Mr Kidd and Mr Wint
Camp as Christmas and gay as a window, the burly assassins played by Putter Smith and Bruce Glover in 1971’s Diamonds are Forever couldn’t have been less menacing if they tried.
Having dispatched one target with a scorpion and drowned another in an Amsterdam canal, this deadly duo finally come a cropper trying to blow up Bond with an exploding cake. 007 rumbles their ruse, though, thanks to Kidd using an aftershave that “smells like a tart’s handkerchief.” Glover, incidentally, was definitely not as fey as his character, having sired Back to the Future star Crispin some seven years earlier.
Bambi and Thumper
Stumbling upon the desert retreat of reclusive billionaire Willard Whyte in Diamonds are Forever, 007 meets a pair of nubile bodyguards who proceed to kick his arse into next week.
Played by Lola Larson and Trina Parks, this nimble twosome prove more than a match for Sean Connery – until they fall in a swimming pool, that is, and end up being overcome as easily as a couple of two-year-olds. (Felix Leiter’s quip about Bond giving “breast stroke lessons” didn’t make it into the final cut.) In the Spanish-dubbed version, for reasons best known to the Spaniards, Thumper was called Pluto.
Cackling and gurning like a pantomime dame, Geoffrey Holder’s voodoo heavy from Live and Let Die may have been a supernatural entity capable of rising from the dead. But that didn’t stop Roger Moore’s Bond vanquishing him with comical ease, simply by fending off his terpsichorean advances and pushing him into his own reptile-filled coffin.
Trinidad-born dancer and choreographer Holder was scared to death of snakes and loathed working with them. Because his demise was shot on the day that Princess Alexandra visited the set, though, he went ahead with the stunt rather than lose face in front of royalty.
In his autobiography My Word is My Bond, Roger Moore recalls Herve Villechaize, his diminutive co-star in The Man with the Golden Gun, telling actress Maud Adams he planned to come into her hotel room that night and ravish her. “Yes,” she replied, “and if I wake up to find you have done so, I’ll be very annoyed!”
Herve’s height – a mere 3’ 11’ – hardly made Nick Nack 007’s most formidable adversary; indeed, their final confrontation ends with him being scooped up inside a suitcase and hung from a yardarm. Sadly, Villechaize would eventually take his own life in 1993.
Little more than Oddjob in a turban, Kabir Bedi’s glowering hoodlum puts the Pussy in Octopussy. Yes, he’s fine when it comes to crushing loaded backgammon dice and waving a scimitar about.
When it comes to doing something actually useful, though – battling 007 atop an airborne jet plane, for example – he’s a complete waste of space, cravenly losing his life to a radio aerial flicked in his mush. It’s not the actor’s fault to be fair, Bedi’s original suggestion that Gobinda have a cobra-like ability to hypnotise his enemies with his stare nixed in favour of a more physical approach.
The Pryce is definitely not right in Tomorrow Never Dies, Jonathan Pryce’s laughable media mogul giving Pierce Brosnan no trouble whatsoever in his second Bond outing.
An evil billionaire who only wants to start World War Three because it will boost his ratings, this preposterous ponce minces and preens like a posturing popinjay, notably in the scene where he compares himself to God. (“And the best he ever managed was the sermon on the mount.”) “There’s no news like bad news!” he says. “What kind of havoc shall the Carver Group create today?” Quite frankly, he can’t die soon enough.
Half Hugo Drax, half Richard Branson, Toby Stephens’ cocksure braggart swaggers through Die Another Day like a dick on legs. Sadly he’s just a dick: an uber-wealthy loon whose rampant insanity – a side effect of the genetic makeover that transformed him from Korean renegade Will Yun Lee – manifests itself in groansome puns ("what a wonderful day to become a knight,” “as we say in fencing, what’s the point?”) and a scenery-chewing exuberance he surely gets from his mother, Harry Potter star Maggie Smith. Stephens would go on to play Bond himself in a 2008 Radio 4 adaptation of Dr No.