Spy chiefs are eager for a black female James Bond because it would drive diversity in the intelligence services, an expert has said.
John Taylor, who trains operatives worldwide after a 30-year career in the Foreign Office, said many people apply to MI6 because they are “envious” of Bond’s glamorous lifestyle.
Casting a black actor or actress as Bond would cause an uptick in applicants from black, Asian, and minority ethnic backgrounds, he told audience members at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.
Intelligence services welcome the prospect as having agents from different backgrounds would improve their operational capabilities, he suggested.
Describing Bond as the “biggest recruitment aid” in recent memory, he said: “The only thing chiefs, I think, would want to change, going back to an earlier conversation, and it may happen yet, is that James Bond should be a black man, or a woman, or a black woman, and you know [it] would make those sort of people also, for diversity, want to join.
“James Bond has been nothing but good.”
Idris Elba had been touted by many as the frontrunner to replace Daniel Craig as Bond after Craig’s fifth and final portrayal in 2021’s No Time to Die.
However, in June this year Elba said the “disgusting racism” towards his skin colour put him off taking the role.
Barbara Broccoli, a producer who has overseen the Bond series since 1995’s GoldenEye, previously said that the character could be any ethnicity as long as the actor was British.
For the first time in the history of the franchise a black actress played a 007 agent in No Time to Die. Lashana Lynch played Nomi, the new agent who took over from the retired James Bond.