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Friday August 17th 2018

For Your Eyes Only | 1981

You Only Live Twice filming location: Aghia Triatha, Meteora, Greece
For Your Eyes Only location: the mountaintop monastery: Aghia Triatha, Meteora, Greece | Photograph: iStockphoto © Volkan Ersoy

One of the better of the later Bonds – after a cringeworthy opening teaser, which sees a ‘wacky’ Blofeld character being dumped into an industrial chimney – using the old North Thames gasworks site at Beckton in east London, which famously subbed for ‘Vietnam’ in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket and – perhaps not so famously – for 'Japan' in in Steven Spielberg's Empire Of The Sun. The site, which was just to the northeast of what is now London City Airport, has since been redeveloped.

You Only Live Twice location: St Giles Churchyard, Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire
For Your Eyes Only location: Bond visits Tracy’s grave: St Giles Churchyard, Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire

The churchyard, in which Bond (Roger Moore) visits the grave of Tracy di Vicenzo-Bond, is St Giles Church, Church Lane, Stoke Poges in Buckinghamshire. You can’t see Tracy’s grave, of course, but you will find that of poet Thomas Gray, whose Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard was supposedly written about – and in – St Giles’ peaceful grounds.

The same location is featured in Ronald Neame’s I Could Go On Singing – the final film of Judy Garland.

The church is a stone’s throw away from Stoke Park Club – site of the golf match in Goldfinger and the interior of the ‘Hamburg’ hotel in Tomorrow Never Dies.

For Your Eyes Only filming location: Ministry of Defence, Horseguards Avenue, London
For Your Eyes Only location: the mining of a ship causes concern: Ministry of Defence, Horseguards Avenue, London

The mining of a spy ship in the Ionian Sea upsets the British Ministry of Defence. Those really are the ministry’s reassuringly solid doors on Whitehall Court, London SW1, which you can see again in Tom Cruise sci-fi Edge Of Tomorrow (Live Die Repeat).

On to Greece, where Melina’s parents are gunned down on their yacht in Corfu Harbour.

At north Italian winter sports resort Cortina d’Ampezzo (location for the original Pink Panther), in the Dolomites, Bond stays at the Miramonti Majestic Grand Hotel, localita Pezie 32043.

He meets arch-baddie Kristatos (Julian Glover) at the Olympic Ice Stadium, Via dello Stadio, built, like many of Cortina’s facilities, for the 1956 Winter Olympics. As was the now unused Olympic Ski Jump and the Bobsleigh Run which feature in the ensuing chases.

After a brief sojourn on the island of Corfu, Bond and Melina set off in search of ‘St Cyril’s’. First stop is a wedding party staged at Bouas-Danilia Village, an authentic-looking, but fake, tourist attraction, which stood about five miles north of Corfu Town, off the Paleokastrita Road, but has since closed.

The location used for ‘St Cyril’s’ is far less accessible.

The dazzling mountaintop monastery is at Meteora, 2 km north of Kalambaka in central Greece. There are actually five of the original 24 monasteries remaining perched on vertiginous pinnacles. They were built in such inaccessible places during the Serbian-Byzantine wars of the 14th century, when the only access was by removable wooden ladders.

They can now be visited (by those with a good head for heights and suitably restrained clothing – which can be hired, if your Bermuda shorts are a bit too risqué) via steps and ramps.

The monastery featured in the film is Aghia Triatha (Holy Trinity), reached by a circular staircase of 139 steps. The inhabitants of the other monasteries, none too keen on the intrusion of a film crew, reportedly hung out their washing to disrupt shooting.