A dapper Daniel poses for his first official shot after being confirmed as the new Bond
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The actor arrives at the press conference in appropriately 007-style transport

14 OCTOBER 2005

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Her Majesty's Secret Service has a new recruit today after Daniel Craig was confirmed as the latest James Bond. The news puts an end to months of feverish speculation that saw everyone from Clive Owen and Jude Law to Colin Farrell and Orlando Bloom linked with the super-spy role.

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Producers of the big screen's longest-running franchise announced the identity of their new signing at a press conference aboard the HMS President on Friday afternoon. And the blonde actor made an appropriately high-octane entrance, roaring up to the vessel on board a military speedboat.

Once on deck he said playing Bond would not be easy, but he intended to approach the task with plenty of the character's own winning spirit. "It's a huge challenge," he explained. "Life is about challenges and this is one of the big ones as an actor."

Daniel will make his debut in the forthcoming Casino Royale, a big screen adaptation of Ian Fleming's first Bond novel. Sources close to the actor earlier suggested he had some reservations about accepting the part, as he feared it might limit his ability to win more complex leads in the future. He will also be aware that he has a tough act to follow, as his predecessor Pierce Brosnan was widely regarded as one of, if not the best, Bond to date.

"We've got an incredible script and that's my first line of attack," said the 37-year-old. "Once I'd read that, I realised that I didn't have a choice. I had to go for it."

Daniel first came to prominence after winning critical acclaim for his portrayal of Geordie in the TV drama Our Friends In The North, but more recently he has hit the headlines for rather less salubrious reasons, after his alleged fling with Sienna Miller was reported to be a factor in her split from Jude Law.

Daniel has already earned his stripes as an actor, though, having received the thumbs up from critics for his portrayal of a troubled handyman in The Mother and the poet Ted Hughes in Sylvia. Thanks to his collaboration with Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, he also knows a thing or two about the action adventure format.

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