Pierce Brosnan

The 59-year-old actor - who portrayed the suave spy in four movies until 2002's 'Die Another Day' - believes his successor is the perfect choice for the character at present because he is so "hard" and the franchise has moved on to a different era, thanks largely to competition from the 'Bourne' movie series.

He said: "Bond was a glorious time for me. I have nothing but gratitude for having played such a role. And Daniel is magnificent. He's a very hard man. Daniel gives 150 per cent of himself to it constantly, both physically and emotionally. He's a Bond for this age and this time.

"Once I saw Matt Damon come onto the stage with 'The Bourne Identity', I could see that the stakes had been upped. My era of playing Bond was still a cross-pollination of Sean Connery and Roger Moore. They hadn't made that leap into the next phase; the huge action, and a more brutal Bond."

Despite being impressed with Daniel's portrayal of Bond, Pierce admits to feeling envious when he saw recent film 'Skyfall', which saw the spy's boss M meet her end, as he would've loved to have shot the moving scene with Dame Judi Dench.

He told Yahoo! movies: "I would have loved to have held her in my arms myself. I would have loved to have played that scene with her. But it was not meant to be for me. It was Daniel's moment and his time.

"Dame Judi is such a magnificent lady in every sense of the word: as a human being and as an actress. Her presence on stage and screen is so magnetic. Her graciousness in life is so beautiful. So there you go. Sic transit gloria mundi [Thus passes the glory of the world]."