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Bill Tanner is MI6's Chief of Staff. He appears in the 1981 James Bond film For Your Eyes Only portrayed by James Villiers.


Tanner gives James Bond his assignment (along with Sir Fredrick Gray), which sends him to find Hector Gonzales. Bond is unable to get information from Gonzales later on because Melina Havelock kills him after Bond is captured. Tanner then gets upset at him for not getting any information and letting Melina murder him. Tanner is last seen at the end of the film, when he connects the Prime Minister and Bond by phone. Unknowingly though, Bond is not there and it is merely a talking parrot that ends up "flirting" with the Prime Minister. 

Behind the scenes

In 1981, James Villiers took on the role for For Your Eyes Only (1981). In January 1981, four months into the filming of For Your Eyes Only and before any of his scenes could be filmed, Bernard Lee (M) died of cancer.[1] Out of respect, no new actor was hired to assume the role and, instead, the script was re-written so that the character is said to be on leave, with his lines given to either Bill Tanner or the Minister of Defence, Sir Fredrick Gray.[2] As a result, Tanner has a bigger role than his previous appearance. In Octopussy, the role of M was recast with Robert Brown, so Tanner did not appear.

See also


  1. "Obituary: Mr Bernard Lee", 19 January 1981, p. 12. Retrieved on 4 January 2012. 
  2. (1998) The essential Bond. London: Boxtree Ltd, p.98. ISBN 978-0-7522-2477-0. 

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