Timothy Dalton

Pencil Portrait by Antonio Bosano.

Timothy Dalton Pencil Portrait
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Last update: 7/5/2016

It would take a lengthy legal dispute between Eon Productions and MGM to derail Timothy Dalton’s tenure as 007, and many Fleming purists still bemoan the financial wrangles that would keep one of, if not arguably THE BEST Bond off the big screen between 1989 and 1995. A Shakespearean actor with a hugely varied film CV, the actor found himself free of his contract. Interviewed in 2014 about his role in the horror drama ‘Penny Dreadful’, Dalton recounted this period in his life.

“Mr. Broccoli, who I really respected as a producer and as a friend, asked me what I was going to do when it was resolved. I said, ‘Look, in all honesty, I don’t think that I will continue.’ He asked me for my support during that time, which of course, I gave him.” By the time the lawsuit was resolved several years later, Dalton had changed his mind. “When [the next movie] did come about, it was probably four or five years later,” and when Cubby asked if I would come back, I said, ‘Well, I’ve actually changed my mind a little bit. I think that I’d love to do one. Try and take the best of the two that I have done, and consolidate them into a third.’ And he said, quite rightly, ‘Look, Tim. You can’t do one. There’s no way, after a five-year gap between movies that you can come back and just do one. You’d have to plan on four or five.’ And I thought, oh, no, that would be the rest of my life. Too much. Too long. So I respectfully declined.”

A great shame for the franchise, and both an understandable yet mystifying decision. After all, Eon had been delighted to lure Connery back for one last paycheck in ‘Diamonds are forever,’ so denying Dalton the opportunity to bow out with a tour de force third film seems in retrospect, a wasted opportunity.

Recommended reading

The music of James Bond (John Burlingame) 2012

A deceptively long read for such a slim looking volume, each chapter brims with little-known, and in some cases previously unknown, anecdotes. Burlingame examines the decades-long controversy over authorship of the Bond Theme; Shirley Bassey’s legal action against the Bond producers in an attempt to stop distribution of Thunderball unless her song, which had been dropped at the last minute, was reinstated; how Frank Sinatra almost sang Moonraker; how Eric Clapton played guitar for Licence to Kill but saw his work shelved; and how Amy Winehouse very nearly wrote and sang the theme for Quantum of Solace.

Interviews with every Bond composer including Monty Norman, John Barry, George Martin, Marvin Hamlisch, Bill Conti, Michael Kamen, Eric Serra and David Arnold offer fresh insights into the Bond style and sound, and how changes in popular music through the years were reflected in the Bond scores.


I was delighted to track down a second hand good condition copy for £2.99. As a longtime admirer of John Barry, the book is a fitting tribute to his groundbreaking work, and the musical baton that has been passed to other notable composers/arrangers.

Rounding off his entertaining text with a complete 1962-2008 discography and a catalogue of rejected/unused Bond title songs, Burlingame’s volume is a welcome publication for Bond afficionados and film buffs alike.