Desmond Llewelyn

Desmond Wilkinson Llewelyn (/luˈɛlɪn/; 12 September 1914 – 19 December 1999) was a Welsh actor, best known for his role as Q in 17 of the James Bond films between 1963 and 1999.[1][2][3][4]

Desmond Llewelyn
Desmond Llewelyn 01
Desmond Llewelyn as 'Q' in Sweden while promoting Octopussy, June 1983
Desmond Wilkinson Llewelyn

12 September 1914
Newport, Wales
Died19 December 1999 (aged 85)
Firle, East Sussex, England, UK
Cause of deathCar accident
Years active1939–1999
Spouse(s)Pamela Mary Pantlin (m. 1938–1999; his death)
Military career
AllegianceUnited Kingdom
Service/branchBritish Army
Years of service1939–1945
RankSecond Lieutenant
UnitRoyal Welch Fusiliers
Battles/warsSecond World War


Early life

Llewelyn was born in Newport, Monmouthshire, the son of Mia (née Wilkinson) and Ivor Llewelyn,[5] who was a coal mining engineer. He originally wanted to be a minister, but during his education at Radley College, he worked as a stagehand in the school's productions and occasionally picked up small roles.

Second World War

The outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 halted his acting career; Llewelyn was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the British Army, serving with the Royal Welch Fusiliers. In 1940, he was captured by the German Army in France and was held as a prisoner of war for five years in the infamous Colditz Castle in Germany.

Acting career

James Bond series

Llewelyn was chosen for the role of Q because of his work with director Terence Young in the 1950 war film They Were Not Divided, in which he played a tank gunner. Beginning with From Russia with Love in 1963, Llewelyn appeared as Q, the Quartermaster of the MI6 Gadget Lab (also known as Q Branch), in every EON Bond film until his death, with the exception of Live and Let Die in 1973, in which the character Q did not appear. Llewelyn was the only actor in the original Bond series to have worked alongside five of the actors who played the spy, who were Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.

Desmond Llewelyn
Llewelyn in 1992

His last appearance as Q prior to his death was in The World Is Not Enough in 1999. During his briefing of 007 in the film, Q introduces John Cleese's character, R, as his heir presumptive, and the film alludes to Q's retirement, to which Bond, after seeing Q, expresses his hope that it will not be any time soon. Q's response is to admonish Bond to "always have an escape plan", after which he lowers himself through the floor of his lab. Llewelyn had stated not long before his death that he had no plans to retire and that he would continue playing Q "as long as the producers want me and the Almighty doesn't."[6]

In the 2002 film Die Another Day, John Cleese's character is the head of Q branch, having inherited the title of quartermaster from his predecessor. In all, Llewelyn appeared in 17 Bond films, more than any other actor, and worked with the first five James Bond actors. He also portrayed Q in a 1967 EON produced television documentary entitled Welcome to Japan, Mr. Bond, which was included in the 2006 special edition DVD release of You Only Live Twice.

Other work

Although one of British cinema's most recognisable characters and an important and long-standing element in the 'Bond' franchise, 'Q' did not make Llewelyn rich—the actor was merely paid 'by the day' for his few hours of work on-set and did not share in the money made by the films. Nevertheless, because Llewelyn was considered one of the franchise's major institutions and also immensely popular among Bond fans, Llewelyn starred in several commercials, including ones to promote the video games GoldenEye 007 and Tomorrow Never Dies.

Llewelyn made a brief appearance in "Little Mother", an episode of The Adventures of Robin Hood. He also appeared in other films such as the Ealing comedy The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), the 1963 film Cleopatra (as a Roman senator), and the 1981 PBS production of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and he had a small role in the musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968), which was itself based on a children's book by Bond author Ian Fleming. In 1961 he made an uncredited cameo appearance early on as one of the Marques's servants in the Hammer Film Productions of The Curse of the Werewolf. He also acted on stage with Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh (appearing as an extra in Olivier's 1948 film Hamlet) and appeared as Geoffrey Maddocks ('The Colonel') in the British television series Follyfoot from 1971 to 1973. The Bond film Live and Let Die was filmed during the third series of Follyfoot and Llewelyn was written out of the series for three episodes to appear in the film. However, the Bond producers ultimately decided to leave the character out of the film anyway, much to Llewelyn's annoyance.[7]

He was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1995 when he was surprised by Michael Aspel.

Personal life

Despite playing an inventor in the Bond films, Llewelyn always maintained that he was totally lost in the world of technology, a trait that also plagued his successors, John Cleese and Ben Whishaw. A biography entitled Q: The Biography of Desmond Llewelyn was written by Sandy Hernu, and subsequently released on 1 November 1999.


