12. May 2013 06:37
In James Bond, the Last Englishman, the historian David Cannadine makes a convincing case for the theory that Bond was a reaction to Britain’s decline as a major global power. One Englishman could make a difference, even affect history, in a way his country no longer could. For Cannadine, Bond is the consolatory fantasy of Fleming, the nostalgic conservative appalled by Britain’s collapse as a great power. First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 26 May 2008 from the Ian Fleming exhibition at the Imperial War Museum entitled 'For Your Eyes Only', Professor David Cannadine attempts to put the Bond novels into their historical perspective and speculates about the real-life characters Fleming might have drawn upon to assist in the creation of James Bond.
Cannadine mentions two candidates who could have provided the inspiration for Fleming's Bond: Wilfred 'Biffy' Dunderdale and Patrick Dalzel-Job. Both were responsible for astonishing feats of derring-do during their wartime intelligence careers. In 1939, Dunderdale, who was nicknamed 'Biffy' because of his prowess in the boxing ring, managed to smuggle a model of the German Enigma encoding machine from Poland to Paris and then onwards to London. Dalzel-Job evacuated 4,500 inhabitants of the Norwegian coastal town of Narvik prior to a German bombing raid in 1940 using a fleet of fishing boats, an act that earned him the Knight's Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of St Olaf.
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(approx. 30 minutes)