Why Olivia Colman should be the next 007

Tom Hiddleston tops a list of male contenders to succeed Daniel Craig – but our nation's greatest actresses should at least be included in the conversation, says Susanna Lazarus

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Have you heard? Daniel Craig is rumoured to be hanging up his holster and handing in his license to kill… which leaves a vacancy. A vacancy to join Her Majesty’s Secret Service and board one of the most successful film franchises of all time.

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And when it comes to Bond, it seems there’s one name sat at the top of everyone’s list: Tom Hiddleston. The Night Manager star is so hotly tipped that Coral suspended betting after rumours surfaced that he’d met with Skyfall and Spectre director Sam Mendes and producer Barbara Broccoli.

Snapping at the heels of Hiddleston are the likes of Idris Elba, Aidan Turner, Damian Lewis, Tom Hardy – even Danny Dyer gets a mention – but cast your mind back a couple of months and you’ll recall another name was once in the mix. A woman. (‘What, a woman as Bond? Madness!’)

Her name is Olivia Colman and she proved earlier this year what a superspy she could be. Tom Hiddleston may have led BBC drama The Night Manager as Jonathan Pine but come the series finale it was Colman who viewers were tipping to play Ian Fleming’s secret agent.

As Angela Burr, Colman stole the show. Whether it was firing her ‘don’t mess with me’ glare, breezily snooping around the hotel rooms of her would-be assailants, or conducting entire undercover operations off the MI5 radar and bringing one of the world’s most dangerous criminals to his knees in the process.

And then there was this moment… 

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But what was most impressive about Angela Burr was that it didn’t make a blind bit of difference that she was a woman – and the only clue to her pregnancy was the glaringly obvious visual one. She may have waddled through her scenes, but her gender didn’t sideline her or undermine her authority. She was the firepower that ensured Hugh Laurie’s Richard Roper was packed off to an untimely – and ugly – demise.

Yes, she’s a woman. If she was Bond, there would be no Bond Girls and Olivia Colman isn’t the sort of actress to seduce an endless stream of Bond Boys. But, like Bond, the 42-year-old is quintessentially British – weaved into our country’s acting fabric – and shouldn’t this conversation about Daniel Craig’s successor at least be open to our country’s greatest actresses?

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Yes, a female 007 sounds strange – but maybe not so much when you pronounce it Bond… Jane Bond…