James Bond star Daniel Craig declared last night’s red carpet launch of Skyfall his greatest 007 premiere yet as the film series celebrated its 50th anniversary.
The actor, playing the agent for a third time, was the first of the film’s stars to arrive at the Royal Albert Hall for the royal premiere.
Craig said he was “incredibly proud” to once more be playing the suave hero created by Ian Fleming, who first appeared on the big screen in Dr No in 1962.
Three months after he played a part in the Olympic opening ceremony alongside the Queen, Craig was due to meet her son the Prince of Wales who was the royal guest at the screening.
“I’ve never been to a premiere like this, it’s incredible,” he said as he arrived at the venue, where guests filed past a huge gold 007 logo and a classic Aston Martin.
He was joined by fellow stars Naomie Harris, Javier Bardem – who plays Bond’s nemesis Silva – and Ben Whishaw, who stars as Q.
Bardem said he was always drawn to Bond villains after seeing the metal-toothed baddie Jaws in Moonraker as a youngster.
Asked about the enduring appeal of the films, he said: “Well, 50 years is a long time. That means they have been doing something really right, starting with the actors who have played Bond. They have all brought their own flavour to it.”
Oscar-winning American Beauty film-maker Sam Mendes was brought on board for the latest film, after Craig boldly invited the director better known for theatre and high concept dramas to work on it.
Also among the hundreds of guests filtering into the Albert Hall was Dame Judi Dench who returns once again as secret service boss M.
Craig told the BBC: “There’s nothing quite like it. This feels even more special than the ones that have gone before for me.”