Skyfall and the Fighting Temeraire!

Date Posted: 31/10/2012

So there I was, watching Skyfall, slightly disappointed that M didn’t do a Mobot when she first came on screen when, would you believe it, Bond meets the new Q in Room 34 of the National Gallery, in front of The Fighting Temeraire, the painting which is the subject of the first of my Hearts of Oak Trilogy.

The painting shows the mighty sailing warship HMS Temeraire being towed, on her last journey up the Thames to a shipbreaker’s yard in Rotherhythe. And this mighty sailing warship is being towed by a steam tug, as the sun sets on the scene. This is the painting which won the Radio4 vote for ‘The Nation’s Favourite Painting’ in 2005, fighting off Constable’s The Hay Wain and numerous others…Monet’s Manet’s Van Gogh’s, Stubbs…and it won the vote by a landslide.

In Skyfall Bond and Q share a moment or two thinking about it – and really it lies at the heart of the film’s plot. A grand old lady in the sunset of her years – we have M in her last movie, struggling to fight off the political ship breakers – and we also have Bond as an ageing fighter being usurped by modern technology, and the fear associated with an unknown future.

All good stuff of course. We have past, present and future Bonds all colliding [and exploding at once]. But I just can’t shake the idea that the new M should have been Mo Farah, feet crossed on the desk, medals out, Mobot on.