The Graham Norton Show welcomes 007

Friday:The Graham Norton Show; (BBC1, 10.35pm)

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 5:00 pm

First it was November 2019, then February 2020, then April, then October, then April again, but this time it was 2021.

Now, James Bond fans know there are just days before they can finally cast their eyes over the 25th entry in the franchise, Cary Joji Fukunaga’s No Time to Die.

Of course it was Covid-19 that caused all the delays, as lockdowns and health measures conspired to put obstacle after obstacle in the movie’s way.

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Graham Norton

But Bon has finally prevailed, and in case you haven’t seen any of the trailers (where have you been?) NTTD looks set to return him to the screen in style.

It not only features a script that has Fleabag star Phoebe Waller Bridge’s dabs all over it (she co-wrote it alongside Fukunaga) and a kick-ass theme song, written and performed by Billie Eilish with her brother Fergus, it’s also the final outing for Daniel Craig as 007.

It’s hard to imagine now, but when Craig was first announced as the edgy successor to Pierce Brosnan’s unashamedly sexy superspy in 2006, it immediately caused a kerfuffle among the media and some fans because he was the first blond actor to take on the role.

Casino Royale, which debuted an overhauled, tougher Bond, was a global smash, earning $606 million and becoming the highest-grossing film in the franchise (until 2012…). Critics silenced.

Two years later, Craig followed it up with Quantum of Solace, and while it received mixed reviews, the praise for the leading man remained.

There was a four-year wait for the next entry in the series, but without a doubt it was worth it. 2012 outing Skyfall bagged an Oscar for Adele and her haunting theme song, gave Judi Dench’s M the chance to say the ‘f’ word, and created one of the most memorable villains in Javier Bardem’s broken Raoul Silva.

Director Sam Mendes mined Bond’s murky past, and in the hands of Craig, the spy was given a depth that took him far beyond the blunt instrument of the British government. It was arguably one of the best Bond films ever made.

Three years later, Mendes returned to the director’s chair and Craig once again strapped on the Walther PPK and smartly tailored suit for Spectre. The sinister organisation had been hinted at in Quantum of Solace, but this outing brought it fully into the light. It also introduced Bond to Lea Seydoux as Dr Madeleine Swann, and gave us Christoph Waltz’s delicious interpretation of Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

As the world waits to see what happens to Bond in No Time to Die, Daniel Craig and Lea Seydoux park their perfect derrieres on Graham’s scarlet sofa to discuss making the movie and, for Craig at least, what life after Bond looks like. Graham also chats to Rami Malek, who plays the villain Safin in NTTD, as well as Lashana Lynch, who has been touted as a potential replacement for Craig. Will there be a scoop?

Sadly, there’s no appearance from Billie Eilish to complete our Bond bingo cards, but Ed Sheeran performing his latest single Shivers will do just fine.

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