back to article Now pay attention, 007: James Bond's Q re-booted

There were others, but Desmond Llewelyn defined the part of Q in James Bond, appearing in 17 films and nailing the shtick with the wayward agent who invariably broke or lost his toys. Q perfected the long-suffering dad to Bond’s fidgety teen, who pressed the wrong buttons to earn an exasperated: “Pay attention, 007!” Skyfall …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Velv

    Pierce Brosnan already said it - Q's successor is R

    1. Colin Brett
      Thumb Up

      As John Cleese said

      "Ah, the famous 007 wit. Or at least half of it."

      Bring back R!


  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Am I the only who looks at the new Q and thinks 'Maurice Moss'? Although it would probably detract from the balls-to-the-walls action that seems to be a requirement for a modern spy-thriller, I can't help but feel that adding a dosh of the Moss would certainly help me get into the cinema more...

    1. auburnman

      Re: Surely

      Now I have an image of Bond with Q in a headlock while Q desperately tries to spray water to cool his ear down.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Surely

      He was in Nathan Barley as a long suffering geek picked on by Barley. So it's not like he doesn't have a track record.

    3. Alan Gauton

      Re: Surely

      But he's aged well - doesn't look a day older than when he was working as a journalist in the 1950's. Maybe that's where he got his taste of the spy life (The Hour).

  3. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    Can't say that I like the Bond franchise "reboot" at all, to be honest, but Q was Q for a reason. He may not have invented those gadgets, you see, he probably didn't understand the new-fangled gadgets very much. But he was the Quartermaster, in charge of the department, herding the young geeks (like the new "Q") to get the results that could be tested to his satisfaction and only rolled out to the field agents when he was happy with them.

    He probably could do all their jobs, at a push, but he didn't. He was the old-guy in charge of the young-guys that tweezered the talent out of them while curbing their enthusiasm to go too mad or use unreliable technologies. He was the equivalent of the ageing cardigan-wearing scholar in charge of the supercomputer datacenter - maybe he couldn't tweet properly on his first attempt, but he was around while computers still ran off punched tapes, could write better code than anything the young'uns could churn out and was there as an experienced, calm, sensible influence to herd the department away from schoolboy fantasies and towards a product that would save someone's life every time.

    Bond knew that. He knew how Q worked. He knew that a Q gadget would never let him down. He knew that Q didn't want him touching stuff, especially stuff that hadn't been approved yet, because he was interfering in the old-guy's projects. And, numerous times, you could see Bond silently thank Q's attention to detail and testing and reliability.

    Q *WAS* a Desmond Llewellyn (not the actor, the character - the actor was notoriously inept with technology, as was the actor who played his successor "R"). He was an old guy, who spent the afternoon sitting in a back room, maybe smoking a pipe, waiting for that young, keen guy who he'd sent back to the drawing board to see that he was right all along and came back with what he knew would have to be his correction / workaround / revamp because Q already knew it wouldn't work any other way, just from instinct. He didn't stamp on keenness and new ideas, but he was there as a mentor and merely guided those enthusiasms and channelled them through a filter of years of experience and got something even better from them.

    You can't mess with Q. A young-geek Q isn't what would exist. Maybe a Q-in-training, or a Q-apprentice, yet to see that the little old man who makes him re-do everything is really teaching him how to be a better Q and who, in years to come, will joke with him in that backroom and see Q's human side come through and joke with him about how they were like the new recruits once.

    The Bond reboot has missed the point of quite a lot of the characters and (admittedly) their enlarged selves that have been portrayed in the tackier of Bond movies. You can't mess with Q, though. That's the last straw.

    P.S. NEVER has an actor and character had a more profound exit from their starring role than Desmond Llewellyn and Q. Never. Perfectly timed. Perfectly matched. Perfectly humble. Perfect.

    1. Andrew Moore
      Thumb Up

      I think you've just posted the ideal skillset required for any management chappy.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Colin & Malcolm

    I prefer Colin and Malcolm from Spooks.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Colin & Malcolm

      Spot on.

      The robot they made out of mobile phone and hard drive parts was the stuff of legends.

  5. AbortRetryFail

    "Old Q"

    The article would have been better had it referred to "Major Boothroyd" instead of "Old Q". For that was his name.

    1. Snafu 2

      Re: "Old Q"

      Not only that, but the Major was 'the Armourer' who insisted on the change from the Beretta to the Walther; Q came along shortly afterwards, & dealt with the gadgets, not just the guns

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Back in the real world..

    .. you need someone who can MANAGE the kind of "geeks" the (wonderfully well written) letter alludes to - I think we could call them hackers. This is one of the harder problems to address: if you create a herd of techno-geeks you have to find a way to direct all that youthful enthusiasm so they don't end up hacking the electronics in the PM's car for a laugh but focus on stuff that genuinely helps the country, and at the same time keep the politics away from such a team so it can actually do its job.

