I first saw Desmond back in 1990 at the James Bond Fan Club Convention at Pinewood Studios. In the following years I saw him on numerous occasions at various events, always promoting the Bond films and generously giving his time and attention to the hordes of fans who wished to talk to him and obtain his autograph. I was never the type of fan who yearned for autographs, it was always pleasure enough just to be in the same room and see people like Desmond. I had seen him at the Premiere of 'The World is not Enough' in Leicester Square, attracting a huge cheer from the press and fans when he arrived. The next time I saw him, a long queue of fans were waiting in the rain outside a bookstore in London's West End. I popped into the shop, pretending to browse but really wanting to get another glimpse of the man who was 'Q'. Later the same afternoon, he appeared at another signing. This was at the entrance to the 'Licence To Thrill' ride in the Trocadero Centre in London, with his co-author Sandy Hernu and 'Essential Bond' author Dave Worrall.
|Sandy Hernu, Desmond Llewelyn and Dave Worrall|
I spoke briefly to Dave, bought a copy of the book and stood in line. And so it was on the 11th December 1999 that I finally plucked up the courage to ask Desmond for his autograph. Once I was at the front of the queue I told him my name and said something like 'It's a pleasure to talk to you at last, Desmond'. He said 'Thank you' and signed my book for me. Just a few second's, but a moment I will long remember. I hung around for a few more minutes and then left. The following week we all heard the dreadful news about Desmond's death in a car crash, after returning from a similar book signing in Sussex. His final words in 'The World is not Enough' ran through my mind. "Always have an escape plan". What a chilling epitaph, words that could have been written by Ian Fleming himself.
My very personal copy of 'Q-The Biography of Desmond Llewelyn' is now one of my most cherished 'Bond' possessions, a special memento of a unique actor and a wonderful man.
God bless you Desmond, and thank you for all the good times.
Desmond Llewelyn at the Trocadero Centre, London with Sandy Hernu (11th December 1999)
Please note: The 'Licence To Thrill' ride in London has now closed.
Click here for a report on the Desmond Llewelyn Memorial Service