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Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
Girls, guns and gadgets
James Bond Aston Martin Vanquish
Bond's new Aston Martin Vanquish is an exhibition highlight

Fresh from its run at the National Museum Of Photography Film And Television in Bradford, Bond, James Bond is a timely celebration of cinema's most famous secret agent.

It has been 40 years since Sean Connery made his first appearance on screen as 007 in Dr No, and - albeit with Pierce Brosnan in the hot seat - the series is still going strong.

So it is no surprise that the exhibition, now at the Science Museum, has some real treats on offer, from props and costumes used in the series through to storyboards and posters.

And of course who could resist the chance to have a crack at being a secret agent - at least for the duration of the exhibition?

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Step inside the world of Bond
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An interactive strand offers the chance to secure a secret agent rating, by answering a string of questions about Bond and even taking part in a physical challenge.

All of which might be worlds away from the deadly stunts and car chases of the Bond movies but still has a certain novelty value.

Fans of the series will inevitably be enthralled, but Bond's colourful history is documented here in a way which will also engage those less familiar with his adventures.

"There is certainly a James Bond formula," says exhibition organiser Michael Harvey.

Bond's Walther PPK
Bond's Walther PPK gun is on display
"Aside from the character himself, every film seems to be slightly modifed to make it relevant to contemporary audiences, and that helps the series to stay fresh."

The entrance to the exhibition - a replica of the gun barrel synonymous with Bond credit sequences - is a bit gimmicky but simply adds to the fun.


And once you are in there, use your specially issued "swipe card" to register as a secret agent - trainee or expert ("trainee" in this case) - at one of the many computers.

The next stage of the exhibition, visiting M's office for a briefing to "find out as much about James Bond as possible" is literally like stepping on to the set of one of the films.

With its antique furniture and faded carpeting, it is a perfect recreation.
Bond swipe card
Visitors are issued with 'secret agent' swipe cards

The exhibition's interactivity stretches to a replica of Q's laboratory, complete with gadgets and gizmos.

Visitors - many of whom looked too young to even remember Roger Moore as Bond, let alone Sean Connery - were particularly drawn to a "dog cam" - a dog's lead inside a hidden camera, attached to a realistic-looking labrador that follows your every move.

My final secret agent rating proved disappointing - a fair enough knowledge of Bond girls, stunts and gadgets but a poor showing on the physical front, having failed to prevent a nuclear meltdown in the simulation control room.

Ice Palace

So it is probably just as well that the exhibits were so good, with endless film clips, credits sequences and Bond themes being beamed out of TV screens all over the exhibition to add to the atmosphere.

Bond girls
Bond girls are featured heavily

But it is not just the older films that are getting a piece of the action.

The forthcoming - 22nd - Bond film Die Another Day, released in November, is represented by a model of one of the new sets, the Ice Palace.

And a trip to the props exhibition on the second floor of the museum reveals Bond's new Aston Martin Vanquish, to be seen in the new film, as well as another new vehicle, the Ice Dragster.

If the crowds trying to get a better view of the vehicles were anything to go by, it looks as though Bond is as popular as ever.

See also:

15 Oct 02 | Entertainment
10 Oct 02 | Talking Point
11 Jun 01 | Entertainment
15 Oct 02 | Entertainment
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