In the lead up to the broadcast of ‘Thunderball‘, BBC Radio 4 will air a special 30-minute documentary presented by comedian Miles Jupp on Saturday, 10th December, 2016 at 10:30AM (GMT). ‘The Women Who Invented James Bond?‘ examine’s the relatively unknown story behind writer Phyllis Bottome, and her role and influence in transforming Ian Fleming into a highly successful novelist.
The documentary suggests that the late Fleming may have based the character of James Bond on another fictional spy in a book by the late novelist, Phyllis Bottome, his friend and mentor. Bottome, who encourage Fleming to write, released her novel ‘The Lifeline’ in 1946, which follows the adventures of Mark Chalmers, a British spy. Both Bond and Chalmers share the same height, hair colour, tastes in food and wine, and an expertise in Alpine sports.
Fleming’s biographer John Pearson, however, is not convinced, stating that “The Lifeline and Casino Royale are such different books.” Regardless, it seems that Phyllis Bottome had a considerable influence on Ian Fleming and his career.