Will there ever be a gay James Bond? And, intriguingly, is he already bisexual?
Bond has been a symbol of heterosexual male virility for 62 years, ever since he was created by Ian Fleming in 1953.
And this heterosexuality was closely guarded.
When George Lazenby played Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, he claims the producers were so worried he may be gay they had him sleep with a woman.
‘They sent a girl up to my apartment to make sure I wasn’t gay,’ Lazenby said.
‘A little while later they had their answer. I sure as hell wasn’t.’
Today, as the new film Spectre is launched, Roger Moore, the man who played Bond in more films than anyone else, said 007 could never be gay.
Pierce Brosnan, another veteran Bond, when asked the same question initially supported a gay 007, saying ‘why not?’ and adding ‘it would certainly make for interesting viewing’.
But he believes Barbara Broccoli, the James Bond producer, wouldn’t consent her lifetime.
Ian Fleming’s original books have gay references but nothing pro-gay. This was a time when the intelligence community associated homosexuality with corruption, particularly due to Britain’s Cambridge spy scandal of the early 50s.
In the book of You Only Live Twice, Fleming references this scandal saying Bond had to give evidence against a gay spy bureau chief.
Despite all this, the 24 films and six decades of Bond have given us some memorable gay moments, and a few, lesser known, fleeting glimpses of LGBTI life.
Here we mark the release of Spectre with a run down of every single one of them.
1 Mr Wint and Mr Kidd
The most overt gay couple in Bond history are villainous duo Mr Wint (the short one) and Mr Kidd (the balding one) in Diamonds are Forever.
When Kidd suggests a female character is attractive ‘for a lady’, he gets the most withering look from Wint.
These two star henchmen hold hands, finish each other’s sinister sentences and kill old women without mercy.
Kidd’s moustache is a character in its own right.
In this scene – just 2minutes 27seconds of classic Bond carnage – they kill a diamond smuggling dentist with a scorpion, blow up a helicopter and then walk off into the moonlight, hand-in-hand.
2 Silva touches up Bond in Skyfall
Is Daniel Craig’s Bond bisexual?
Skyfall revitalized the franchise and contained a few shocks.
One of the biggest, saw fans speculate about the spy’s sexuality because of a scene in which Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem (who plays the villain Raoul Silva) engage in some homoeroticism.
Silva has had 007 tied up and as he confronts the sexy agent, he caresses Bond’s bare chest and strokes his thighs.
When Raoul suggests this is the first time James has been handled in such a way by another man, Bond replies: ‘What makes you think this is my first time?’
He added: ‘I don’t see the world in sexual divisions.’ As far as Silva’s sexuality, Craig said: ‘Someone suggested that Silva may be gay. And I’m like, I think he’ll fuck anything.
‘It the right thing to say, and that way that Javier plays it is so great. He plays it for real, and he plays it to the limit. He never forgets that he’s playing a Bond villain. I love that scene. It makes me laugh. I hope it makes you laugh.’
3 My name is Pussy Galore
Who could forget foxy Honor Blackman’s entrance as Bond wakes up on Goldfinger’s private jet? Her stunning visage comes into focus, Connery asks her name and she replies: ‘My name is Pussy Galore.’
The best bits from the novel didn’t quite trickle into the Goldfinger film. The fact Pussy’s circus-meets-crime organization is made up entirely of lesbians and called The Cement Mixers wasn’t screen friendly.
However, it was considered acceptable for 007 to rape Pussy Galore in a barn.
Pussy repeatedly rejects Bond’s advances, valiantly tries to fight him off and then ends up pinned under him.
She then changes sides, deserting Goldfinger to help Bond. Has she been ‘converted’ from lesbianism (offensive) or has her natural bisexuality been revealed?
4 The beautiful Ben Whishaw
What would Bond be without Q and what would the modern franchise be without Ben Whishaw, who joined as Q for Skyfall?
In 2013, Whishaw revealed he was gay, and had married his long-term partner, Australian composer Mark Bradshaw, in a ceremony in Sydney in 2012.
5 Cross-dressing Blofeld
There is no greater Bond villain than Ernst Stavro Blofeld. His pussy-stroking ways and pool of piranhas are the stuff of legend.
But not everyone’s a fan of his campest moment of all. In Diamonds are Forever, Blofeld manages an escape by wearing an old lady dress, full make up and a Dolly Parton wig.
6 James Bond’s ‘outspoken’ gay friend
Bond books are still being written, long after Fleming’s death. And why not – the real Bond would be in his 90s by now.
Anthony Horowitz, the author of the latest Bond novel Trigger Mortis, has added ‘little twists’ to make the secret agent more modern
‘I also gave him a very outspoken gay friend, who chides him and says “come on Bond, you’re living in the 20th century now not the Middle Ages,’ Horowitz revealed.
7 Charles Gray and his Russian lover
Charles Gray is superbly camp as Henderson, a Western ex-pat living in Japan in You Only Live Twice.
He greets Bond wearing a kimono and provides vital information – as well a vodka martini. Sean Connery’s Bond congratulates him on having access to Russian vodka and Henderson replies: ‘I get it from the doorman at the Russian Embassy, amongst certain other things.’
We never get to find out more. Seconds later, he is stabbed in the back through the traditional Japanese paper wall by an unseen assassin.
8 The flirty henchman with bad hair
Anatole Taubman plays henchman Elvis – the one with the unfortunate bowl-cut – in Quantum of Solace.
He likes killing people, he likes Tosca… does he also like his fellow hired thug?
As he listens to Puccini’s soaring music, he turns round to the other henchman with a shy but saucy smile.
Is this the subtlest gay moment in the Bond franchise?
9 Torture scene in Casino Royale
Some argue the torture scene in Casino Royale is homoerotic. Others say anyone who finds the idea of Daniel Craig’s testicles being whipped erotic is sick. You decide. (Scene may not be suitable for work.)
10 Sam Smith’s Bond love song
You may think you couldn’t top the Bond theme classics belted out by Shirley Bassey for gay appeal.
But in Sam Smith’s new Bond song delivers a gender-neutral love song from an out and very proud gay singer.
And it is an indisputable hit, if not a critical success. Almost unbelievably, it’s the first Bond theme to reach number one in the UK singles chart.
Spectre is released in the UK today (26 October) and in the US on 6 November.
Additional reporting: Rob Gershinson.