THIRTEEN years ago it was transformed into “Castle Thane” – the headquarters of the British Secret Service in the James Bond blockbuster The World Is Not Enough.
And yesterday Eilean Donan Castle on Loch Duich near Kyle served as the stunning backdrop as the first Bond Girl set out from the Highland castle in 007’s Aston Martin DBS on a round-Britain tour to mark the release of all 22 official Bond films on blu-ray for the first time.
Eunice Gayson was the first woman to feature as the legendary secret agent’s girlfriend in the key casino scene in Dr No, the first Bond movie starring Sean Connery, in 1962 – a role she reprised in From Russia with Love in 1963.
And she launched the golden anniversary of the iconic series of movies when she took delivery of a “golden case” containing the first copy of the Bond 50 On Blu-Ray box set which will spend the next seven days touring key locations in the Bond legend to mark its release.
The Aston Martin DBS, which featured in Quantum of Solace, will be used to tour the country where the “golden case” will also be carried by other 007 stars including Bond girls Britt Ekland, Shirley Eaton, and Tania Mallet; Richard Keil who played the classic villain Jaws; and John Glen, who directed five films in the Bond series.
During the tour, a helicopter will retrace the route of a chase scene from From Russia With Love filmed near Lochgilphead, in Argyll. The Golden Anniversary tour will also visit the Nene Valley Railway in Peterborough, where Bond stunt performers will run with the case along a moving train, celebrating the classic Bond action scene in Octopussy; Penbryn Beach in Ceredigion, Wales, which featured in Die Another Day; Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire, the scene of 1964’s classic golfing encounter between Bond and Auric Goldfinger; and the Eden Project in Cornwall which was used as a location for Die Another Day. The tour will also call at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, where many Bond films were based.
The seven-day tour is due to end at the HMV store in London’s Oxford Street on 24 September. Each location will be presented with a commemorative gold disc celebrating its part in 007’s 50-year history.
Ms Gayson said: “I am so proud to have worked on the first two Bond films and to be part of the continuing James Bond legacy. Launching this relay is an honour. No one could have predicted, back in 1962, that five decades later it would be a global phenomenon.” The latest Bond film, Skyfall, starring Daniel Craig will open in cinemas next month.