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Students succeed where Alan Partridge failed in charity James Bond marathon

PUBLISHED: 17:06 16 June 2020 | UPDATED: 16:33 18 June 2020

UEA students Josh Antcliff and George Barham, who took part in a charity Bond marathon. Picture: Josh Ancliff/George Barham

UEA students Josh Antcliff and George Barham, who took part in a charity Bond marathon. Picture: Josh Ancliff/George Barham

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Two UEA students have succeeded where Alan Partridge once famously failed - by watching every James Bond film back-to-back.

UEA student Josh Antcliff, who took part in a Bond marathon for charity. Picture: Josh AncliffUEA student Josh Antcliff, who took part in a Bond marathon for charity. Picture: Josh Ancliff

And while Steve Coogan’s timeless character planned his 007 marathon simply to pass a bank holiday weekend, 21-year-olds George Barham and Josh Antcliff took on the challenge for a good cause.

UEA student George Barham, who took part in a James Bond marathon for charity. Picture: George BarhamUEA student George Barham, who took part in a James Bond marathon for charity. Picture: George Barham

The pair are fundraising for Hope for Children, ahead of taking on the Three Peak Challenge later this year - which will see them climb the three tallest peaks in the United Kingdom - Ben Nevis, Mount Snowdon and Scafell Pike.

Scene's on the River Thames in Central London, where Pierce Brosnan's stunt double (black launch right) films for the new Bond movie Scene's on the River Thames in Central London, where Pierce Brosnan's stunt double (black launch right) films for the new Bond movie "The World Is Not Enough". Picture: PA Archive/PA Images/John Stillwell

The students, who both attend the University of East Anglia, originally planned a variety of fundraising events leading up to the challenge, but when lockdown kicked in they had to think creatively for alternative ways of raising money.

Star of the film Pierce Brosnan during a photocall at Pinewood Studios, north of London for 'Bond 20', the working title for the latest film which starts production next week. Picture: PA Archive/William ConranStar of the film Pierce Brosnan during a photocall at Pinewood Studios, north of London for 'Bond 20', the working title for the latest film which starts production next week. Picture: PA Archive/William Conran

And with charities challenging fundraisers to think of challenges connected to the number 26, following the cancellation of the London Marathon, the pair chose to watch all 26 of the spy thrillers in Ian Fleming’s franchise.

A volcano housing a 66ft rocket forms part of the set built for the latest James Bond film You Only Live Twice at Pinewood Studios. Picture: PA Archive/PA ImagesA volcano housing a 66ft rocket forms part of the set built for the latest James Bond film You Only Live Twice at Pinewood Studios. Picture: PA Archive/PA Images

Mr Barham watched from his home on Green Lane in Earlham while Mr Ancliff joined him via video link from his home in Sheffield, with the pair broadcasting their efforts along the way.

Diana Rigg and George Lazenby in a scene from the new James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Picture: PA ArchiveDiana Rigg and George Lazenby in a scene from the new James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service. Picture: PA Archive

Mr Barham said: “We specifically chose Bond films because of the 2.6 challenge, as there are 26 films in total.

Roger Moore with Sheena Easton in London today. Sheena sings the theme song to the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only. Moore makes his fifth appearance as Bond in the film. Picture: PA Archive/PA ImagesRoger Moore with Sheena Easton in London today. Sheena sings the theme song to the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only. Moore makes his fifth appearance as Bond in the film. Picture: PA Archive/PA Images

“It was definitely quite a challenge - certainly after the first six or seven films we found ourselves getting really tired and had a few 30-second black outs.”

Daniel Craig attending the World Premiere of Spectre, held at the Royal Albert Hall in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 26, 2015. See PA Story: SHOWBIZ Bond. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/PA Wire Daniel Craig attending the World Premiere of Spectre, held at the Royal Albert Hall in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday October 26, 2015. See PA Story: SHOWBIZ Bond. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/PA Wire

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The marathon took the pair in the region of 60 hours, during which time they were not able to take breaks for sleep. They instead kept each other alert by rating films against certain criteria as they went.

File photo dated 10/05/64 of Sean Connery and Honor Blackman filming a scene for Goldfinger at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire. Picture: PA Images/PA WireFile photo dated 10/05/64 of Sean Connery and Honor Blackman filming a scene for Goldfinger at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire. Picture: PA Images/PA Wire

And unlike when the bungling Norwich deejay Partridge attempted the challenge there were no Sunny Delight-related mishaps standing in the way - and The Spy Who Loved Me was not taped over with America’s Strongest Man.

Mr Barham added: “We were on a high for the first few films but after a while it was extremely tiring. But 16-17 films in, when we reached the Pierce Brosnan era, we got a bit of a second wind as those were the ones we remembered best from our childhood.”

Since beginning their fundraising, the pair have raised more than £1,500.

Mr Barham added that George Lazenby was his favourite 007, Casino Royale his favourite film and Duran Duran’s A View to a Kill his favourite theme song.


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