Memories of James Bond’s trips to Peterborough were stirred (but not shaken) by a visit from the film’s most prolific director John Glen on Thursday (20 September).
John, who directed five Bonds between 1981 and 1989, was on hand at Nene Valley Railway in Wansford to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bond.
He memorably chose to shoot at the station in 1982 for the blockbuster film Octopussy, which saw stars Roger Moore and Maud Adams come to Peterborough during the six-week shoot.
The site was also used to shoot some scenes for Goldeneye, starring Pierce Brosnan and Sean Bean, in 1995.
As part of the Bond 50 celebrations, stars from the film franchise are visiting popular locations with a ‘golden briefcase’ with a digital timer that is counting down to the release of Bond 50 - a new Blu-ray box-set of all 22 Bond films.
John, who also directed For Your Eyes Only, The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill, took care of the golden box at the Wansford station, where he also handed over a plaque commemorating it as one of the film’s most memorable locations to general manager Hannah Forman.
John said: “Octopussy is still one of my best known movies, and we spent the best part of six weeks down here.
“I often get asked where I went for certain shots, and I must admit you forget a lot of locations. But I do remember Nene Valley Railway well.
“It was a perfect location for the film. We had lovely shots going through the countryside and had a wonderful time here, so I was very glad to come back.
“I was very keen to come back for this event - Nene Valley Railway has such fond memories.
“We did a tricky scene where we had to fire a Mercedes out over the train tracks when a train was coming towards it.
“We took the engine and everything else out of the car, but then when we filmed it we overshot it and landed in a lake - we almost hit two extras who were there as fishermen.
“I chose the location mainly because of the railway scene and the tunnel. We shot all of the action scenes here - there was no CGI, like they would use these days.
“I rarely revisit the ‘scene of the crime’ but this is a pleasant change to that. It’s nice to see it again after all these years.
“Everyone was convinced we had filmed in East Germany. A lot of people used to ask me if it was hard to film in East Germany!
“But that was the art of film-making. We always wanted to film within 50 miles of Pinewood Studios, but of course it had to look like we were going all over the world.
“We had wonderful co-operation from the local people and the railways.”
To mark the auspicious occasion, an Aston Martin used in the most recent Bond film - Quantum of Solace - was parked on the platform, where John posed for photographs and a video that will appear on the James Bond website 007.com.
They also paid a visit to the Green DSB that was memorably used for a fight scene between Roger Moore’s James Bond and his nemesis Kamal Khan.
When John and the crew originally came to the station in 1982, large crowds gathered at the gates to watch the stars film their scenes.
He added: “Roger Moore always loved talking to the fans. He always kept his feet on the floor.
“When we were filming here there would always be large crowds watching outside, it was all very exciting.
“Of course, Roger wanted to talk to everyone and would agree to have his photo taken with people.
“He said that without them, he wouldn’t be a star. He never forgot that, and Maud Adams was the same.
“It’s very different now - the big actors wouldn’t go anywhere without a team of security guards.
“We had the most beautiful girls, and many of the extras came from Peterborough.
“We had hundreds of very pretty beautiful girls apply to be extras, and lots of them were local because they knew we would be filming here.”
The station was buzzing with excitement when the Bond 50 event came through Wansford.
Angelica Bell, from BBC’s The One Show, was there filming the event, and she was joined by numerous fans of Bond.
Tony Goddard (75), from Castor, who among those who turned up to watch the event.
He said: “I read about it in the Peterborough Telegraph and thought I would go along and see what was happening.
“I think everyone is a fan of James Bond really, and everyone around here knows they filmed Octopussy here.
“I actually knew one of the girls who was an extra when they filmed it. Everyone was very excited back then.”
Nene Valley Railway general manager Hannah Forman said: “We get people coming from all over the UK and even abroad to see the railway where James Bond was filmed.
“It is a big deal for fans of the film.
“We are proud to have had quite a lot of things filmed here, but Octopussy is probably the biggest one.”
Signalman Don Crick (74) wore an “Octopussy” tie that Nene Valley Railway sold after it provided movie was filmed at the location.
It has sat in his wardrobe for most of the 30 years that have passed - but Don wore it with pride at the event.
He said: “I don’t wear it very often, but thought it would be a good time to wear it today.”