Is ‘Bodyguard’ star Richard Madden a contender for the next James Bond?

"He’s the genuine article, a real leading man."

Richard Madden is being linked to the role of James Bond, after impressing viewers with a sharp-suited turn in Bodyguard.

The star, 32, has won plaudits for his turn as Sergeant David Budd in the acclaimed BBC show.

After impressing in the action thriller, the odds of Madden taking over from Daniel Craig have been dramatically slashed – with some bookmakers offering a 10/1 chance.

Bodyguard writer Jed Mercurio also thinks that even bigger things beckon for the former Game of Thrones star – and they could affect the show’s chances of a second season.

“He’s the genuine article, a real leading man. And I think this role has put him very much in the spotlight for bigger things. So the practicality may be that we have to work round his availability, if we are lucky enough to get him back,” Mercurio told the Radio Times.

However, Madden faces stiff competition from a variety of leading British actors – including widely touted frontrunner Idris Elba.

Last month, Elba stirred up longstanding rumours that he is set to play the next James Bond with a cryptic Twitter post.

The Luther star took to Twitter , sharing a heavily edited photo  of himself alongside the caption “My name’s Elba, Idris Elba”, a play on James Bond’s infamous catchphrase “The name’s Bond… James Bond.”

There also remains the question of how who will direct Daniel Craig’s final outing as Bond, after Danny Boyle quit the project last month.