On 19 December 1999, Llewelyn was driving home alone from a book signing event when his blue Renault Megane had a head-on collision with a bronze Fiat Bravo driven by a 35-year-old man on the A27 near the village of Berwick, East Sussex. Despite attention from a doctor called to the scene and being taken by helicopter to Eastbourne District General Hospital, he died shortly thereafter at the age of 85. The other driver was seriously injured.[8] An inquest recorded a verdict of accidental death.[9] Llewelyn's death occurred three weeks after the premiere of The World Is Not Enough. Roger Moore, who starred with Llewelyn in six of his seven Bond films, spoke at his funeral on 6 January 2000[10] at St Mary the Virgin Church in Battle, Sussex.[11] The service was followed by a private cremation at Hastings Crematorium,[12] with the ashes given to Llewelyn's family.

His widow, Pamela Mary Llewelyn, died in East Sussex in 2001, aged 85. His son, Justin Llewelyn, died in 2012, aged 60.[13]

Selected filmography

Other appearances

  • James Bond: Licence to Thrill – TV Movie documentary (1987) as Himself
  • Wogan (1989) – episode – Licence to Kill Special
  • 30 Years of James Bond – TV Movie documentary (1992) as Himself
  • The Goldfinger Phenomenon – Video documentary short (1995) as Himself
  • Behind the Scenes with 'Thunderball' – Video documentary (1995) as Himself / Q
  • GoldenEye: The Secret Files – TV Short documentary (1995) as Himself
  • In Search of James Bond with Jonathan Ross – TV Movie documentary (1995) as Q
  • This Is Your Life – TV Series documentary – Desmond Llewelyn (1995) as Himself
  • The World of James Bond – TV Movie documentary (1995) as Himself
  • Countdown to Tomorrow – Documentary (1997) as Himself / Q
  • The Secrets of 007: The James Bond Files- TV Movie documentary (1997) as Himself / Q
  • James Bond: Shaken and Stirred – TV Movie documentary (1997) as Himself
  • License to Thrill – Short (1999) as Q
  • The Making of 'The World Is Not Enough' – Video documentary short (1999) as Himself
  • Exclusive – TV Series documentary – Episode dated 21 November 1999 (1999) as Himself – Interviewee
  • The Bond Cocktail – TV Movie documentary (1999) as Himself
  • Highly Classified: The World of 007 – Video documentary (1998) as Q
  • The James Bond Story – TV Movie documentary (1999) as Himself / Q
  • Inside 'From Russia with Love' – Video documentary short (2000) as Himself
  • Inside 'Moonraker' – Video documentary short (2000) as Himself
  • Inside Q's Lab – Video documentary short (2000) as Himself / Q
  • Terence Young: Bond Vivant – Video documentary short (2000) as Himself
  • Now Pay Attention 007: A Tribute to Actor Desmond Llewelyn – TV Movie documentary (2000) as Himself


  1. ^ GRO Register of Births: DEC 1914 11a 490 NEWPORT M. – Desmond W. Llewelyn, mmn = Wilkinson
  2. ^ GRO Register of Deaths: JUN 2000 A70E 247 EASTBOURNE – Desmond Wilkinson Llewelyn, DoB = 12 September 1914, aged 85
  3. ^ "Desmond Llewelyn Biography ((?)-)". Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  4. ^ "Desmond Llewelyn – An Obituary". Archived from the original on 2 February 2008. Retrieved 9 June 2007.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  5. ^ "Desmond Llewelyn Biography". Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  6. ^ From an interview on the DVD release of The World Is Not Enough.
  7. ^ "Llewelyn's last interview (with reference to ''Follyfoot'' and ''Live and Let Die'')". 19 December 1999. Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2010.
  8. ^ "Bond actor killed in crash". BBC News. 19 December 1999. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  9. ^ "Road death of Q actor accidental". The Guardian. London. 14 June 2000. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  10. ^ "James Bond's tribute to 'Q'". BBC News.
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "In Memoriam; Justin Llewelyn, 1952–2012".
  14. ^ Bray Lower, Cheryl; Palmer, R. Barton, eds. (2001). Joseph L. Mankiewicz: Critical Essays with an Annotated Bibliography and a Filmography. McFarland. p. 257. ISBN 9780786409877.

External links

Preceded by
Peter Burton
(James Bond Character)

Succeeded by
John Cleese
1999 in the United Kingdom

Events from the year 1999 in the United Kingdom. This year is noted for the first meetings of the new Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales.


Follyfoot was a children's television series co-produced by the majority-partner British television company Yorkshire Television (for transmission on ITV) and the independent West German company TV Munich (for transmission on the ZDF channel). It aired in the United Kingdom between 1971 and 1973, repeated for two years after that and again in the late 1980s. The series starred Gillian Blake in the lead role. Notable people connected with the series were actors Desmond Llewelyn and Arthur English and directors Jack Cardiff, Stephen Frears, Michael Apted and David Hemmings.

