Philip Dewhurst – President
Roger Moore is the Bond I grew up with as a child of the early 1980’s, he was suave, effortlessly handsome, wonderfully funny and when he needed to be…dangerous!
FYEO marked an effort by the Producers to bring Bond back a few steps from the out of this world fun of Moonraker and give him a more Fleming Bond film. The result of those efforts, apart from a silly opening to rid the franchise of ‘Blofeld’ (or more to the point to belittle Kevin McClory’s efforts to remake Thunderball, a story for another day!) are nothing short of superb. The film has a realistic feel, gorgeous locations, Roger looks his absolute best here, the Bond girl is beautiful and the supporting characters are top notch. Where do I begin? It could be the many hours spent as a child watching James Bond films with my Grandfather who introduced me to the world’s greatest secret agent and instilled upon me that visiting the countries and locations of Bond gave you not only a further connection to the super spy but also a greater understanding of the world and the influence the British Empire had on it. My Grandfather travelled extensively in his time and managed to take holidays in almost all the exotic and exciting places that 007 had filmed from Jamaica to Hong Kong and everything in-between.
Most people who know me know that clearly the travel spirit of my Grandfather is very much entrenched into my life and I travel internationally practically every few weeks. With the pandemic I continued to do so but I was looking for something a little different to lift the coronavirus weary spirits of my family and friends, not just a holiday or a Bond location but to dig into my inner 10 year old and to ‘BE BOND’ for a week, guess it comes from not growing up at all. The clothing, the locations, the food and of course the drink! With COVID causing travel irregularities shall we say for a considerable portion of the world I began to look at easier places to travel and that would offer a good Bond connection…CORFU! The one stop shop for 007 locations from one of my favourite Bond films and it just happened to be the 40th anniversary. I mentioned the idea to my dear friend Markus (yes the one you are thinking of) and he said “great! You should do it!” I needed no more encouragement.
My Wife and children are Bond fans so this was an easy sell, other than that who doesn’t want to be on a Greek island in summer. My first port of call was to the excellent website On the tracks of 007 conceived by Dirk Kloosterboer and Martijn Mulder and now published and run by the latter. This was without doubt the greatest source for the locations which would form part of the family holiday; little did I know for the whole family that it would become a daily event throughout the trip.
Armed with the locations I talked it through with the kids and my Daughter said “why don’t you get outfits and dress up like Bond” my Son added “then we could re-enact scenes” I turned to my wife to ask if she would be the Bond Girl…she replied “I’ll be the photographer”…hey you can’t win them all can you!
I sourced clothing as accurate as I could get (not easy trying to find vintage clothing) this was actually a lot of fun, it made the weeks ahead of the trip whisk by and built up the excitement for sure.
We travelled to Corfu with British Airways as we often do, My daughter armed with a Roger Moore facemask and a soft toy version of Max the Parrott in the First Class lounge, all of us listening to FYEO score by Bill Conti on our respective devices and my Son re-watching the film on his Ipad. I sat drinking a Vodka Martini (or 3) and champagne on the plane thinking I was the luckiest guy in the world. Not only was I about to dress up as 007, visit filming locations and re-enact scenes…I was doing it with my family!
The first few nights I had chartered a yacht with a crew moored at the Old Fortress Marina (first location). From the Yacht we were directly below Kristatos’ Albanian warehouse. The Old town Fort was used extensively. Seen at the beginning of the movie when the Havelocks are murdered by Gonzales, for the chase sequence with Bond on foot and Locque in the Mercedes. I was unable to bring a firearm or toy gun with us for obvious reasons and at this stage in the trip had also been unable to purchase one from a shop…so in the least 007 moment of the trip, I substituted with a banana, Roger would have laughed! We ran up the steps as Roger did to the tunnels and found that he must of used a stunt double because even my Son who is quite athletic only made it halfway before stopping to rest. First outfit and location in the bag.
