Mark Andrews – James Bond, licensed to swill

Better late than never. Daniel Craig's last outing as James Bond is finally about to hit the cinemas, two years behind schedule.

BANKS 1. ROGER MOORE WHO IS ADVERTISING BANKS' BITTER ON TV
BANKS 1. ROGER MOORE WHO IS ADVERTISING BANKS' BITTER ON TV

Two years late. Two years! Not even British Rail would have got away with that. Bond's lucky John Major's no longer running the show, or he would probably have been fined under the Citizen's Charter. "Mister Bond, your failure to respond in a timely manner has caused not inconsiderable inconvenience to paying customers."

Officially, Bond's tardiness is due to the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus, which doesn't do a bundle for his street cred. As excuses go, it is only marginally better than telling M he couldn't stop Blofeld plunging the world into chaos because of delays caused by an Insulate Britain demo on the M25.

It just doesn't ring true. Will Bond have to hastily don a face mask before hurling Jaws out of the train window? Will all his dealings with Scaramanga and Goldfinger be carried out two metres apart, in a well-ventilated room? Will Miss Moneypenny remind him to observe the 'hands, face, space' protocol during their interactions?

It just doesn't sound credible. No, I'm wondering if the real reason that Bond's work has been delayed is down to something more sinister, which the authorities want to hush up. I suspect 007 has been nursing a secret drink problem over the past couple of years.

Admittedly my reasons for this are based on a pretty dubious premise – a press release from a company I have never heard of which reckons that James Bond has become increasingly boozy since Craig took over the part just over 15 years ago. According to research by OLBG, Bond has been knocking back an average of 21.5 units per movie since Craig appeared in Casino Royale in 2006. No wonder he's retiring, his liver probably can't cope with the hedonism.

By contrast, Sean Connery was a paragon of temperance, drinking just 11.58 units per film. Roger Moore, who would probably consider his adverts for Banks's Bitter the zenith of his illustrious career, was even more responsible, consuming just 11.5 units per movie. That's just over six pints of Banks's. Pierce Brosnan, who was Bond immediately before Craig, only knocked back 12 units per movie. One can only assume things started going badly wrong when Craig took over the mantle.

And it seems that not only does Craig's Bond save the world while staggering around in an alcoholic stupor, he is also losing his touch with the opposite sex. While Connery managed 3.33 conquests per film, and Moore three, Craig has had only 2.25, ahem, 'romantic liaisons' per movie. Is that because the ladies disapprove of the new Bond's drinking habits, or is he simply hitting the bottle to get over his lack of success?

And not only does Bond show a wanton disregard for healthy-drinking guidelines, it appears his carbon footprint is also growing. While Connery travelled an average of 13,638 miles in his escapades, Moore 14,087 and Brosnan 12,697, Craig's Bond has been burning fossil fuels like nobody's business, travelling 21,444 miles per outing.

Anyhow, the speculation is now on who will replace Craig as the new Bond. Tom Hardy is the favourite, but I can't see it myself, he seems just a bit too soft, a bit pretty. Tom Hiddleston is also suave, but I suspect those Jaguar ads will have dented his environmental credentials. Idris Elba has gravitas, but I suspect his time has passed, he seems a bit too old and hard-bitten for the role. Some have even suggested Peaky Blinders star Cillian Murphy, but that is surely a joke. Could you really imagine James Bond with a cod Brummie accent?

No, I think that the next Bond must be someone who represents the values of modern Britain, as it is today. Somebody with no baggage, who drinks responsibly – if at all, who will show due respect to environmental concerns, who will never say or do anything politically incorrect. And will not be fazed by any Covid protocols.

For me, there is no doubt who the next Bond should be. It's got to be Chris Whitty.

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