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Casting Jane Bond

In a speech presumably designed to attract more females to MI6, the head of Britain’s Secret Service last week revealed that in real life, James Bond sidekick and gadget extraordinaire Q is a woman.

The tech wizard has always been played by a man – from Fawlty Towers’ John Cleese to current incumbent Ben Whishaw – but I think that in this day and age we can go one better. The head of M16, M, has already been portrayed by a woman – Dame Judi Dench, who held the position for ten years between 2002 and 2012.

Why not give the role of the world’s premier super spy to a member of the fairer sex? Yes, some would argue that James Bond is defined by his masculinity. The fast cars, the high tech gadgets, the womanising. I say – rubbish! Anything James can do, Jane can do…better.

Despite being gently reminded by my boyfriend that I am not in charge of casting for Sony Pictures (yet!), I've been on the hunt for my perfect Jane Bond for the past year and decided it was high time I put forward my top five candidates for the role:

#5 Rosamund Pike

Rosmund Pike

Pike has been around for so long that it’s hard to believe that she’s only 38! The only member of my top five to have actually played a Bond Girl (in 2002’s best left forgotten Die Another Day) arguably her finest hour came with an Oscar-nominated performance in Gone Girl, as the sociopath ‘gone’ girl of the title. Although she comes with an impressive pedigree, Pike is arguably unproven as an ‘action-heroine’, and it remains to be seen how she would handle the wall to wall physicality of the role.

#4 Freema Agyeman

Agyeman’s experience as the tardis-hopping medical student Martha Jones in Doctor Who’s third series would stand her in good stead for the outlandish adventures that are commonplace for a 00 agent.

The actress, who has also starred in Doctor Who spin off Torchwood and recent Netflix Drama Sense8, has an everyman quality that isn’t always associated with 007. Often seen as a perennial sidekick, winning the part of Jane Bond would give her an opportunity to shine in the centre stage.

#3 Rachel Weisz

Having been married to Daniel Craig since 2010, Weisz must have a rare insight into the (fictional) life of an MI6 super sleuth. She has experience in action flicks like The Mummy and Constantine, and a sense of refinement and class that would be perfect for the first female 007.

My only worry is that Weisz is arguably TOO good – Bond has always worked best when played by a relative unknown, freed from the expectations of previous roles (I for one struggle to separate her from her excellent performance in About A Boy!).

#2 Sarah Lancashire

Already touted by the Daily Telegraph as a possible Jane Bond last year, Lancashire is more understated than some of my other choices.

Despite a number of previous memorable roles – my favourite being strong willed headteacher Caroline from Last Tango in Halifax – it is only with the gritty BBC Drama Happy Valley that she has been able to showcase her more ‘kick-ass’ side, as Police Sergeant Catherine Cawood. Lancashire has a hard edge to her – best demonstrated in Happy Valley, and would certainly be a match for anything that the part could throw at her.

#1 Suranne Jones

Suranne Jones

Despite a number of award-winning TV performances, Coronation Street alumni Suranne Jones has never been given a crack at the big screen. It is difficult to see why – whether she is taking down baddies as Sergeant Rachel Bailey or uncovering a deceitful husband as Dr. Foster, Jones brings an irrepressible blend of intensity, drive and humour to her every role. I am a huge fan.

No, she isn't well known on the world stage, but the role of 007 is rarely taken on by a bona-fide superstar. It might be a risk, but I say – sign her up!

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