Damian Lewis tipped to become next James Bond

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It may well be a shameless attempt to generate column inches, but one U.K. bookmaker has, out of the blue, slashed its odds of Homeland star Damian Lewis being named the next James Bond.

William Hill revealed on Monday that it had dramatically dropped Lewis' price from an outsider 25/1 to near-favorite 3/1, just short of hot tip Idris Elba, currently 5/2, and putting the actor firmly in contention ahead of Tom Hardy (4/1), Henry Cavill (5/1) and Michael Fassbender (7/1).

"This is an unprecedented gamble, as for no apparent reason we have seen bets of up to £200 [$312] on Damian Lewis being named as the next Bond. This could well be significant and might herald the end of Daniel Craig as the world's most famous spy," said a spokesperson.

Lewis has previously hinted at his desire to play the famed superspy, joking in 2013 that the Scottish heritage outlined in Skyfall had "paved the way perfectly for a red-headed Bond."

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