Will Aidan Turner be the new James Bond?
If the Dublin star is the next 007 it's bye bye to BBC's Poldark
There are two questions, virtually rituals at this stage, which arise at intervals of anything between three and 10 years.
Question No 1: who will be the next Doctor in Doctor Who?
According to which rumour and which bookie’s odds you believe, it’s either going to be Fleabag star and creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge (fans are seizing on supposed hints in last Saturday’s Doctor Who finale that the next Doctor will be a woman) or Kris Marshall, whose decision to quit BBC1’s Death in Paradise neatly coincided with the winding down of Peter Capaldi’s final season.
Or it could be someone else entirely. Who knows. Well, Who knows — obviously — but the rest of us will just have to wait and see.
On, then, to Question No 2: who will be the next James Bond?
In all probability, the answer to that one could be Daniel Craig. He hasn’t said for sure that he’s quitting and the producers have reportedly offered him freight containers filled with money to do a fifth film.
Should Craig, who’s 49 now, finally decide to move on, the hot favourite is Tom Hardy. You can see how he’d be great. But would the electrifyingly eclectic star be reluctant to tie himself to a contract for three films or more? He’s something of an acting chameleon.
In the last two years alone, Hardy has appeared in Peaky Blinders, starred as the new Mad Max, played both Kray twins in Legend, and even read bedtime stories for the tots on CBeebies. Plus, there’s a second season of his own creation, the daft but watchable Tattoo, in the pipeline.
The same might go for another contender, Michael Fassbender. He’d also be great as Bond, yet like Hardy, he likes to juggle different types of characters.
Idris Elba, who’s being mentioned once again as the first black Bond, considers himself too old (44) for the role. Tom Hiddleston, a previous favourite after the very Bondish The Night Manager, appears to have put the franchise’s producers off with his high-profile fling with Taylor Swift, as well as that bizarre speech at the Golden Globes.
Which brings us to Aidan Turner, the Dublin-born star of Poldark. The Clondalkin man, a good bet at 3/1, certainly has the Bond attributes.
He’s ruggedly handsome, he’s just the right age (34), women love him (especially with his shirt off) and, physically, he looks a lot like the Bond in Ian Fleming’s original novels, who’s suave but can be cold, cruel and even sadistic.
As we know from his role in the BBC’s And Then There Were None in 2015, he can rock a tuxedo. Oh, and he can act too. Always helps, that.
Were Turner to land Bond, it would cause headaches for the people behind Poldark. The series is a major hit and has lured the audience for Sunday-night period dramas back to the BBC, which, for years, had its backside kicked by ITV’s Downton Abbey.
While it seems unlikely the BBC would try to stand in Turner’s way, some actors haven’t been so lucky. Pierce Brosnan was confirmed as the new James Bond for 1987’s The Living Daylights.
NBC had cancelled Brosnan’s series Remington Steele, which still had some episodes to run, but then revived it in a cynical attempt to cash in on the star’s new status. The Bond people immediately withdrew the offer.
They didn’t want their new Bond associated with a TV series and hired Timothy Dalton instead. Brosnan’s Remington Steele co-star, Stephanie Zimbalist, also suffered, as she had to give up a role in RoboCop.
The revived Remington Steele didn’t last long and Brosnan finally became Bond in 1994.
No such second chances for Tom Selleck, who was George Lucas and Steven Spielberg’s original choice to play Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. You can see his screen test on YouTube.
Selleck had just filmed the pilot of Magnum, PI. CBS hadn’t made its mind up about whether to
commission a series, yet flatly refused to release Selleck from his contract.
Lucas and Spielberg held out for a month before signing up Harrison Ford, who Lucas hadn’t wanted to use because he was already playing Han Solo in the Star Wars movies, and the rest is $1.8bn franchise history.
Ironically, the shooting of Magnum, PI’s first season was delayed for six months by a Hollywood writers’ strike, meaning Selleck would have been free to make Raiders anyway. Ouch!