Smutty beats smarty pants: fans like their Bond winky, not woke
Daniel Craig is to Bond what the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are to the royal family
Who is your favourite Bond? I’d hazard that your choice says something about you. Traditionalists plump for Sean Connery, while those of an edgy or progressive bent favour Daniel Craig. One colleague argues persuasively for George Lazenby, proving that we humans are indeed a diverse bunch. (Being immature, with a weakness for puns and a well-cocked eyebrow, mine is Roger Moore.) Many viewers simply choose the first they saw in a cinema. The UK magazine Radio Times aimed to set the record straight, polling tens of thousands of readers in a knockout tournament between the six actors who have graced the role.
The results are fascinating. Connery finishes top – no surprises there. Intriguingly, Timothy Dalton’s gritty, criminally underrated Bond ends up in second place, ahead of Pierce Brosnan and Roger Moore. Daniel Craig was eliminated immediately. This seems quite the upset when you consider that not long ago, many critics were hailing Craig as the greatest ever Bond.
Yet his films have never recaptured the high watermark of his debut in Casino Royale, directed by Martin Campbell, the architect of another game-changing reboot, Goldeneye. The series soon turned in a worthier and more tedious direction; axing much of what was distinctively “Bond”. Gadgets, sexual chemistry – and yes, smutty wordplay – were replaced with bewilderingly fast-moving action sequences and CGI. Then the ultimate sacrilege: Bond’s trademark martini was supplanted in one scene by a Heineken bottle, amid so much product placement I almost wondered when they would start calling him “007UP”...