Next James Bond: Hopes rise for Idris Elba as he dukes it out with Tom Hardy

Even Elba’s mum has been swept along by all the Bond hype, with the actor revealing: “My mum, my poor mum, she’s like, ‘One day you’re going to get it! Don’t mind them! Don’t mind them!’ I’m like, ‘Mum, it’s alright. I’m good. I’ve got Luther.'” In fact, the star himself actually recently announced he was focussing more on his music and DJing at the moment. It looks like playing hard to get is working in his favour as his odds with UK bookies have started to rise.

Ever since Daniel Craig hinted he might not return after SPECTRE in 2015 with those “I’d rather slit my wrists” comments, there has been a small core group of actors leading the race to replace him.

Elba has always been a hot favourite and frequently tops polls of British fans. Bond producer Barbara Broccoli even said: “Well, we know Idris, we’re friends with him, and he’s a magnificent actor. And, you know, it’s been part of the conversation, but it’s always difficult to have the conversation when you have someone in the seat.”

Now that No Time To Die disproved its own headline and Craig’s incarnation of the British spy is conclusively and comprehensible gone, that seat is finally empty. Although Elba potentially has No Time to Waste, since he will be turning 50 this September…

Alex Apati from Ladbrokes told Express Online: “It’s been a good week for Idris Elba as far as the odds are concerned; having been as big as 12/1 on Monday, he now finds himself firmly among the frontrunners.”

Currently, Page has extended his lead on odds of 7/4. The second favourite remains Superman and Witcher star Cavill on 4/1. Things have started to get interesting in the chasing pack tucked just behind, led by Hardy who has steadily started rising back up the rankings and now lies on 6/1.

Ladbrokes have Tuner still looking strong on 7/1 and then there is a real scrum of action man hero actors jostling for contension.

Four major contenders are all currently sitting on 10/1. Michael Fassbender, Peaky Blinders’ Cillian Murphy and Norton have been joined by a resurgent Elba.

With so little to choose between them, it is important to listen closely to Broccoli’s recent comments earlier this month: “It’s a big decision. It’s not just casting a role. It’s about a whole rethink about where we’re going.”

She has previously explained that the actor they choose will be dictated by the tone the films in the rebooted franchise will take: “Are they going to be more humorous or less humorous, more gritty or not gritty? And then, when we’ve done that, we have to figure out the actor to play it. So, no, it’s not just ‘Oh, who looks good in a suit?’ We have to figure this out on our own.”

A fresh direction would love it away from Craig’s more stoic, macho iteration, which may favour stars who are more adept at comedy…