After lots of train journeys, the idea for the new Sherlock series was apparently hatched in Monte Carlo where the producer (who is also Moffat’s wife) Sue Vertue took Moffat and Gatiss out for lunch. In an interview, Moffat draws parallels between the updating of Casino Royale (partly set in Monte Carlo) and the updating of the Sherlock Holmes stories. But rewatching Casino Royale this evening, I was struck by a number of even more glaring connections between A Scandal in Belgravia and the 2006 Bond franchise re-boot: (MAJOR SPOILERS for both)
Both figuratively and literally – Sherlock and Irene trade cursory summations of character and motivation as James and Vesper do over dinner on the train. Bond’s line about how his lamb was “skewered, one sympathises” conveys a similar wit to Moffat’s script. Later we see that both Bond and Vesper have acquired outfits for the evening based on flawless interpretations by the other of their vital statistics, perhaps most impressively with Bond’s fine tailored suit. Presumably that involved more than three measurements…
Even from the source literature, Irene Adler and Vesper Lynd have similarities, singled out as ‘the woman’ and ‘the girl’ – the one that gets closer to our heroes’ hearts than anyone else. While Bond gets far more girls of course, Vesper was perhaps a real weakness. Is it stretching a point to say that Eva Green and Lara Pulver look more than a little alike? Both actresses were born in 1980 – apparently Eva is two inches taller than Lara – I haven’t compared any other vital stats.
Perhaps a bit tenuous, but Bond dies needing to be shocked back to life by Vesper. How far does Adler fake being dead? She seems to convince Sherlock, making me wonder if she is physically there on the slab but drugged/made up to look dead. He observed her body closely enough to notice a replacement, so unless he’s just playing along with her conceit, he actually gets taken in enough to play sad songs on the violin. Later Vesper is in peril, or is she? Bond (or her allegiance with the bad guys) saves her, only for her to die later, causing real heartache for Bond. I wait to see how far this is mirrored in Sherlock.
Destroy that ‘plane
Both the Skyfleet ‘Plane in Casino Royale and the jumbo jet in Scandal are set for destruction but actually survive. Both were part of a complicated plot that doesn’t quite come off. The mentions of 007 and Bond Air are quite explicit here, although the audio commentary references a missing scene from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service as having the original ‘train of the dead’ idea.
The name code
Bond’s password for the bank account is VESPER, while Adler’s ‘phone has been SHERLOCKED. Both of these codes require numbers for letters, the ELLIPSIS code earlier in Casino Royale opens the security door in a similar way although Adler’s Blackberry style ‘phone presumably allows the actual input of letters.
Other possibilities include the nudity (or partial nudity for attention, in Daniel Craig’s Ursula Andress moment). Bond discards his Mr Beech alias about as quickly as Sherlock forgets his priest’s name. There’s lots of game playing and bluffing although I don’t know if Sherlock is a poker fiend. Both women pretend not to be interested, but that’s pretty standard I guess. M’s real name is nearly revealed but I doubt it is quite Mycroft, though the two characters perform similar roles in trying to keep Bond and Sherlock in line. Judi Dench has great Queen credentials. I’m not sure free-running and boomerang throwing quite compare but I’ve probably missed something. What else was there?