Page last updated at 19:59 GMT, Saturday, 24 April 2010 20:59 UK

Bond fans gather amid uncertainty for 007's future

By Alison Harper
BBC News

Daniel Craig
Fans hope that Daniel Craig will don the tuxedo again

Despite recent news that the next James Bond film has been suspended "indefinitely", stars of the series including George Lazenby, Richard Kiel, Honor Blackman, Britt Ekland have been meeting fans at a festival in London.

At the London Film Museum, there is no question that at the box office there is one movie star whose light shines brighter than most: James Bond.

A 007 film brings in the cash: Casino Royale, Daniel Craig's first outing as the spy, made more than £350 million worldwide.

So movie buffs at the Bond Fan's Festival were asking why a money crisis has led to work on the latest film being suspended indefinitely.

As MGM battle to find a buyer to settle its huge £2.4bn debt, it may appear that the James Bond train has come to a halt.

It has not. As I found out it is still trundling on, powered by its successes over the past five decades.

Out of character

In one of the panelled rooms within County Hall, tables are set out along the edge of the room. Above each one is a movie character from a scene played out over the past 48 years.

Just as you walk past, you realise the person clasping the pen and sitting behind the table is actually the star.

Interview with James Bond's giant foe, 'Jaws'

A little older yes, but the actual Bond star, almost willing you on, waiting for the moment the penny drops.

The hard part is recognising them out of character - Jesper Christensen aka Mr White (not what I imagined), Sylvana Henriques aka Blofeld's Angel of Death (looking pretty good 40 years on but obviously older).

The one person you can not mistake is Richard Kiel - Jaws. Legend. He has the biggest queue of all.

Even without his metal teeth, fans pay to have their photos taken with him. They pay more for a signed photo. Jaws offered to bite me on the neck - for free. I said no.

So does one of Bond's most famous adversaries think the end is nigh for the famous franchise? The answer is negative - Kiel says financial issues and delays are nothing new.

"They had a gap before... Just before Goldeneye," he says.

"Somebody bought MGM. So it'll be made. There'll be another Bond film, don't worry."

Hungry fans

Phew. Because there are an awful lot of fans here who appear to live and breathe Bond.

Andy Davison has brought his young son Ashton to come and meet the stars, except Ashton is actually scared of real life Jaws. Still, it is a father-son moment.

Andy Davison
I hope it goes on for generations to come
Andy Davison

"I think James Bond is probably what every boy wants to be and every middle-aged man wants to be as well," said Davison.

"It's probably the most successful... well, it is the most successful franchise in history. It's been going for nearly 50 years.

"I love it. My son loves it. And I hope it goes on for generations to come."

At the Fan Festival there is no escaping the lure of Bond and its enduring appeal - no wonder 007 was about to embark on his 23rd film.

Industry experts say it will be made, the only question is when.

For the hungry fans, it cannot come soon enough.

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