Madonna's ex-husband Guy Ritchie has emerged as British bookmakers' favourite to take charge of the next James Bond movie days after director Sam Mendes announced he would not be back for the follow-up to Skyfall, the most successful 007 film in history.

Bosses at William Hill have installed the Snatch filmmaker as the 4/1 favourite to lead the cast of Daniel Craig's next outing as the movie superspy.

Previous Bond director Martin Campbell, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg are also in the running, while Clint Eastwood, James Cameron, Quentin Tarantino and Ang Lee are all long shots.

The 24th Bond movie is expected to go before cameras next year (14).