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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006, 16:25 GMT 17:25 UK
Author resists Young Bond movie
By Steve Duffy
BBC Wales News website

Charlie Higson signing books at Hay
Higson is not ready to commit Young Bond to film
Fast Show star turned children's author Charlie Higson is resisting offers to bring the young James Bond to the screen.

After two successful books, a third finished and work starting on a fourth in the Young Bond series, Higson said: "There's a lot of interest from film companies and from Hollywood but we're going to hold off for the time being."

Higson told a Hay Festival audience, largely of children: "I'm pretty sure there will be a film one day.

"But I want to get the books written - I don't want people to come to the character through film."

While the grown-up James Bond knew ways to "make love to a beautiful woman" that would make Higson's car salesman comedy character Swiss Toni blush, the author was keen to get back to the essence of Fleming's literary spy hero to create his schoolboy version.

He said: "Part of what the Fleming estate was keen on was reminding people that Bond was a literary character before the film."

I wanted to show a fairly ordinary boy becoming the James Bond we know later on
Charlie Higson

At one point in his Hay appearance, Higson apologised for a Bob Fleming-esque spluttering cough straight out of the Fast Show, the quick-fire TV sketch show he co-wrote and starred in with Paul Whitehouse.

"It's not one of my characters" - he quipped, but most of his young audience failed to notice.

And it seems Bond will be the only character he will be immersed in for some time.

He admitted he had various TV projects and a couple of film scripts in the pipeline, "but my main job is writing these books and I can see more of my family."

He added: "I was writing thrillers before I worked in TV. I ended up in TV by accident, through friends I knew, and then I started writing for TV before I was a performer.

"I'm very pleased adults are enjoying them as well, but I write them for boys, for my three boys - the sort of books I read as a kid."

'Particularly bloodthirsty'

Higson's said his biggest fans - and critics - are his sons. "I read each chapter as I go along to my children," he said.

"Kids love gore in a book. My second son Jim is particularly bloodthirsty.

Charlie Higson as Swiss Toni in the Fast Show
Swiss Toni was among Higson's characters in the Fast Show

"When a new character appears, he says 'kill them off, push him off a cliff, under a train.' I think kids like a bit of that."

An author of four novels, Higson was selected by the Fleming family to write the series.

He based the Young Bond series on scant details of 007's early life in the original Fleming books - a boy orphaned at 11 and sent to Eton.

The college assisted in Higson's research into life there in the 1930s. Higson said: "The first rule is to get rid of the parents.

You can't have a young James Bond going off on adventures, if his mother turns up and tells him to tuck his shirt in.

"I'm pleased Fleming killed James Bond's parents and I didn't have to."

"I wanted to show a fairly ordinary boy becoming the James Bond we know later on."

After Silver Fin and Blood Fever, a third, as yet untitled, Young Bond book will be published in January.

He has already started work on a fourth, with ideas for a fifth which will bring together threads from the series and see the young James encounter his future employers, the secret service.


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