It was originally inspired by Monica Dickens' 1963 novel Cobbler's Dream (republished in 1995 as New Arrival at Follyfoot); she later wrote four further books in conjunction with the series—Follyfoot in 1971, Dora at Follyfoot in 1972, The Horses of Follyfoot in 1975, and Stranger at Follyfoot in 1976.

From Russia with Love (film)

From Russia with Love is a 1963 British spy film and the second in the James Bond film series produced by Eon Productions, as well as Sean Connery's second role as MI6 agent James Bond. It was directed by Terence Young, produced by Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman, and written by Richard Maibaum and Johanna Harwood, based on Ian Fleming's similarly named 1957 novel. In the film, Bond is sent to assist in the defection of Soviet consulate clerk Tatiana Romanova in Turkey, where SPECTRE plans to avenge Bond's killing of Dr. No.

Following the success of Dr. No, United Artists greenlit a sequel and doubled the budget available for the producers. In addition to filming on location in Turkey, the action scenes were shot at Pinewood Studios, Buckinghamshire, and in Scotland. Production ran over budget and schedule, and was rushed to finish by its scheduled October 1963 release date.

From Russia with Love was a critical and commercial success. It took more than $78 million in worldwide box office receipts, far more than its $2 million budget and more than its predecessor Dr. No, thereby becoming a blockbuster in 1960s cinema.

This film also marked the debut of Desmond Llewelyn as Q, a role he would play for 36 years until The World Is Not Enough in 1999.

Further Up the Creek

Further Up the Creek is a 1958 British comedy film written and directed by Val Guest and starring David Tomlinson, Frankie Howerd, Shirley Eaton, Thora Hird, Desmond Llewelyn and Lionel Jeffries. It served as a follow up to Up the Creek, with Peter Sellers not reprising his role because it clashed with the filming of The Mouse That Roared. Frankie Howerd replaced him.

Gillian Blake

Gillian Blake (born 10 May 1949), Buckingham, England is a retired British actress who became well known in the early 1970s as Dora in Follyfoot.

Blake studied acting at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and began her professional career in the late 1960s. She appeared in the 1969 film, Goodbye Mr. Chips. She went on to perform additional roles on television. In 1971 she landed the lead role in a Yorkshire Television Production Follyfoot, which ran for three series until 1973. Her last role of note was in two episodes of the BBC2 Playhouse series in 1980.

Since then she has retired from acting, having spent some years concentrating on motherhood. She made a rare television appearance on This is Your Life in 1995, celebrating the career of Desmond Llewelyn (her co-star in Follyfoot). In the 1970s she married actor Peter Whitbread after meeting him on the set of Follyfoot. They had a son Jake.


GoldenEye is a 1995 spy film, the seventeenth in the James Bond series produced by Eon Productions, and the first to star Pierce Brosnan as the fictional MI6 officer James Bond. It was directed by Martin Campbell and is the first in the series not to utilise any story elements from the works of novelist Ian Fleming. The story was conceived and written by Michael France, with later collaboration by other writers. In the film, Bond fights to prevent an ex-MI6 agent, gone rogue, from using a satellite against London to cause a global financial meltdown.

The film was released after a six-year hiatus in the series caused by legal disputes, during which Timothy Dalton resigned from the role of James Bond and was replaced by Pierce Brosnan. M was also recast, with actress Judi Dench becoming the first woman to portray the character, replacing Robert Brown. The role of Miss Moneypenny was also recast, with Caroline Bliss being replaced by Samantha Bond; Desmond Llewelyn was the only actor to reprise his role, as Q. It was the first Bond film made after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, which provided a background for the plot.

The film accumulated a worldwide gross of US$350.7 million, considerably better than Dalton's films, without taking inflation into account. It received positive reviews, with critics viewing Brosnan as a definite improvement over his predecessor. It also received award nominations for "Best Achievement in Special Effects" and "Best Sound" from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.The name "GoldenEye" pays homage to James Bond's creator, Ian Fleming. While working for British Naval Intelligence as a lieutenant commander, Fleming liaised with the Naval Intelligence Division to monitor developments in Spain after the Spanish Civil War in an operation codenamed Operation Goldeneye. Fleming used the name of this operation for his estate in Oracabessa, Jamaica.

List of James Bond film locations

This is a list of locations in which films of the James Bond series have been set and filmed (excepting only Never Say Never Again).

The countries Bond visits all over the world are almost always filmed on location. Only the following countries appear in Bond movies without these actually being shot on location: Cuba, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Yugoslavia, Albania, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Macau, China, Uganda, Madagascar, Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Vietnam, North Korea, South Korea, Bulgaria, and the USSR.