    The ideal age for someone like that is around 45-55 - mature enough to handle the politics, old enough to still have a focus wider than just computers, yet young enough to understand hacker culture and work with it (as a matter of fact, someone of that age may have actually spent their youth getting into trouble like that).

    Been there, done that :). Twice..

  7. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Slightly different...

    ....but I enjoyed Simon Pegg's turn in Mission Impossible 4. He couldn't (yet) be 'Q' in the way Lee Dowling has nailed perfectly above- but he did work well as the film's gadget expert, even if said gizmos didn't.

    Mr Dowling left out one of Q's most important qualities: He was prescient, and wouldn't give Bond a magnetic watch when the mission would actually require some plastic explosive toothpaste. How did Q know?

  8. King Jack

    Bad casting

    Desmond Llewelyn overstayed in the role of Q. All the other key roles were played by younger actors as time progressed, but Q stayed the same. Originally Q and Bond were the same age, Mid 30s. But because of bad casting, Q aged and nobody else did.

    Just as fictitious characters are portrayed by different actors (Batman, Superman, Holmes, etc) Q should have been replaced at the same time as Conrey went. Q spent only a few minutes on screen in most films but the character was played brilliantly and became major. That was Desmond Llewelyn's skill. But Q was never an old man, Llewelyn was.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bad casting

      Like Felix Lighter?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bad casting

        Sorry, Leiter.

      2. Andrew Moore

        Re: Bad casting

        a Felix Lighter can often be found in a car.

  9. TxRx
    IT Angle

    Anyone else double take that pic as being 'Moss' from IT Crowd.

    He'd be way more fun, although Q was never deliberately fun I guess.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Anyone else double take that pic as being 'Moss' from IT Crowd.

      No. My first thought was Brains from Thunderbirds.

    2. LeCrank

      Re: Anyone else double take that pic as being 'Moss' from IT Crowd.


      "I'm here to start a choir"


  10. George Nacht

    I do not know about that Cambridge requirement...

    Please, correct me, but isn´t Cambridge a notorious hatchery of double agents?

    But "camera with hidden lighter" - priceless!

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: I do not know about that Cambridge requirement...

      Cambridge has produced so many gay Russian spies that they should have won a Queen's Award for Export!

      Or an Export Award for queens...

      [I think that was a 1980s 'Weekending' joke, but I can't remember.]

  11. Graham Bartlett

    I think Benedict Cumberbatch could have played the new Q better - he's young, but not *that* young.

  12. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Before I forget..

    .. epic letter, that article. Can't find a rating thingie, but you'd get top. Just so you know.

  13. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    For Guaranteed Successful Missions, Start ANew Greater IntelAIgent Games with SMARTR Players*

    Quite so, M, such is the paradigm shift in Qs role and section in real time actuality today, for definitive absolute lead and awesome remote power control in both perceived reality and applied virtual reality/broadbandcast media promotions. Or is that to be a joint function with C, whenever that circus gets its act together with a head which doesn't sell out to some hick cowboy in a rented flying suit and some wide boy in search of a fool legacy and irreligious tax exempt status.

    * What is there to lose other than failure?

    You can be sure that such as is the above is that which the present is delivering to test intelligence levels in services which may be into providing Lead IP Supply for media production of future content. IT aint rocket science, is it?

  14. johnwerneken

    Take this VERY seriously, PLEASE!

    I hope "M" is reading this. This article is spot on as you Brits say, got it in one. Competition and disruption and out-right threats can now come from all sorts of kooks if they have the technology, which they most surely do in far too many cases. Instead of one Soviet Evil Empire, we have dozens from slap-dash semi-comic tyrannies to, well, China Incorporated. Plus multinationals and start-ups, Ayatollahs and terrorists, and the odd angry individual. WE NEED A ALPHA-GEEK "Q" to give the good guys some chance of surviving.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Take this VERY seriously, PLEASE! ...... for the Consequences of Arrogance and Ignorance can be Dire

      Take this VERY seriously, PLEASE!

