Wales

Senedd Bond row: Politicians shaken and stirred

The Queen and Daniel Craig Image copyright PA
Image caption The Queen took part in a James Bond stunt for the opening of the London Olympics in 2012

Politicians have been shaken and stirred by a decision not to allow the new James Bond film to be shot in the Welsh assembly's debating chamber.

The revelation caused a social media storm with some politicians saying it had been a missed opportunity to showcase Wales and attract visitors.

The decision was made by officials at the Welsh assembly, and not the politicians who debate in the Senedd.

Assembly officials said the chamber was "not a drama studio".

And said they had offered other locations on the estate to the filmmakers which were declined.

But the decision not to agree to the initial request caused consternation among politicians with attempts made to distance themselves from the decision made by the assembly - First Minister Carwyn Jones retweeted the official Welsh government Twitter statements on the matter.

Image copyright Welsh government / Twitter

The Welsh government tweet said: "We did not make the decision to refuse James Bond filming in the Senedd chamber. That was @AssemblyWales Commission.

"As a Government we are doing everything we can to attract film makers to Wales."

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe Welsh assembly faces row over the decision to not allow the James Bond film to be shot in the debating chamber

Shortly after the BBC broke the story, Twitter was awash with Bond puns.

Twitter users created the hashtags #assemblybond and #seneddbond.

Politicians could not resist the wordplay which followed with spoof James Bond film names being dreamt up including: Dai Another Day, From Risca with Love, You Only Vote Once and Live and Let Dai.

But among the banter there was criticism of the decision.

Bethan Jenkins, Plaid Cymru AM tweeted: "Believe me-had NOTHING to do with decision 2 refuse James Bond filming at the Assembly! That would have been immense!"

Image copyright Bethan Jenkins / Twitter

And Labour's Ken Skates tweeted: "But for the Assembly Commission my dream of Bond coming to Wales would've come true. Not happy!"

In a statement on Friday, Welsh Conservative Leader, Andrew RT Davies AM, said: "I'm not convinced that refusing permission for the Senedd to feature in one of the biggest movies of the year - on movie screens in every corner of the world - was the right decision.

"From a Welsh tourism perspective, that's the sort of publicity money simply can't buy.

"While I applaud the assembly for sticking to it guns - and seeing off 007 better than Blofeld ever could - I feel deflated that this an opportunity missed."

Image copyright Associated Press
Image caption Hashtags #assemblybond and #seneddbond emerged shortly after the story broke

Meanwhile, Peter Black, Liberal Democrat AM, for South Wales West said in a Twitter exchange with Plaid's Bethan Jenkins: "We should deal with each request on their merits."

There was also disappointment with the decision from Berwyn Rowlands, a former chief executive of Sgrin Cymru, which promotes film and TV production in Wales.

He said: "I think it sends mixed messages about Wales being open for business and being on the international film-making arena,

"I fully understand that the Senedd is the home of democracy, but if the Queen was able to open Buckingham Palace to film-makers for the opening of the Olympics to be seen around the world, then this is disappointing".

Film fans also took to social media in their hundreds in disbelief that the assembly had resisted the charms of infamous womaniser 007.

The BBC contacted the Welsh Assembly Commission on Friday to ask for a comment.

The 24th James Bond film, Spectre, is due to be shown in cinemas in November.

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