James Norton in talks to be the next James Bond?

James Norton is reportedly the front runner to be the next James Bond.

The 34-year-old actor is believed to be in the running to take on the iconic 007 role after Daniel Craig departs from the long running movie franchise following the release of 'No Time To Die' in April this year.

James has reportedly been involved in secret meetings with the franchise's producers, including film chief Barbara Broccoli, and is now the favourite to bag the role, according to bookmakers.

A source told The Sun on Sunday newspaper: "Numerous meetings and secret squirrel script readings were had at the back end of last year.

"James has always been in the frame but until four months ago there were no concrete moves.

"Producers wanted a Brit and James ticks all the boxes -- tall, strapping, physically fit and, of course, looks great in a dinner jacket.

"James has been filming in upstate New York for the past few months, but was out celebrating recently, with one of his gang openly telling revellers that his mate was the new James Bond.

"Everyone is hoping to get the deal confirmed and signed off, with an announcement in the summer."

James is best known for starring in British TV series including 'Happy Valley', 'McMafia', and 'Grantchester', as well as playing John Brooke in the 2019 movie 'Little Women'.

His potential Bond role comes after the likes of Richard Madden and Idris Elba were previously thought to be among those likely to star as the suave spy.

And 'Outlander' star Sam Heughan recently threw his hat into the ring too, saying he'd love to be the franchise's first Scottish Bond since Sir Sean Connery.

He said: "I can reveal right now, I am not James Bond. I'm still waiting for the call. Well, I haven't been told I'm not ...

"I'd be the first Scottish [since Sean Connery]. Ian Fleming, he had a lot of Scottish ties. I think it would definitely be time for another Scottish Bond, but I actually shot a movie this year ['SAS: Red Notice'] based on Andy McNab's novels. It's a lot like Bond, a lot like Bourne."