`She’ll have our guts for garters!’

"Really, Mr. Bond...."

“Really, Mr. Bond….”

Margaret Thatcher, the first woman British prime minister, died April 8 at the age of 87. Her passing revived a debate about her political career and impact on the U.K.

Us? Besides all that we were reminded about her sort-of-appearance as a Bond woman in the person of actress Janet Brown (1923-2011).

The Bond movies, when producer Albert R. Broccoli was at the helm, avoided politics generally. We’d occasionally hear references to “the P.M.” or “the Prime Minister” for the U.K. or “the President” for the U.S. But you never saw the person holding the office, even from a rear or obscured view.

That changed in a big way with 1981’s For Your Eyes Only, which came out early in Thatcher’s tenure. After Bond (Roger Moore) wasn’t able to bring in a Cuban hitman alive for questioning, the Defence Minister proclaims, referring to the P.M., “She’ll have our guts for garters!” Few in the audience needed an additional explanation, given Thatcher’s reputation as a tough leader.

But the film’s ending, with 007 having successfully keeping a critical device out of Soviet hands, went where no Bond film had gone before.

Q sets up a satellite call between the P.M. to congratulate Bond herself. 007, after a rough mission, would prefer spending some quality time with heroine Melina (Carole Bouquet) and leaves his watch/communications device with Melina’s parrot.

Then, we see what’s supposed to be the exterior of No. 10 Downing Street. But this time, there’s no obscurred view. We see Janet Brown as Thatcher on the phone, thinking she’s congratulating Bond. For an added bonus, actor John Wells shows up as Thatcher’s husband, Denis.

It’s a slapstick sequence that stands out in a movie that made a concerted effort to be a “back to basics” 007 story after 1979’s Moonraker. The film’s long climatic sequence had been tense, so evidently Broccoli & Co. felt a longer laugh was called for. In any event, no Bond movie ever tried anything like this since involving an actual politician.

Anyway, here it is (at least until it gets yanked from YouTube):

Who were the 007 women standing with a clipboard?

Barbara Broccoli, co-boss of Eon Production, which produces 007 movies, gave an interview that generated a long story in the London Evening Standard. Many of Broccoli’s quotes have been chewed over. One passage caught our eye:

Barbara Broccoli

We can also credit Broccoli with tackling the sexism of 007. “Fortunately, the days of Bond girls standing around with a clipboard are over,” she says drily.

The writer, Liz Hoggard, doesn’t appear to have pressed Broccoli for specific examples of “clipobard” Bond girls. The Eon co-boss gives a pass in general to 007 heroines of the early movies: “Actually, when you read the early books, and watch the early films, the women were very interesting, exotic, complicated people. I always get into such an issue when I talk about these things. But they were pretty strong in their own right.” (emphasis added)

Broccoli specifically exempts Ursula Andress’s Honey Rider and Honor Blackman’s Pussy Galore. But that still begs the question — who were the “clipboard” Bond heroines?

For argument’s sake, let’s skip the first six Eon Bond films (five of which were relatively faithful adapations of Ian Fleming novels) and survey the possibilities. We’ll also skip the Casino Royale-Quantum of Solace reboot because Broccoli and her half-brother, Michael G. Wilson, remolded the franchise as they wished. Without further ado:

Tiffany Case (Jill St. John): Tiffany starts out Diamonds Are Forever as a tough, shrewd character but does engage in some slapstick before the 7th Eon 007 film ends.

Solitaire (Jane Seymour): Virginal with apparent supernatural powers (prior to having sex), Solitaire didn’t show a lot of self-defense skills.

Mary Goodnight (Britt Ekland): Played mostly for laughs in The Man With The Golden Gun.

Major Anya Amasova (Barbara Bach): Top agent of the KGB, the female lead of the Spy Loved Me was the first “Bond’s equal” character.

Holly Goodhead (Lois Chiles): An astronaut *and* a CIA agent. Another “Bond’s equal” character. Bond needs her to fly a Moonraker shuttle to Drax’s space station. As noted in a reader comment below, she was holding a clipboard. But she’s neither helpless nor ditzy.

Melina Havelock (Carole Bouquet): Young woman seeking revenge for her slain parents and carries a mean crossbow.

Octopussy (Maud Adams): Successful businesswoman and smuggler.

Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts): A professional woman (a geologist) but not always very self-aware (a noisy blimp sneaks up on her).

Kara Milovy (Maryam d’Abo):A talented musician but has a tendency to be manipulated by men.

Pam Bouvier (Carey Lowell): One-time CIA agent and skilled pilot.

Natalya Simonova (Izabella Scorupco): Russian computer programmer, Bond can’t defeat the former 006 without her help.

Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh): Ace Chinese secret agent, another “Bond’s equal” character.

Dr. Christmas Jones (Denise Richards): Another professional woman (skilled in dealing with nuclear weapons), though many fans felt casting of Richards undercut that.

Jinx Johnson (Halle Berrry): Operative for the U.S. NSA, yet another “Bond’s equal” character.