LONDON • With a woman set to play the role of sci-fi television character Doctor Who for the first time in 54 years, British betting firms have cut the odds on a female taking on another of the most famous fictional male roles - James Bond.
While Doctor Who fans were divided over Jodie Whittaker, 35, becoming the 13th and first female Time Lord, bookmakers said this could be a sign of more changes to come. Two major betting firms on Monday shortened their odds on a female Bond - with Gillian Anderson, 48, best known for her role in The X-Files television series (1993-2002, 2016), the front runner.
William Hill cut its odds to 12/1 from 20/1 on a female Bond, while Ladbrokes cut its odds to 10/1 from 12/1. Anderson was the front runner for the role at 16/1 with Paddy Power and 33/1 with William Hill.
"Jodie Whittaker getting the nod is just what the doctor ordered and there's no doubt it's sparked plenty of speculation on whether the next James Bond role will go to a female," Paddy Power spokesman Lewis Davey said. "We've certainly been shaken and stirred by the news and have significantly cut the odds on X-Files star Gillian Anderson to be 007."
However, it was seen as unlikely that any change would be quick for Britain's most notorious spy, with Paddy Power running odds at 1/50 for the new Bond to stay male, with Tom Hardy the favourite to take over from Daniel Craig.
To date, there have been seven actors playing Bond in 26 films dating back to 1962. "It would certainly shake and stir things up if James Bond became Jane Bond. However, at this stage, it remains an outside chance," said Ladbrokes spokesman Jessica Bridge.