On Thursday and Friday last week I did interviews for the Metro and Daily Telegraphs newspapers and so I had to spend a little time going through 2019 photos as the newspaper wants me to send some so as well as general West End photos, I thought I’d look for some that are more me. One of the tours I do is a James Bond locations walk where everyone from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig has filmed as well as some real life spy locations such as the famous umbrella poisoning.
Anyway this is one of the more unusual places I ended up with a man from Iowa who I only met 15 minutes outside MI5 and we headed to Notting Hill to see James Bonds apartment from the recent films.
He was very impressed and I took his photos and pointed out thats where James Bond looks out of his window; thats where Moneypenny walks down the street etc when suddenly lady parked her golden car and asked me in French whether we wanted to see her place.
It was a cold January Saturday and I thought it was rather odd/trusting of her to invite two youngish men she’d never met into her house but after I grabbed her shopping bag we went up stairs, chatted to her neighbour and she showed us in.
It turns out she is an obviously hugely wealthy lady who has lived here since the 60’s when it was very run down and her husband was an artist and then art dealer. Sadly he isn’t around any more and she isn’t even French but is a bit eccentric and sometimes refuses to speak in English.
Anyway they used her flat for James Bond with Daniel Craig. It’s really strange going in someones house knowing you’re way around. She still has his dressing gown. Her big flat was literally full of ‘stuff’ which threw us a bit as in the film, Moneypenny even asks Bond if he has just moved in as it was so empty. Apparently she had so much stuff, they just made fake walls everywhere so they could hide it and make it look clean and simple.
She obviously had a huge thing for Daniel Craig and said that they were here for about 10 days filming that one scene and I said to her that was a long time for 2 minutes of action and she almost bit my head off and said something like 3 minutes 47 seconds Stephen! Obviously very proud of her special place in the film and so she should be.
The lady likes smoking and they picked her place as one day she was having a smoke on her balcony and a locations assistant was on his bicycle and saw her there knowing the film would have Bond standing up looking out on the street at Moneypenny and thats how they chose her residence as a filming location.
I always wondered why her window seemed to be partially blocked from the outside and from my visit I found out there is a good reason for this as there is a life-size cardboard cut out of James Bond and she insisted we had our photos taken there.
I asked her where can I see her work and goods and she says she doesn’t believe in the internet and if you search her all you will see is a video of her being drunk at some auction in Paris… and its true.
When we left, neither my tourist or myself could barely say a word to each other and I’m sure the remainder of the tour was a complete let down after that. He left me a 5 star review and put something like he can’t even tell anyone why it is 5 stars.
Anyway I went by her place a few weeks later doing a Notting Hill/Romcom tour and left her a thankyou at the door.
I’ve seen her once or twice since then and she’s never asked me in again but always greeted me in English or French. I reckon she had seen me pointing at her windows before so knew I was vaguely safe. I think she is mainly just super eccentric, even her gold car she calls Goldfinger! and to be fair its just a VW Golf lol not that I can cast any aspirtions on her wonderful life.
I hope she has made it through the virus ok I took some photos and met Daniel Craig 6 months later while he was filming the upcoming 007 film. He was in character though so not quite so friendly as this lady.