Your browser is out of date. Some of the content on this site will not work properly as a result.
Upgrade your browser for a faster, better, and safer web experience.

“Hell of a conjuror was Roger”

Madeline Smith (Miss Caruso) and Roger Moore (James Bond) in Live and Let Die.

Madeline Smith (Miss Caruso) and Roger Moore (James Bond) in Live and Let Die.

“Technically I am Roger Moore’s first Bond girl. My part in Live and Let Die was, let’s face it, little more than a glorified extra. I played an Italian agent James Bond had smuggled into the country. We were in bed when M and Miss Moneypenny arrive and I have to hide in the closet to avoid a diplomatic incident. It’s a silly scene, but it is the introductory one in his very first Bond film.

It’s actually hard to imagine now, but it was definitely possible there weren’t even going to be any more Bond films. The Bond saga at the time was in the most terrible doldrums. They’d really toppled off the tree with that Lazenby one [On Her Majesty’s Secret Service]. The producers were so distraught that Sean Connery had disappeared, it looked like that was the end of the road. And it was Roger – wonderful, wonderful, Roger – who brought it back to life. No question.

You can see what Roger brought to the role immediately. He had such a sense of humour. Our scene ends with Bond taking me out of the cupboard and then unzipping my dress with his magnetic watch. I’m very rarely ever mentioned except in a context of that zip. The reality was far less glamorous. They’d done all their locations, gone to all those exciting places and this was the dregs: Monday morning, Pinewood Studios in rainy January.

It was shot with Derek Meddings, a marvellous and very famous special-effects guy, and it was really beneath his dignity. He was used to orchestrating all these dramatic explosions and there he was laying between my legs, under that dreadful blue dress, pulling on a bit of fishing wire which ran down the zip. So when Roger was doing his thing around my neck, Derek was yanking by my feet. It was the same on the Hammer horror films I was doing at the time: somebody had to hold the paper moon to stop it from wiggling about.

I don’t think we had many straight faces during those three days: all the silly tomfoolery with the zip and Roger was always joking. So there was lots and lots of giggling. The funniest thing was while Roger and I were romping in the bed, his wife at the time, Luisa, an Italian beauty, was looking on unimpressed. She was always there, at the foot of the bed. Glaring. But Roger had the ability to spread bonhomie everywhere and make you feel good, even at the ghastly hour of five or six in the morning.

“We all loved him. And mourn him. It’s not that he was a goody-goody.
He was just a thoroughly nice man”

Underneath the jokes was quite a serious guy. Roger felt very strongly about certain issues. You can see that in his Unicef work. He was a great ambassador for them. He often invited me to his one-man shows and he would always find a way to mention Unicef – not in a preachy way but with a positivity that was infectious.

I saw him many times over the years. At Elstree or Pinewood Studios, at his one-man shows, other little events and birthdays as he crept through to his eighties. Always a cuddle.

It’s funny that we are still talking about my little part, adorable as it was, 40 years later. I can remember Roger saying to me on set, ‘Of course, your real job is going to be what you do next’ – because I was going to do a play with Alec Guinness for a year. Back then nobody cared about you being a Bond girl. The fame – or infamy, if you like – that I’ve had since then has really come about because of the way that the world is now.

I am so fond of that scene. I look at it now, and I think, ‘That really works.’ And it works because of him. I’ve see other stuff that I’ve done, and think, ‘Ouch. That didn’t work.’ Maybe the other person was a grump, or we didn’t really get on, or there was no magic. But he really did make magic everywhere. Hell of a conjuror was Roger.

I have no scandal. He was a delightful bloke, with no airs. He didn’t put it about, and wasn’t promoting himself heavily. A lovely, self-effacing man. I have nothing to say other than good, cheerful things. We all loved him. And mourn him. It’s not that he was a goody-goody. He was just a thoroughly nice man. And gorgeous to boot. What a hunk.”

A slower, more reflective type of journalism”
Creative Review

Jam-packed with information... a counterpoint to the speedy news feeds we've grown accustomed to”
Creative Review

A leisurely (and contrary) look backwards over the previous three months”
The Telegraph

Quality, intelligence and inspiration: the trilogy that drives the makers of Delayed Gratification”
El Mundo

Refreshing... parries the rush of 24-hour news with 'slow journalism'”
The Telegraph

A very cool magazine... It's like if Greenland Sharks made a newspaper”
Qi podcast

The UK's second-best magazine” Ian Hislop
Editor, Private Eye
Private Eye Magazine

Perhaps we could all get used to this Delayed idea...”
BBC Radio 4 - Today Programme