From Devin Faraci at Birth, Movies, Death comes this weird bit of ‘80s spy movie errata: George Lazenby’s extended cameo as “JB” in the 1983 made-for-TV telefilm The Return of the Man From U.N.C.L.E., featuring original stars Robert Vaughn and David McCallum as secret agents Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kuryakin. Tooling around Vegas in his trusty Aston Martin, Lazenby’s character spots Solo and Andrea Markovitch (Gayle Hunnicut) being pursued by THRUSH operatives; observing that the situation “isn’t cricket,” he renders immediate assistance, using a variety of offensive countermeasures that should be familiar to viewers of Goldfinger and Thunderball.
It’s a pretty cheesy sequence, even by the standards of Knight Rider era network TV, and easily ranks among the least suspenseful car chases put on film. (At one point Vaughn appears to be visibly wincing at the silliness of it all.) But it’s still fun to see Lazenby in action once more. And as Faraci notes, this makes 1983 an “all-skate” for the movie Bonds: Roger Moore played the character in Octopussy, and Sean Connery reprised the role for the first time since 1971’s Diamonds Are Forever in the non-canonical Never Say Never Again, an unofficial remake of 1965’s Thunderball. But Lazenby beat his fellow Bonds to the punch, as Return aired in April of that year, several months before either theatrical film premiered. (And Lazenby wasn’t the only former superspy to appear in the movie; Patrick McNee, The Avengers’ Steed, also appears as “Sir John Raleigh”. No Diana Rigg though.)