James Bond star Judi Dench makes BIG claim about Idris Elba replacing Daniel Craig as 007

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JAMES BOND star Dame Judi Dench, an insider when it comes to the franchise, dropped a hint that Idris Elba could be selected as the new 007 actor after Daniel Craig exits following No Time To Die.

James Bond fever is ramping up following the release of the first trailer last week, which gave fans a glimpse at Daniel Craig’s last outing as 007. The actor will step down from the role after 14 years with the release of No Time To Die next spring. Who’s next in line for the job, however, remains a mystery.

Bookies have Idris Elba down as one of the frontrunners, with Ladbrokes and Coral currently pricing him at 8-1.

And it seems former Bond star Dame Judi Dench is also backing the Luther actor as the new 007 as she dropped a heavy hint on tonight’s instalment of The Graham Norton Show.

The episode, which was recorded last night, had Dench revealing she joked about Elba getting the Bond title when they were filming Cats together.

“I knew he was up for it,” she said. “In Cats I had the line to him, ‘You’ll never get to the Heaviside Layer.’”

 JAMES BOND: IDRIS ELBA AS 007 ‘COULD BE COSTLY’

“But during rehearsals I said, ‘You’ll never get to MI6,’” she quipped.

However, the actress, who previously played M in Bond, revealed she thinks Elba really could snag the job after Craig’s departure, adding: “But I think he might.”

Elba has previously addressed the possibility of playing 007, telling Variety: “James Bond is a hugely coveted, iconic, beloved character that takes audiences on this massive escapism journey.

“Of course, if someone said to me, ‘Do you wasn’t to play James Bond?’ I’d be like, ‘Yeah!’ That’s fascinating to me,” he continued.

“But it’s not something I’ve expressed, like, ‘Yeah, I wanna be the black James Bond.”

The Thor actor also admitted getting the part would put him in a “difficult position” as he spoke out on the backlash to the idea from certain fans.

“You just get disheartened when you get people from a generational point of view going, ‘It can’t be,’ and it turns out to be the colour of my skin,” he said.

“And then if I get int and it didn’t work, or it did work, would it be because of the colour of my skin?”

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“That’s a difficult position to put myself into when I don’t need to.

Craig recently confirmed No Time To Die would be his last Bond movie and shrugged off rumours he might return to the franchise in as a director.

A source for the Mail on Sunday previously claimed he could take a turn behind the camera after leaving the character behind, saying: “Daniel has been the driving force behind Bond 25. He is determined to go out in style.

“He hired Phoebe [Waller-Bridge] and he’s been closely involved in every aspect of this film, from the script to the development of the characters.

“Barbara [Broccoli, the producer] has been vocal about her support of him and would love him to return to direct the next one,” the insider added.

“Daniel is so in tune with the character and has been saying Bond has to grow and change to fit the times.”

However, Craig told German website Express that he had no interest in coming back to direct.

“In the future, someone else has to do it,” he insisted.

The Graham Norton Show airs tonight at 10.35pm on BBC One.

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