Douglas Wilmer, who played Jim Fanning in Octopussy, died Thursday at the age of 96. Wilmer was best known for playing Sherlock Holmes in the 1965 television series, but he made a lasting impression to James Bond fans in his brief role alongside Roger Moore in Octopussy. Wilmer also appeared with Roger Moore in an episode of The Saint titled “The Rough Diamonds” and filmed a scene for—but was cut from—Sean Connery’s film Woman of Straw.
Wilmer’s character Fanning in Octopussy is an art expert employed by MI6 who is excited about the auction he attends with Bond, but he’s quickly frustrated by Bond’s antics. His old-fashioned and relaxed outfit is stylish and detail-focused, and it perfectly suits the character.
Fanning’s light navy lightweight worsted flannel suit is made in a soft drape cut that suggests an Anderson & Shepard inspiration. It’s certainly a bespoke suit, and it’s likely Douglas Wilmer’s own suit from his personal tailor. It’s unlikely the film would budget for a bespoke suit for such a minor character. The suit has a worn-in look, which would be appropriate for an older gentleman who has likely had this suit for two decades.
This suit jacket’s drape cut is characterized by soft and slightly extended shoulders with light wadding and by a full chest with vertical folds at the side. The waist is suppressed, but how much so cannot be determined from an unbuttoned jacket. The jacket’s soft construction allows the narrow fishmouth lapels to roll gently over the top of the jacket’s three buttons, but the actual lapels start at the top button. The fishmouth shape of the lapels suggests that this jacket is likely not from Anderson & Sheppard, despite the rest of it resembling their style. Still, Anderson & Sheppard could be a possibility. The jacket is detailed with straight flap pockets and two buttons spaced apart on the cuffs, and there is no vent in the rear.
The details of the suit trousers cannot be seen clearly, but the trousers likely have double forward pleats and are worn with braces. They have a medium-long rise to the waist.
Fanning’s light grey and white narrow-striped shirt follows the traditional English design. Whilst solid grey shirts can look very dull and bland, the fine stripes on this shirt give it a livelier appearance. The collar is a wide spread with a little tie space and stitched a 1/4-inch from the edge. The front has a narrow placket identical to Turnbull & Asser’s and is stitched 3/8-inch from the edge. The cuffs are double cuffs.
The bow tie is navy with a woven pattern of large tics, each made up of a green tic, a yellow tic and a red tic. Unlike James Bond’s perfectly tied black bow ties, Fanning’s bow tie is left askew. The back and front don’t perfectly line up, giving the bow tie some character. He accessorises his suit with a white linen handkerchief stuffed into his breast pocket with the corners sticking up. Reading glasses hang from Fanning’s neck on a thin red lanyard whilst a magnifying glass hangs from a thicker black lanyard.