Veterans

James Bond stuntman is a real-life action man and Armed Forces veteran

Andy Torbet worked as part of the stunt team on 'No Time To Die'.

A former soldier turned stuntman, who worked as part of the stunt team in the latest James Bond film 'No Time To Die', has been speaking of his action-packed career and how his 10 years serving in the British Army helped develop the skills he uses today and fulfil his desire for adventure. 

Andy Torbet is certainly an adventurer. 

He spent a decade in the British Army as a paratrooper, diver and bomb-disposal officer - serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Northern Ireland, the Falklands and Kosovo. He also worked in maritime counterterrorism and describes himself now as a professional cave diver, free diver, skydiver, climber, underwater explorer and stuntman. 

His life seems to have some similarities to that of 007 himself, which is fitting since Torbet worked as Daniel Craig's stuntman on 'No Time To Die' for eight months in 2019, filming in Norway, Jamaica, Italy, Scotland and Pinewood Studios in England. 

Andy Torbet British Army veteran stuntman adventurer outdoorsman skydiver cave diver CREDIT Andy Torbet
Andy Torbet served as a paratrooper, diver and bomb disposal officer (Picture: Andy Torbet).

Speaking in the February/March edition of 'Army Cadet Magazine' about working on the latest film in the James Bond franchise, Torbet said: "Being a Bond fan, arriving at Pinewood Studios on a Monday morning and walking past the 007 stage was amazing. 

"I almost didn't appreciate it because I couldn't actually believe I was there. It was fun to do and I loved it." 

The stuntman is a keen speed skydiver - the fastest human-powered sport in the world - and also presents shows such as 'The One Show', 'Coast' and the CBBC series 'Beyond Bionic'. He also wrote a book called 'Extreme Adventures' about exploring Britain. 

Andy Torbet stuntman set on fire custom made propane fuelled flame-tornado (Picture: Mike Carlin).
Stuntman Andy Torbet on fire inside a custom made, propane fuelled, flame-tornado which, Andy was told, could reach temperatures above 700 degrees (Picture: Mike Carlin).

In a life story which has echoes of the action-adventure video game franchise Uncharted, in which protagonist Nathan Drake plays a danger-seeking, swashbuckling adventurer, the veteran has a passion for adventure and exploring the world and carrying out daring stunts as part of his work in films and TV.

However, Torbet says, while his work might seem as dangerous and perilous to others, he would not be here today if he were not somewhat risk-averse. 

Speaking with Alice Vickery, a broadcaster for BFBS the Forces Station, Torbet said that people's perception of stunt professionals was not always accurate, adding: "I work with some of the best skydivers and stunt performers and cave divers in the world and we are probably not what people think. 

"We are not Red Bull-drinking, high-fiving, adrenaline-junkie maniacs. 

"We're all quite technically minded, very good at doing frankly the old health and safety risk assessments."

Andy Torbet British Army veteran stuntman adventurer outdoorsman skydiver cave diver CREDIT Martin Hartley
British Army veteran Andy Torbet (Picture: Martin Hartley).

However, Torbet does not see himself as being some sort of superhuman or real-life action man. He is more modest than that. 

Torbet said he did not feel as though he was more capable than anyone else - even though he has a degree in zoology, is a qualified mountaineering, climbing and kayak instructor, and a member of Mensa, the largest and oldest high IQ society in the world.

He said: "I'm not genetically gifted, either physically or mentally above average. It's just what we choose to do with what we've got. 

"It is a matter of choice. I've made choices that other people haven't and often the reality is that the things I do aren't half as difficult as they seem from the outside." 

Andy Torbet British Army veteran stuntman adventurer outdoorsman skydiver cave diver CREDIT Rich Stevenson
Andy Torbet cave diving with fellow diver Phil Short (Picture: Rich Stevenson).

As a child, Torbet quenched his fledgling thirst for adventure by joining a local diving club and was an Army Cadet in Aberdeen's Parachute Regiment.

At about this time, Torbet's older brother joined the Armed Forces and would return home from operations with tales of adventure and exploration which was music to Torbet's ears.

He said: "The same thing that made me join the Forces is the same thing that drives me to do what I do today. 

"It's that sense of finding adventures and you know, going off and seeing the world and certainly for a young kid, the way to see the world and go and have adventures, be a swashbuckler or buccaneers, is to join the Forces. 

"And that's what my brother did … so when I was 13, he would come back and it seemed like an amazing life. 

"That sense of adventure is what drove me to the Forces as I think it is with a great deal of people who joined Forces, and it still drives me today." 

Andy Torbet free diving Croatia British Army veteran stuntman adventurer outdoorsman skydiver cave diver CREDIT Rich Stevenson
Andy Torbet freediving off the coast of Croatia (Picture: Rich Stevenson).

When it comes to adventure and danger, there are some similarities between stunt work and being in the Armed Forces but there is a significant and important difference – the stakes are much, much higher in the military.

Torbet said: "The big difference is in the Forces, sometimes you are called upon to take a significant risk.

"They send you to Iraq and Afghanistan and to a certain extent in the Balkans, you are called upon to do tasks, missions, which the mission is the priority, not you, and therefore you have to take a significant risk.

"Whereas with TV, with stunts, although it is still a relatively high-risk occupation, in my opinion, it's only telly and it's only a film. Let's not have anyone get hurt or get injured. So the priority for me with the media work, TV, documentaries or films, is that everyone goes home safe at the end of the day."

He added: "That's the absolute number one priority and that's usually the priority in the Forces but again I'm sure a lot of people who are serving or have served, understand that under certain circumstances, the risks are much, much greater and you have to deal with that."

Cover image: British Army veteran Andy Torbet (Picture: Martin Hartley).