List of recurring actors and actresses in the James Bond film series

This is a list of actors and actresses that have appeared physically (but not always characteristically) in the Eon Productions series of the James Bond film series more than once.

List of recurring characters in the James Bond film series

This is a list of the recurring characters and the cast members who portray them in the James Bond film series.

List indicator(s)

A dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film.

The following listing only includes recurring characters in the films series. Characters which only appear in one film are not included here.

'M' and 'Q' are MI6 posts, not character names, so a change of actors may reflect an in-universe replacement; this was explicit for M in both GoldenEye (Judi Dench's character is referred to as a newcomer) and Skyfall (Ralph Fiennes' character, Gareth Mallory, replaces Dench's character as M), as well as Q in Die Another Day (John Cleese's character was an assistant to Desmond Llewellyn's Q in The World Is Not Enough). There is only one clear case of a single M, Q or Moneypenny character switching actor: when Q, Major Boothroyd, switches from Peter Burton (Dr. No) to Desmond Llewellyn (From Russia with Love).

Mario Milita

Mario Milita (June 26, 1923 – August 22, 2017) was an Italian actor and voice actor.

Operation Diplomat (film)

Operation Diplomat is a 1953 British drama film directed by John Guillermin and produced by Ernest G. Roy.

Peter Burton

Peter Ray Burton (4 April 1921 – 21 November 1989) was an English film and television actor.

Q (James Bond)

Q is a fictional character in the James Bond films and film novelisations. Q (standing for Quartermaster), like M, is a job title rather than a name. He is the head of Q Branch (or later Q Division), the fictional research and development division of the British Secret Service.

Q has appeared in 21 of the 24 Eon Productions's James Bond films, the exceptions being Live and Let Die, the 2006 Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. The character was also featured in both non-Eon Bond films, Casino Royale (1967) and Never Say Never Again (1983).

Saturday Playhouse

Saturday Playhouse was a 60-minute UK anthology television series produced by and airing on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) from 4 January 1958 until 1 April 1961. There were sixty-eight episodes, among them adaptations of the plays The Man Who Came to Dinner and The Cat and the Canary. One of the episodes, Alex Atkinson’s classic thriller Design for Murder, was featured twice on the BBC: first on Saturday Playhouse (Saturday, 15 March 1958; S1/Ep.6) and again from the BBC’s own theatre in Bristol (Thursday, 6 July 1961).Many actors performed for Saturday Playhouse, including:

Maxine Audley,

John Barrie,

Michael Bates,

Brian Blessed,

Jeremy Brett,

Michael Crawford,

Anton Diffring,

Paul Eddington,

Denholm Elliott,

Thora Hird,

Desmond Llewelyn,

Margaret Lockwood,

Leo McKern,

Bob Monkhouse,

Leslie Phillips,

Prunella Scales and

Elizabeth Shepherd, among others.Only a single episode is believed to have survived.

Suspense (UK TV series)

Suspense was a 1962–1963 BBC thriller anthology drama series. The series featured John Carson, Alex Scott as Dr. John Field, Margaret John as assistant matron, Desmond Llewelyn.

The Golden Lady

The Golden Lady is a British thriller film directed by José Ramón Larraz and starring Christina World, June Chadwick, Suzanne Danielle and Desmond Llewelyn. Filmed in 1978, it was released in 1979.

The Living Daylights

The Living Daylights is a 1987 British spy film, the fifteenth entry in the James Bond film series produced by Eon Productions, and the first to star Timothy Dalton as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. Directed by John Glen, the film's title is taken from Ian Fleming's short story The Living Daylights the plot of which also forms the basis of the first act of the film. It was the last film to use the title of an Ian Fleming story until the 2006 instalment Casino Royale.

The film was produced by Albert R. Broccoli, his stepson Michael G. Wilson, and his daughter, Barbara Broccoli. The Living Daylights was generally well received by most critics and was also a financial success, grossing $191.2 million worldwide.

The Pirates of Blood River

The Pirates of Blood River is a 1962 British action film directed by John Gilling and starring Kerwin Mathews, Glenn Corbett, Christopher Lee and Oliver Reed.

They Were Not Divided

They Were Not Divided is a 1950 British war film, which depicted the Guards Armoured Division in Second World War Europe. It was written and directed by Terence Young, a former Guards officer who served in the campaigns depicted in the film.

The cast consists of little known professional actors, and real soldiers with speaking parts. The male leads are Edward Underdown and Ralph Clanton with Michael Trubshawe. Two supporting actors who became famous later on are Christopher Lee as a tank commander, and Desmond Llewelyn as a tank gunner.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.