Blackpool Museum Project are always looking to feature stories about growing up in Blackpool on our blog. This week Blackpool-based writer and speaker Barry McCann recalls his memories of an early Bond encounter in Stanley Park.

James Bond in Blackpool

Has James Bond ever visited Blackpool? His Aston Martin certainly did an appearance at Thomas Motors on Oxford Square during the 1960s. Unfortunately, I was too young to go and see it. But my time came in 1977 and was something of a double whammy.

That year saw the release of the 007 adventure The Spy Who Loved Me with Roger Moore and Blackpool benefitted on two counts. Firstly, the submarine interior set specially built for the production was put on display in the Olympia at Blackpool Winter Gardens. Secondly, the Wetbike that Bond rides in the film’s climax was brought to Stanley Park one Sunday morning, along with one of the stars – Caroline Munro, who played the Bond villain’s henchwoman, Naomi.

 

Picture of Bond villain, Caroline Munro

Caroline Munro on a visit to Blackpool’s Stanley Park. © Barry McCann

The Spy Who Met Me

I nipped along to the event and had the privilege of sitting on the Wetbike, the then revolutionary vehicle that Bond himself had ridden. Though I was not allowed to take it on the lake for a demo, that task was allocated to its trained operator.

However, it was a pleasure meeting Caroline Munro, the glamorous former Lamb’s Navy Rum poster girl turned actress, whom I had previously enjoyed seeing in such films as The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and At the Earth’s Core.

Caroline clearly enjoyed meeting her public, happily answering any questions about her experiences making the film. She praised Roger Moore for finally establishing his own Bond persona (it was his third outing) and revealed the very first 007 film, Dr No, to be her personal favourite.

One very wee child was very concerned about Naomi’s death scene in The Spy Who Loved Me, in which the helicopter she is piloting is blown up. When asking Caroline how she got out alive, she rolled her eyes and exclaimed “A-ha!” The lady was clearly not for revealing.

Barry McCann on the Wetbike that featured in The Spy Who Loved Me. © Barry McCann

Barry McCann on the Wetbike that featured in The Spy Who Loved Me. © Barry McCann

However, this encounter did not prove the end of it. Twenty three years later, I attended a dinner party in London and found myself unexpectedly seated next to Caroline Munro. When telling her how and when we had previously met, she exclaimed “You must have been a little boy!” Flattering for me, but horrifying for her when I admitted to being a strapping, rugby playing, fifteen year old at the time.

Still, she had not changed at all. And we have been friends ever since.