There wasn’t going to be enough time to fly over to the mainland to Meteora for the climbing scenes, so the East side of the Fortress doubled for my attempts at the climbing scenes. My Wife pointed out that it was 91 degrees and that I had already had 2 Martinis for breakfast so wearing a shirt, jumper, gillet and trying to climb up a rock face would end in disaster. I agreed and thought that I would need a third Martini as by the time I walked up to the location the buzz from the other two Martinis may have worn off. I can tell you this was a hot day and the layers of clothing were nothing short of exhausting – “welcome to hell Blofeld” But we prevailed and from the lofty heights of 5 feet from the ground, with my Son using a fan to cool me down, my Daughter holding the rope and my Wife taking the pictures we recreated something like the St. Cyrrils moment. Now back to the Marina restaurant for Caviar, Bollinger and a few more Martinis…mirroring 007’s taste for booze isn’t an easy job but I’m just keeping the British end up!
We used the yacht to get a picture of 007 ready to be fed to the sharks by Kristatos and my Daughter took care of the underwater photography as I grappled to be free of the ropes before being dragged through a coral reef as we sailed up the Albanian coastline.
Our next mission location was to recreate the Gonzales Villa scene and then the chase that ensues; I love a drive in the country! I was in cover, tasked with surveillance of the property when two henchmen (my children) caught me. Now it was time for the pool fight. My Son had to be the stunt double here and was swiftly taken care of with a parasol as my Daughter redressed to be Melina in the bushes with her ‘crossbow’. I escaped using the same parasol (hoping that I wouldn’t brake an ankle here) and we got into the rental car to head towards the Spiros Bond Café.
We drove to the location at some speed with Bill Conti’s energetic score playing and retraced the route of the Citroen 2cv chase through the olive tree laden country roads. This was a lot of fun in a tiny powerless rental car pushed to its limit. Now upon arrival at the Café location (which was used as a double for the Spanish countryside outside of Madrid) I didn’t topple over the car as insurance premiums are hell and although accidents do happen I doubt Q would have been at Avis to assist me. We had a wonderful lunch of Club sandwiches here at what has become a mecca for Bond fans visiting Corfu. The guestbook was full of fans that had left their mark, the walls adorned with actor autographs and the shelves with old picture books of photos taken at time of filming. Jimmy & Eleni were so lovely and as soon as I walked into the place with my outfit similar to that of the film Jimmy exclaimed “HEY Roger welcome back!” I can’t tell you enough how wonderful the feeling, food and owners are here. If you are in Corfu definitely make a stop here. We tasked ourselves with one location a day with the rest of the time enjoying the holiday. So we headed back to the Villa for some much needed rest.
The next morning we decided to visit Agios Georgios Beach where Countess Lisl would meet her fate at the hands of Locque and his men. My Daughter was really getting into her upcoming part and suggested we bring ketchup to pour onto her head for her ‘death pose’, she was cutting her breakfast sausage up at the time, so I agreed…I’ll do anything for a woman with a knife. We really enjoyed this location combining it with lunch and a day at the beach, tremendously hot again though for a dress shirt and trousers, but I won’t consider myself in trouble until I start weeping blood.
We did two quick scenes before having a day at the pool when I realised we could use our Villa to recreate the Colombo/Bond office scene, my Son was willing to have mascara for a fake moustache to be the fantastic character played by Topol, we found a few props lying around and voila! After this we headed out to Melina arrival location at the Vlacherna monastery. This is right next to the airport and has a restaurant just before the jetty.
Achillion palace was up next for three points of the movie in one. Bond at the casino with Lisl, dinner with Kristatos and lastly James looking out to the ocean with Melina from the terrace. We had to pay to get into this location but it was definitely worth it and you spend a few hours here looking through the gardens at you leisure.
What can I say except maybe nobody does it better? As a family we put maximum effort into this and I can’t say thank you enough to Philip Jr., Elizabeth and my long suffering Wife Emmeline. Although after this trip they are maybe a little more connected to Bond than they ever thought possible. We have travelled the world as a family enjoying the Caribbean, Hawaii, the Far East and California the most, but now we have a special place in our hearts for this gorgeous Greek island full of beautiful coastlines and a plethora of locations from James Bond. If you haven’t been and you are a fan of the secret agent extraordinaire then I suggest you visit as your 007 adventure awaits.
Last modified: 3 January 2024