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26th Oct 2023

Brian Cox says James Bond shouldn’t be changed because we ‘don’t muck about with Shakespeare’

Charlie Herbert

Brian Cox James Bond

‘We don’t muck around with Shakespeare; we shouldn’t muck around with James Bond’

Brian Cox has said he doesn’t think the James Bond novels should be altered to cater for modern sensitivities.

Earlier this year, it was reported that some of Ian Fleming’s famous 007 books would have disclaimers in the front and would be edited to make their language more suitable for modern audiences.

But Succession star Brian Cox has said the books shouldn’t be ‘mucked around’ with, comparing them to Shakespeare’s work.

The actor features as the Controller in new Bond-themed reality TV show 007: Road to a Million.

The show sees teams of two race around the world and answer questions for their shot at a big cash prize.

Speaking to the Radio Times about the James Bond books and movies and the discussions around whether they should be altered in any way, Cox said disclaimers in the books is fine, but that’s as far as it should go.

He said: “We don’t muck around with Shakespeare; we shouldn’t muck around with James Bond.”

The 77-year-old argued that by seeing and hearing problematic and offensive language in media and literature is okay because “the only way we can understand who we are is by acknowledging our history.”

The Telegraph reported in February that Fleming’s novels were to be republished to mark the 70th anniversary of the release of the first book in the series, Casino Royale.

As part of this republication process, Ian Fleming Publications Ltd commissioned a review by sensitivity readers to see whether certain words or phrases should be removed.

Each Bond book will now have this disclaimer in the front: “This book was written at a time when terms and attitudes which might be considered offensive by modern readers were commonplace.

“A number of updates have been made in this edition, while keeping as close as possible to the original text and the period in which it is set.”

Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels have been altered to remove offensive language (Getty)

These edits include the removal of racist language. For example, where the n-word had been used in original publications, this has been replaced with the word ‘Black.’

Mentions of the ethnicity of side characters has also been removed.

In a statement, Ian Fleming Publications said: “We at Ian Fleming Publications reviewed the text of the original Bond books and decided our best course of action was to follow Ian’s lead.

“We have made changes to Live and Let Die that he himself authorised.

“Following Ian’s approach, we looked at the instances of several racial terms across the books and removed a number of individual words or else swapped them for terms that are more accepted today but in keeping with the period in which the books were written.”

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