Great Scott! Forget the cutthroat world of international espionage. The race to replace Craig after his final outing next year is a brutal and pitiless one. Some of the UK’s biggest male stars (and one of two ladies) have been duking it out. For much of this year, a new pretender had seemed unbeatable and, it must be said, tailor-made for the part. Shockingly, he has just been pushed aside by a complete newcomer after a startling rush of bets see two Scots leading the charge.
Madden seemed untouchable, riding high on the Bodyguard after Game of Thrones.
He even has a huge new Marvel blockbuster, the Eternals, coming out with Angelina Jolie.
Yet, another strapping Scot has Highland flung him aside.
British bookies Coral just released a statement: “Punters have placed a wave of substantial bets on Sam Heughan to be the next James Bond with bookmaker Coral, with the firm forced to slash the odds down to 5-2 (from 12-1).”
READ MORE: James Bond 25 No Time To Die shock on set pictures show actress Lea Seydoux in tears after THIS scene
This a major new development. Nobody has seized the lead like this, coming from far out of the blue.
Heughan is now the favourite to be the next 007 after Daniel Craig, overtaking Richard Madden (3-1), Tom Hiddleston (4-1) and James Norton (5-1) in the betting.
Although he is most famous for time-travelling drama (and bodice-ripper) Outlander, he has already convincingly played a British secret agent in The Spy Who Dumped Me.
Even so, do people know something we don’t?
Richard Madden himself has stayed quiet on the subject but his proud father Richard Sr spilled the beans earlier this year.
During a question-and-answer session, Richard Sr was bluntly asked his son’s James Bond hopes and replied: “Whether it is James Bond or any other big role, Richard has got ideas about things he’d like to do.
“Richard doesn’t specifically say, ‘This is my goal.’
“I’m quite sure he does want that to be on his CV one day but he’s not making a song and dance about it…”
Heughan, who is best known as Jamie Fraser in Outlander, has previously revealed he would love the chance to bring Bond back to Scotland, reminding everyone it all began with Sean Connery
“I think any actor who says they wouldn’t [want to play Bond] would be lying,” he told STV earlier this year. “I think it’s about time we had a Scottish Bond again.
“I think Fleming had a good connection with Scotland and I believe James Bond was supposed to have been bought up in Scotland.
However, he also acknowledged the number of actors he would have to beat to get the part, saying: “I know I’ve got competition out there, so we’ll see what happens.”