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Leigh Turner

Ambassador to Austria and UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organisations in Vienna

Part of Speakers' Corner

10th November 2015

Bond is GREAT – why we care

A great-looking man steps out of a hotel window in Mexico City.  A couple of hours later, he drives a classic Aston Martin DB5 away through the centre of London.  In between come spectacular fight-scenes, exotic locations, explosions and chases, including one where the hero drives an Aston Martin DB10 through Rome.

Sounds like a standard action movie?  Why should we care?

Because this is Bond.  James Bond.

Since his first appearance in “Dr No” in 1962 played by Sean Connery, James Bond has appeared in 24 films.  The latest is Spectre, the Turkey premiere of which I recently had the privilege of attending.

Posing at the ‘Spectre’ premiere

The films, and the images they portray, have become iconic.  The recent movies highlight many features of today’s Britain, including:

– Despite its traditions, Britain is incredibly creative and modern.  That’s why we say Creativity is GREAT

– Britain has a huge world-leading fashion industry.  Yes, Fashion is GREAT

– Britain has a cutting edge film industry – check out this spectacular and occasionally moving Film is GREAT video clip, including scenes from “Spectre”.

– Aston Martin and more: Britain has a world-beating manufacturing industry – Exporting is GREAT!

– Britain has some of the world’s leading brands, many displayed in the Bond films – Shopping is GREAT!

– #HomeofBond – Britain is a fantastic travel destination.

When you watch “Spectre”, you’ll see wonderful images of Mexico, Austria, Morocco and elsewhere. But you’ll also see spectacular images of London – and of the rest of Britain too, if you watch previous films such as “Skyfall”.

In short, the James Bond films draw attention to all kinds of extraordinary things about Britain.

That’s why we care – and say: Bond is GREAT.

PS – if you don’t like James Bond but want to see some breathtaking images of the beauty of Britain, check out the “The Ridge”, with Danny Macaskill, filmed in the Cullins mountain range on the island of Skye, in Scotland.  Lyrical and vertiginous: see why it has 39m views so far and counting by clicking on the link.

Follow Leigh Turner on Twitter  @LeighTurnerFCO

About Leigh Turner

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of…

I hope you find this blog interesting and, where appropriate, entertaining. My role in Vienna covers the relationship between Austria and the UK as well as the diverse work of the UN and other organisations; stories here will reflect that.

About me: I arrived in Vienna in August 2016 for my second posting in this wonderful city, having first served here in the mid-1980s. My previous job was as HM Consul-General and Director-General for Trade and Investment for Turkey, Central Asia and South Caucasus based in Istanbul.

Further back: I grew up in Nigeria, Exeter, Lesotho, Swaziland and Manchester before attending Cambridge University 1976-79. I worked in several government departments before joining the Foreign Office in 1983.

Keen to go to Africa and South America, I’ve had postings in Vienna (twice), Moscow, Bonn, Berlin, Kyiv and Istanbul, plus jobs in London ranging from the EU Budget to the British Overseas Territories.

2002-6 I was lucky enough to spend four years in Berlin running the house, looking after the children (born 1992 and 1994) and doing some writing and journalism.

To return to Vienna as ambassador is a privilege and a pleasure. I hope this blog reflects that.