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Perfectly cast: Why Pierce Brosnan was one of the best Bonds

A new poll has named Sean Connery the best Bond ever, with Pierce coming in a respectable third. But the Irish contender was robbed, writes Chris Wasser

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Licence to thrill: Pierce Brosnan had charm and charisma

Licence to thrill: Pierce Brosnan had charm and charisma

Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry in Die Another Day

Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry in Die Another Day

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Licence to thrill: Pierce Brosnan had charm and charisma

Was Pierce Brosnan the best James Bond? Not according to a recent Radio Times poll which invited 14,000 Bond fans to vote for their favourite cinematic portrayal of Ian Fleming's legendary secret agent. The results were not without surprises. Of course, Sean Connery came out on top - we might have predicted that before a single vote had been cast. Connery wasn't just the first Bond; he is, for many, the quintessential 007, a brilliant performer whose knowing charm, searing screen presence and capable comic delivery made for some of the finest entries in the series.

But what about the rest of the poll? Well, Timothy Dalton somehow came second (no, really), Pierce Brosnan took the third spot, followed by Roger Moore in fourth (yes, really), Daniel Craig in fifth (we didn't see that coming) and George Lazenby in sixth (ignore the haters, On Her Majesty's Secret Service is one of the all-time classic Bond flicks).

It's a fascinating list. We might wonder what it has to say about what British audiences have come to expect from their favourite big-screen dinosaur. Could it be that those who voted did so with their hearts instead of their brains? Is it possible that the result reflects a longing for the kind of Bond who could do, say and act however he wanted?