Without Q branch James Bond would have surely been killed on only his second assignment. It's only using Q’s attaché briefcase that saves his life a number of times throughout From Russia With Love. Indeed, James Bond’s life has been saved many times throughout the series with gadgets supplied by Q branch. Assigned to produce gadgetry to assist 00 agents ‘in the field’, Q branch is headed by Q, or Quartermaster. From 1963 in From Russia With Love until 1999 in The World Is Not Enough, Major Boothroyd, played by legend Desmond Llewelyn, has starred as the famous Q. Die Another Day saw John Cleese take the role of Q, after being introduced in The World Is Not Enough as ‘R’, Q's assistant to replace him after his character retired from MI6 service. Sadly, Desmond Llewelyn passed away on 19th December 1999 in a road accident at the age of 85 - he will not be forgotten.
Featuring wild, wacky, bizarre and outrageous gadgets, Q branch has certainly produced a wide multitude of gadgets to assist any 00 agent. It has always been Q's intention that his creations be returned, intact. Consequently, Bond frequently makes quips to Q when most of his gadgets are destroyed or returned in battle worn condition.
As the James Bond films have progressed so has the technology of the gadgets. In From Russia With Love, Bond uses a pager and a phone inside his car. These so called gadgets might be scoffed at now, but at the time of the film these where state-of-the-art technological marvels. From the first digital watch ever seen, appearing in Live and Let Die to the mobile phone remote control for the BMW 750i, one thing is certain - even today's most advanced gadgetry will be obsolete some time in the future. §