The Double 0 Section

Everyone knows that Commander James Bond has the designation 007 and is a member of the elite Double 0 section. This gives him a "licence to kill", although it has never been made clear precisely what these means, especially since in the novels it is made clear that Bond had to kill twice in order to become a Double 0 agent. However, whatever it means, the Double 0 agents exist and Bond is not the only one of them.

the novels
Fleming's third novel, "Moonraker", makes clear that there are only three Double 0 agents. Bond is the most senior of the three. The others are 008 (named as Bill who is resting in Berlin) and 0011 (who has been missing in Singapore for two months). The three men share an office and a secretary, in the form of Loelia Ponsonby (who was later replaced by Mary Goodnight).

008 is mentioned again in "Goldfinger" when it is suggested that he would replace Bond in investigating Goldfinger if 007 is killed. However, over the course of Fleming's novels there is some change in the personnel of the Double 0 section. In "Thunderball" 009 is made acting head of the section while Bond is on sick leave in Shrublands, while in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" there is a reference to 006 who is an ex-Royal Marine commando.

The writers who have carried on the Bond novels after Fleming have also made use of other Double 0 agents. "Colonel Sun" features Stuart Thomas, a Welshman who used to be 005 until an eye defect forced his retirement and who is now head of Station G (Greece). He reappears in "The Facts of Death". Also in "The Facts of Death" M chooses to have Bond investigate the death of her lover rather than 004. 0012 is then given as the designation of the agent killed trying to retrieve Sir Robert King's money in Raymond Benson's novelisation of The World Is Not Enough.

the movies
In contrast to the novels, the Bond movies have made extensive use of Double 0 agents. The following is a list of all of those to have appeared or been mentioned.

002: Bill Fairbanks, who was killed by Francisco Scaramanga whilst in the arms of a bellydancer in Beirut in 1969. (The Man With the Golden Gun.) A later 002 took part in the exercise attack on Gibraltar. (The Living Daylights. Played by Glyn Baker. The designation 002 is never mentioned on screen during the film, but is given in the credits.)

003: Killed in Siberia while carrying a microchip which was smuggled out of a Soviet factory. The microchip is inside a locket, together with a photograph which implies that he has a wife and child. (A View To A Kill. Only appears as a corpse which is not credited).

004: Murdered by a supposed KGB assassin during an exercise on Gibraltar. (The Living Daylights. Played by Frederick Warder).

006: Alec Trevelyan. Believed killed by Russian Colonel Ourumov during an attack on the Arkhangel chemical warfare facility in the late 80s. However, he later reappeared as head of the Janus organisation. (Goldeneye. Played by Sean Bean).

007: Cdr James Bond. Need I say more?

008: Agent with whom M threatens to replace Bond in investigating Goldfinger when he thinks that Bond may turn it into a personal vendetta to avenge the murder of Jill Masterson. When it appears that Goldfinger is going to kill him with a strategically placed laser beam, Bond mentions that 008 will then take over. (Goldfinger; doesn't actually appear). 008 appears to be M's favourite back-up agent; M later threatens to recall him from Hong Kong to undertake the assassination of General Pushkin when Bond appears unwilling. 008 doesn't know Pushkin and "follows orders, not instincts".(The Living Daylights; again doesn't appear).

009: Killed by Mishka and Grishka, the knife-throwing twins, in East Berlin, making a spectacular entrance to the British Embassy dressed as a clown and carrying a Fabergé egg. (Octopussy. Played by Andy Bradford). A subsequent 009 was employed by M following a request for help from Sir Robert King following the kidnapping of his daughter. 009 was sent to kill Renard, the terrorist responsible. The result of the mission was that Renard remained alive, but with 009's bullet lodged in his skull. (Mentioned in The World Is Not Enough).

In addition, Thunderball features a meeting in the MI6 conference room attended by every Double 0 agent in Europe. There are nine chairs, of which Bond sits in the seventh from the right. This appears to imply that there are nine Double 0 agents at this point (although I'm not sure how this fits in with Moneypenny's Europe reference). We don't get a clear view of most of the other people sat in the chairs, but we see that one is bearded (perhaps 006 since he is sat to the left of Bond) and another is apparently a woman but it is not obvious which one. A similar meeting occurs in The World Is Not Enough following a bomb blast at MI6 headquarters and the death of Sir Robert King. A group of people are briefed, including Bond. Raymond Benson's novelisation mentions that this is a group of Double 0 agents, although this is not confirmed on screen.

It is interesting to note that The Living Daylights takes the record for the most interest in Double 0 agents (apart from the Thunderball scene mentioned above) with three agents appearing (including Bond) and another mentioned. It was also one of three consecutive films in the 80s featured the death of a Double 0 agent near the start as a plot point (Octopussy, A View To A Kill and The Living Daylights).

The Bond Film Informant was compiled by Matthew Newton. © Copyright MJ Newton. No part of this site may be reproduced without permission unless otherwise stated.

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