      I hope "M" is reading this. This article is spot on as you Brits say, got it in one. Competition and disruption and out-right threats can now come from all sorts of kooks if they have the technology, which they most surely do in far too many cases. Instead of one Soviet Evil Empire, we have dozens from slap-dash semi-comic tyrannies to, well, China Incorporated. Plus multinationals and start-ups, Ayatollahs and terrorists, and the odd angry individual. WE NEED A ALPHA-GEEK "Q" to give the good guys some chance of surviving. ….. johnwerneken Posted Tuesday 16th October 2012 19:58 GMT

      Hi, johnwerneken,

      Be hereby assured and thus positively reassured, or even further concerned to extraordinary extremes if of a negative bent, that hope is not tasked with Intelligent Community Enlightenment, for such too easily is abused by indolence to excuse with zero justification that nothing be done/is being or can be done differently, with the expected result being that status quo arrangements with current predominant established power bases remain intact and immune from the exercise of progress and prosecution of novel methodologies of future administered presentations/realities …….. which would then be much more accurately described and revealed to the masses as virtual reality programs and, as needs must and circumstances warrant, have certain drivers remain classified way beyond the ken of departments and ministries presently with any need to know top secret and sensitive compartmented information classification systems, for they have no need to know more than that, methinks. What think thee?

      The simple provision of a permalink hyperlink, which presents this particular and peculiar post, to a page which presumably is designed specifically for such eventualities, should be all that be needed to test incumbent systems and station heads for future intelligence supply suitability. There be no point in casting pearls of majic wisdom before dogged ignorant swine, is there, and as you have quite clearly pointed out, johnwerneken, is IT a very active crowd field with aspirants from many corners of the globe, so it is not as if things are going to stand still because there be cuckoos in some nests where there need to be eagles and owls/vultures and vampires. :-), although if you can believe what is said about their being able to monitor all global communications and internet traffic for packets of information of especial interest and/or concern, should this just appearing on El Reg be enough of a HyperRadioProActive BetaTest of their current levels of expertise in …… well, in the Holywood does Hollywood world of no fame and outrageous untold fortune, would that be Control of Power in the Field of Insatiable Dreams with Live Operational Virtual Environments ……. which would be a QuITe Titanic Colossus of an Application for AIVirtualisation to Practical Realisation with Pragmatic Product Presentation.

      WE NEED A ALPHA-GEEK "Q" to give the good guys some chance of surviving. …. And legion and anonymous facilities will surely effortlessly guarantee stealthy virtual delivery of it with IT Command and CHAOS* Control of Creative CyberSpace, Computers and Communications.

      * Clouds Hosting Advanced Operating Systems ….. Anonymous and Alien/Astute and Autonomous

      Fact or fiction? Solo Flight of Fancy or Master Piloted JOINT Operation testing Novel Transparency Need to Know Protocols in a Joined-up Intelligence Mission/IntelAIgent Community Enterprise?

  15. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    Waste of Good taxes by bad people

    None of them put the fart in George Bush's cabbage.

  16. Neoc

    My first impression:

    "Good lord: Brain and the Doctor had a kid."

  17. Plastic Superhero

    Thought I'd seen him before, he played Pingu in Nathan Barley. Also a "computer geek" there, but I doubt that's why they cast him. Although he did show quite the aptitude for falling out of windows...

  18. Tom 13

    I'd like to add something here but,

    I think Lee Dowling has the definitive post for this thread.

  19. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    Not another one

    And Q isn't just younger, he's also tooled up for a new age: a computer geek, not a maker of underwater breathing equipment or exploding pants.

    Oh, good - the Bond franchise has boldly decided to include one of today's most tiresome character cliches. Apparently imagination is not a requirement for Bond scriptwriters.

    When will film and TV people learn that computers are boring? Sure, designing, building, and programming them are often quite interesting, and not infrequently fun. Even administering the damned things can offer a bit of entertainment. But on-screen they're dull, dull, dull, even in the ridiculous fantasy world of fictional "hacking" where top people can share a keyboard.

    The computer has become deus and machina in one - it's the magic box lazy writers turn to whenever they write themselves into a corner, or in many cases just have a minor plot hurdle to overcome. And the hacker-nerd is their modern Delphic oracle - minus drugs and nudity - so the action heroes needn't bow down before it.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Not another one

      Man, are you in for a surprise, Michael Wojcik, for you haven't the faintest idea about what has already been done and threatens to terrify mankind into submission with the revelation of masterly control programming protocols and meme algorithms with the truth shared and proven to be stranger but no stranger to fiction.

      And there aint nothing you can do about it, nor anything anybody can range against it to stop IT on its cosmic source course.

      And doubting and denying that be possible, is that which allows it free reign to do as is pleasing.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    As someone who was born in 1980 and hence being 32, I am glad to be described as a 'slip of a lad'

    1. Steven Roper

      Re: 1980?

      At 32, you are a slip of a lad, but at least you've not far to go now.

      When you pass 40 sunshine, then you can finally put your youth behind you and become a miserable old bastard like the rest of us.


  21. corcoran

    Who plugs a foreign laptop into ANY ethernet port inside your network? What a chumpwit.

This topic is closed for new posts.