Bookmakers in the UK have slashed odds of Idris Elba being the next 007 in response to a flurry of wagers being placed on the Long Walk to Freedom star to replace Daniel Craig in the role.

Punters have responded to the release of a new season of BBC crime drama Luther, by backing the son of African immigrants to take on the iconic role.

When approached for comment by the Daily Express, bookmakers said: “Idris Elba is set to hit our screens again on New Year’s Day as DCI John Luther and ahead of the return of the show, punters have been rushing in to back him to become the next James Bond.”

At 3/1 Elba is now third favourite to take up the role behind Thor: Ragnarok co-star Tom Hiddleston (6/4) and James Norton (2-1), who stars in another TV crime drama Happy Valley.

Elba was a bold choice when cast as Heimdall in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, given the character is attached very strongly to Norse mythology. He has since won over a number of fans with his performances.

Director Antoine Fuqua stoked rumours when he aid that Elba ‘could’ play 007 in 2018.

Fuqua said: “Idris could do it if he was in shape. You need a guy with a physically strong presence. Idris has that.”

Elba has been quick to shut down rumours connecting him to the role even when the source of the rumours is himself. In August he Tweeted: “My name’s Elba, Idris Elba,” but then squashed that hope by tweeting a few days later: “Don’t believe the HYPE.”

Some fans and critics have expressed concern that the Bond franchise might use Elba to regain relevance in an industry desperate for fresh ideas. Still others are concerned that playing 007 could kill the career of a star who could produce a startling body of work.

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