6 May 2001

Pop Culture flashback: James Bond nemesis Blofeld was responsible for MKZ. I watched On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the underrated Bond film, last night. Blofeld's plot is to breed agricultural plant and animal diseases and release them via young women sent to his Swiss "allergy clinic" from around the world. When he tells Bond his plot, he modestly takes credit for the 1967 MKZ outbreak for which 400,000 animals were slaughtered.

One of the "patients," an Englishwoman, conquers her allergy to beef (all the women are allergic to the food stereotypically associated with their home country. One presumes there's a Dutch woman allergic to potatoes!). By the time Bond's Union Corse fiends have blown up Blofeld's lair, the "patients" have already been sent home.

Joanna Lumley is *another* Englishwoman in the group, but her allergy isn't stated (mashed peas? Cornish game hen?). She later starred in The New Avengers and Absolutely Fabulous. As an actress who traveled around Britain, she could easily have spread the disease!