In September 2021 I produced the two-part documentary James Bond: Soundtrack Stories for BBC Radio 2 celebrating the music of the James Bond films. Hosted by film critic James King, it was broadcast alongside the release of the new Bond film, No Time To Die.
Part One: The Classic Years was dedicated to the first four decades of the franchise, from the 60s to the 90s. James spoke to the film’s producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson about how the tradition of the Bond theme came about and their memories of the early years when their father Cubby Broccoli was making the films. Composers Don Black and David Arnold talked about working with the legendary composer John Barry, whose sound helped define Bond, as well as some of the five Bond themes they’ve written between them. Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes discussed how they brought 80s glamour to Bond with View To A Kill and Sheryl Crow described how difficult it can be to write a song with nothing but a title like Tomorrow Never Dies to work from.
Part Two: The Craig Years marked the end of the Daniel Craig era, looking at the music from the five films he has starred in. Oscar-winning producer and songwriter Paul Epworth discussed the spooky circumstances behind how he composed Skyfall. James sits down with some of the cast of No Time Do Die to discuss their thoughts on the music of Bond – Rami Malek, Lashana Lynch and Jeffrey Wright. There’s a rare chance to hear from the man tasked with making the title sequences that go with the Bond theme songs, Daniel Kleinman. David Arnold reflects on writing You Know My Name with the much-missed Chris Cornell. James speaks to global pop sensation and performer of the theme for No Time To Die, Billie Eilish, alongside her co-writer and brother Finneas. And finally, we hear from the man himself, Daniel Craig, on how he feels about the music of Bond, remembering some of the highlights of being a part of the films and reflecting on his tenure coming to an end.
The production of this programme began in October 2019, when James and I were lucky enough to visit the No Time To Die set at Pinewood studios. Over the next six months all the interviews for the programme were recorded, ready to be broadcast in April 2020. However, when the first global lockdowns in response to the Covid-19 pandemic were brought in the film, and the programme were both postponed. After initially looking like it would be November 2020, eventually it was almost two years after James and I began making the programme that it was finally broadcast.
We filmed many of the interview which meant the Radio 2 social media and digital teams were able to make great accompanying visual content such as this:
It was a long wait for this one to finally be on-air, but I think it was worth it.
Hear extracts of the programmes here; Skyfall co-writer Paul Epworth / Daniel Craig’s memories of the music in his era of Bond / Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes on making A View To A Kill