Craig has his own licence to thrill with Bond book

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson

A FIRST-TIME author is hoping to be shaken and stirred by the success of his new James Bond-themed book.

Craig Thompson has penned a book called The Men Who Might Have Been Bond.

The 118-page piece looks at what could have been if a string of other actors had taken up the role of the notorious British Secret Service agent.

Craig, 57, who lives in the Clavering area of Hartlepool with wife Lesley, a 67-year-old retired teacher, said: “It’s about the people who could have been Bond before Connery.

“It’s the ‘what-if’ angle and asks how good would the films have been if other actors that had been considered accepted the part.

“I comment on how they would have dealt with certain situations.”

The book features 12 main actors who could have filled the shoes of 007.

Craig said he has read a lot of books and carried out intensive research on the subject, even contacting some of the actors mentioned.

He said Hollywood great Richard Burton, who was married to legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor, was one of the original actors in the frame.

He added that English actor George Baker, who featured on TV as Inspector Wexford in The Ruth Rendell Mysteries, was also a candidate.

He said Bond creator Ian Fleming wanted Baker in the role but producers Albert ‘Cubbi’ Broccoli and Harry Salzman wanted Connery instead.

Fellow Brit James Fox was also considered, but Craig said: “He would have been very young and he was quite religious and didn’t like the violence and the sex so he turned it down for that reason.”

Civil servant Craig added that American screen legend Cary Grant also turned down the role.

He added that Shakespearean actor Richard Johnson was also up for the part.

Craig said Johnson says he turned it down but Broccoli and Salzman say he was a “runner-up” to Connery.

He added that Patrick McGoohan, of The Prisoner and Danger Man fame, was asked to be Bond on a number of occasions but turned it down due to “moral reasons”.

Craig was about 13 when he saw his first Bond film.

He remembers it was Goldfinger, starring Sean Connery.

And he said Bond books were always lying around his house as a youngster and the first one he read was The Man With The Golden Gun.

He said Connery is his favourite Bond actor, as “he looked like he could hurt people”, whereas Roger Moore was “too much like a male model, a bit stiff”.

Craig added that George Lazenby “looked good but was not quite a good enough actor”.

He thought Timothy Dalton “would be great but he was just a bit bland”, Pierce Brosnan was “very good” and Daniel Craig is “a good actor but not Bond”.

The Men Who Might Have Been Bond, priced £7.99, is available from Waterstones, Amazon and WHSmith.