Charles Robinson is a fictional MI6 aide and Deputy Chief of Staff who appears in the James Bond films Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002). He is portrayed by British actor Colin Salmon.
Robinson fulfilled much the same role as Bill Tanner, bringing Bond up to speed on the latest events and the parameters of his mission.
Robinson serves as the intermediary between Bond, the command center (headed by M and Admiral Roebuck) and the support ship HMS Chester as the latter infiltrated a terrorist arms bazaar on the Russian border, part of a joint operation between that country and the United Kingdom. Bond's mission was simply to perform reconnaissance before the Chester launched a cruise missile that would kill "half the world's terrorists," according to M.
However, upon the agent's discovery of a pair of SB5 nuclear torpedoes affixed to one of the aircraft being sold at the bazaar, a shocked Robinson immediately phoned the Chester and ordered them to abort the missile. It was out of range and Bond, hearing this from Robinson, sprang into action and managed to evacuate the torpedoes moments before impact. The command center initially believed, due to the destruction of their cameras in the area by the blast, that he had been unsuccessful. Bond then radioed the center and asked where the admiral would like the armaments delivered.
A short time later, after Bond had returned to England, Robinson accompanied him, Moneypenny and M as the agent was briefed on his next mission: to investigate the actions of media mogul Elliot Carver and his relation to the sinking of the HMS Devonshire, a ship that had been seemingly sunk by Chinese MiGs during a confrontation. As a result of the escalating tensions between England and China from this incident, which in reality had been engineered by Carver utilizing a stealth ship, the two countries seemed prepared to go to war. As Robinson and M observed the fleets of the two countries nearing one another in the South China Sea, Carver's plot was exposed.
Robinson is seen here and there but mainly visible near the end of the film when he, R (who has just become the new Q) and M all notice via satellite footage that Bond is having a rather erotic encounter in a hotel with Christmas Jones.
Robinson appears at the beginning during a realistic training simulation that Bond is participating in and later reappears near the end of the film while working with the NSA and M to help diffuse the growing threats by the main antagonists.
Behind the scenes
Initially Charles Robinson was intended as a replacement for the character of Bill Tanner when Michael Kitchen was unavailable to reprise his role from GoldenEye. However, since his performance in Tomorrow Never Dies, he went on to appear in three consecutive films as a regular. Both characters then appeared in The World Is Not Enough.
Colin Salmon, who played the character, had strongly voiced his desire to take on the role of James Bond following Eon's decision to recast the role for 2006's Casino Royale. British bookmakers at one point stopped taking bets on Salmon becoming 007 #6 due to the volume of press speculation. He repeatedly received the backing of outgoing 007 Pierce Brosnan - although he believed the producers didn't "have the bottle" to go down that route. Salmon said of the praise, "It's the ultimate accolade. There are some great candidates out there, but Pierce has watched me do five or six screen tests, and he knows I can do it".
- "Bonding Session" (Newspaper article), Daily Mirror, 14 February 2005. (in English)
- "Colin Salmon talks about Brosnan tipping him for 007 - `It is the ultimate accolade!`" (Newspaper article), The London Evening Standard, 24 October 2003. (in English)