After poor sales doomed his early ambitions as a serious novelist, the Cambridge-educated Wood turned his talents to penning humorous erotic potboilers under the name Timothy Lea. In this realm, he found great success, creating the popular "Confessions" series. Beginning with Confessions of a Window Cleaner in 1971, Wood wrote 19 pseudonymous "Confessions" paperbacks during the Seventies (selling in excess of 3 million copies) and helped launch that decade's odd genre of British sex comedies (a craze that also kick-started the career of future Bond director Martin Campbell). Under his own name, Wood penned the screenplays for four popular Confessions movies (the first helmed by former Bond director Val Guest) which made an unlikely sex symbol out of shaggy star Robin Askwith. He also wrote the Michael York comedy Seven Nights in Japan (1976) for director Lewis Gilbert. (For Bond fans, this was Gilbert's second Japan-set film to feature Charles Gray, following You Only Live Twice.) This led to Gilbert bringing him to EON Productions' attention, and he was hired to write Gilbert's next Bond movie, The Spy Who Loved Me.
While Bond scripting was always a team effort (Richard Maibaum also received writing credit on Spy, and the writer of the previous three films, Tom Mankiewicz, did a lot of uncredited work), there is no question that Christopher Wood was at the very center of that team in the most formative period of Roger Moore's tenure as 007. While Moore had already had two outings as the famous secret agent, it was The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) that really defined his incarnation of James Bond. Wood and Lewis also stuck around for the follow-up, Moonraker, in 1979. While it's not difficult to believe that the Confessions screenwriter coined some of the series most egregious double-entendres, Wood contended that Moore himself deserved substantial credit for those. Whoever was responsible, it was the right formula for the time, and arguably saved the franchise, which had flagged early in the decade. Moonraker became the highest grossing entry to date.
|From Adrian Harrington Rare Books|
Wood continued to work throughout the Nineties and early 2000s as a screenwriter (writing scripts for Roger Corman) and novelist (including the well-received autobiographical showbiz satire California, Here I Am, which was praised on its publication by future Bond novelist William Boyd). Wood's final published work was a 2006 memoir of his time spent with Agent 007, entitled James Bond, The Spy I Loved. Candid, humorous, and informative (though direly in need of a better proof-reader!), it's a must-read for any fan of Seventies James Bond, and a fitting celebration of the indelible mark that Christopher Wood left on the world of 007.