All bets are off. To be honest, were they ever really on? You can't help coming to the cynical conclusion that it was nothing but a bit of a PR ruse. Anyone having had a wager on Tom Hardy at 11/4, Michael Fassbender at 5/2 and James Norton at 4/1 must currently be feeling pretty stupid.
There's no pretending the winnings from the £50 I put on Len Goodman wouldn't have come in handy. Reckoning he was in with more than a shout, I naturally presumed he'd never give up Strictly unless he had something so much bigger and better to go onto. Besides, for a chap of his age, he looked damn fine in a tuxedo and please don't tell me that every time he held up his score paddle and shouted SEVEN! he wasn't subliminally auditioning for another role altogether. Add in the fact that his Tango would have blown Sean Connery's in Never Say Never Again out of the water and to my mind at least he was positively a shoo-in.
However, in a plot twist (un)worthy of the franchise itself, the next James Bond is going to be none other than the last James Bond, the same one who infamously said he'd rather slash his wrists than ever return to the part that made him famous across the globe.
Still, imagine the horrendous prospect of God knows how many months on a roving film set, jetting from glamorous location to glamorous location, driving the world's most fantastic cars, sipping Martinis in hotel bars most people would be lucky to end up serving in, finding yourself dressed from head to toe in designer wear and having the most beautiful co-stars on your arm and in your bed. Then there's the host of ego-boosting sycophants forever fawning over you.
Put it that way and I guess you do have to sympathise. Although there I was thinking, maybe mistakenly, that if any job was going to make a middle aged man want to contemplate suicide it would probably involve being a sales assistant in a certain discount sports store on a zero-hours minimum wage contract instead of being an international movie star.
Plainly, money talks and jolly loudly to boot because it wasn't long afterwards that he had a complete change of heart. In subsequent interviews, he was quoted as saying: "As far as I'm concerned, I've got the best job in the world" and "I'll keep doing it as long as I get a kick out of it". Mind you, that's what they all say, eh Theresa?
Anyway, like it or not, Daniel Craig will 100% be back as Ian Fleming's creation in movie number 25 and 26. Providing they keep coughing up the cash, the chances are he'll be playing 007 in the 27th, 28th and 29th films as well. Despite protestations galore, don't even rule him out remaining in place by the time the centenary extravaganza rolls around, which allowing for four years between each release, should be ready to hit Multiplexes sometime in November 2319. Book me a seat by the toilets. By then I'm not certain my bladder will last the entire 160 minute running time.
Why Barbara Broccoli is so keen on keeping Craig remains a mystery. The weakest of those predecessors who've tried to own the part, he's made Bond boring; stripping him not just of every last ounce of body fat, but also every last ounce of irony and humour.
Personality wise, the actor has imbued the nation's favourite fictional spy with the charismatic appeal of a past his prime, pumped up gym instructor. This means that any villain has to work doubly hard to compensate. But of late they've simply paled next to former dastardly greats such as Auric Goldfinger and Francisco Scaramanga.
As for Christoph Waltz as some sort of wishy-washy Blofeld, well, I've come across more menacing tax inspectors. "Mr Bond, can we please go over your returns for 2016/ 2017?" OK, I'm officially on the edge of my seat. "And where is the receipt for this kilo of Beluga Caviar and case of Bollinger?" Christ, now he's done for.
Who knows what, if anything, can keep the long established film series fresh and breathe new life into it. If it isn't the leading man and it isn't the insane megalomaniac adversary, then perhaps it's the director? Rumours, most likely false, that it might turn out to be movie magpie, Quentin Tarantino are enough to generate a few excited column inches.
Doubtless though they'll plump for a safer pair of hands. Similarly, they'll go for an equally safe pair of lungs and boring old Adele will be returning for theme song duty.
While all this will delight the vast majority of audience members, for myself and Len Goodman, I suspect we'll be looking up at the screen wondering what might have been.Suggest a correction