have worked because the virus could only exist by going into living cells, it would only affect the localised area and it would take time to work its way through the population."

Bond's DB5
The classic DB5 will be on display

Well, how about Alec Trevelyan's dastardly plan in Goldeneye (1995)?

Could his electronic magnetic pulse destroy the files of the Bank of England?

It is true, say the scientists, that thunderstorms have been known to wipe out computer memories.

However, there is no way of generating that size of electronic magnetic pulse - yet.

Secret service

The museum is assembling props, costumes and storyboards from all 19 of the Bond films, including the not-yet-released Die Another Day.

And for the first time, fans can step into James's handmade shoes as an MI6 agent.

Visitors will be issued with secret service ID cards which will give them access to information terminals around the show.

They can even see themselves recreating the stunt on the Golden Gate Bridge from View to a Kill (1985), all thanks to the magic of cinematography.

Q's workshop
The original gadgets inside Q's workshop

There are some secret MI6 files to decipher and at the end of the exhibition, visitors will be rated on how good an agent they would make.

All the fantastic gadgets which are so quintessentially Bond will be there including his Aston Martin DB5, his Omega laser watch and the jetpack.

And the equally ingenious weapons of his enemies - Oddjob's bowler hat from Goldfinger (1964), Rosa Klebb's flick-knife shoe and Jaws' metal teeth.

The exhibition is being staged using the expertise of the staff at the film museum.

Space rockets

Michael Harvey, who read all the original Ian Fleming Bond books while researching the exhibition, says one of the most interesting aspects for them was how the technology, however far-fetched, often had great relevance to the world in which the film was made.

"In each film there's a reference to what's happening at the time.

"For example, in Dr No, the plot was converted to include an attempt to destroy space rockets.

"It was made just after the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.

"In the novel of Moonraker, a space shuttle is introduced partly because it had just been built and partly in response to the huge success of Star Wars."

The exhibition marks the 40th anniversary of Bond films and with Die Another Day out in November, it is bound to spark an enormous amount of interest.

  • Bond, James Bond opens 16 October at the Science Museum in London.

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