Way back in 1964, the BBC aired a short film about Geoffrey Boothroyd, the pistol expert whose letter to James Bond franchise author Ian Fleming forever changed the super spy’s preferred weaponry and resulted in him being immortalized in the series as Bond’s chief weapons expert, Q.
The short film was also included on the 2007 Dr. No DVD, but it’s now available on the BBC Archives website, too. In a segment from the film that popped up on YouTube (embedded below), 1960s-era Sean Connery introduces Boothroyd, and then the pistol expert offers up a fascinating tour of the technology behind James Bond’s guns.
While it’s worth watching simply to see Connery in his James Bond prime, the segment also features Boothroyd’s own explanation of why he felt compelled to write a letter to Fleming about his character’s use of a “ladies gun” in Casino Royale. Their communication continued from that point, and Boothroyd played a major role in convincing Fleming to have Bond switch from a Beretta to the more appropriate Walther PPK (and a more sturdy holster).
Boothroyd went on to become Fleming’s go-to source for pistol information, and was eventually incorporated into the James Bond novels as a character named “Major Boothroyd.” The armourer from the government’s “Q Division” would eventually be referred to simply as “Q,” played by Peter Burton, Desmond Llewelyn, and in Pierce Brosnan’s final Bond appearance (Die Another Day), by popular comedian John Cleese.
You can watch the segment below, but the full show is available on the BBC website for readers in certain regions (not including the U.S., apparently).