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Friday, November 19, 1999 Published at 13:53 GMT

Blunder Bonds

Not so secret agents: Clinton, Gascoigne, Savile, Whiteley and Springer

Pierce Brosnan has suggested that The World Is Not Enough could be one of his last Bond films. Here, the BBC's Barry Neild compiles a dossier on some unlikely candidates for the 007 role.

Jerry Springer

Until now US talk show king Jerry Springer has focused his efforts on presiding over the grubby domestic differences of guests who, if they slipped any further back along the evolutionary chain, would probably while away the hours inspecting each other for insects.

But, if British-born Mr Springer's level-headed approach to such small-scale problem-solving could be expanded to a global level, perhaps he has a future in MI6.

There again, the idea of two super powers slugging it out on a thermonuclear scale while the assembled representatives of the United Nations chant "Jerry, Jerry" from the safety of a subterranean bunker, is more than a little scary.

Verdict: Muckraker

Richard Whiteley

Special effects and lavish locations may be crucial components - but no Bond film is complete without its share of smoothly delivered one-liners.

[ image: Vorderman could prove the brainiest Bond girl yet]
Vorderman could prove the brainiest Bond girl yet
And who better to deliver these than ill-at-ease Countdown presenter Richard Whiteley, whose fumbling witticisms have become a cult among students and other couch potatoes?

Unfortunately, while Countdown number-cruncher Carol Vorderman would make a formidable Bond girl, Mr Whiteley's excruciating word-plays are usually so lame, many of them have to be taken outside and shot before filming is finished.

Verdict: Dire Puns Are Forever

Paul Gascoigne

When it comes to last-minute heroics out in the field, Geordie footballer Paul Gascoigne has served his country well.

[ image: Jimmy Five Bellies could keep agent Gascoigne off the martinis]
Jimmy Five Bellies could keep agent Gascoigne off the martinis
And, if he can control his blubbering, his maverick skills could easily be transferred to the spying game.

Sadly, what Gazza has in heroics, he forsakes in finesse.

Any style points gained by slurping a martini (shaken, not stirred) may be lost if fellow secret agent Jimmy 005 Bellies inadvertently drags him out for seven pints of super strength and a kebab.

Verdict: For Your Pies Only

Sir Jimmy Savile

M, James Bond's boss, would have an easier job if all his or her espionage problems could be solved with a simple letter: "Dear Jimmy, can you fix it for me to rid the world of the deadly threat posed by SPECTRE?"

However, since much of Bond's work seems to rely on his suave ability to mingle with tuxedo-wearing tax evaders in the casinos of Monte Carlo, arriving in a flamboyant jogging outfit adorned with jangling jewellery to hail: "Now then, now then, Dr Evil Megalomaniac, how's about surrendering then!" is perhaps not the best approach.

Verdict: The Man With the Gold Lame Tracksuit

Bill Clinton

When it comes to matching Bond's ability for getting out of sticky scrapes, nobody does it better than the original Comeback Kid, William Jefferson Clinton.

[ image: Ken Starr could cause agent Clinton a few more problems]
Ken Starr could cause agent Clinton a few more problems
The saxophone-tooting US president has managed to shake off so many scandals, he could probably pinch the Pope's mobile and still secure a sainthood.

Of course, there is a danger that SPECTRE might persuade prosecutor Ken Starr to round up a few former Bond girls to make allegations about his misuse of Q-branch issued "smoking weapons".

Verdict: Dr No, er, well it depends on how you define "sexual relations"

Gordon Ramsay

When faced by some of his more aggressive opponents, 007 needs to be able to turn up the heat.

And hot-blooded celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay's notorious working methods are likely to strike fear into the heart of even the most hardened Bond villain.

[ image: Ramsay could be a formidable force]
Ramsay could be a formidable force
The former Rangers player, who had few qualms about flinging fancy food over restaurant critic AA Gill and giving guest Joan Collins her marching orders, could prove unbeatable if trained in mortal combat.

Problems may arise, however, due to his unorthodox working practices. A simple "pay attention Bond!" from Q would probably result in Desmond Llewellyn being grabbed by the lapels and told, in no uncertain terms, exactly where he should shove his gadgets.

Verdict: You Only Sieve Twice

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In this section

Four decades of Bondage

Bond 19: More than enough

Alphabetical Bond

One girl is not enough

The many faces of Bond

The man behind Bond

Selling a super spy

Serenade to a spy

Blunder Bonds

The James Bond dossier