British actor Colin Salmon has reignited speculation he is to play the first black James Bond, after confessing he has been in secret talks with producers of the superspy movies.

Tipped by Pierce Brosnan last year (04) as a good successor to the 007 role, Salmon has already starred in three Bond films as MI6 Chief of Staff, CHARLES ROBINSON.

And the respected Resident Evil actor admits that this, rather than racial prejudice, could cost him the lead role.

He says, "If I don't get the part, I won't think it's because I'm black. The producers have proved they can make brave appointments by casting Pierce Brosnan.

"If you'd said in the Seventies there would be an Irish Bond, people would have thought it was a joke.

"The process is more political than politics but I really want to be Bond. I know the British public is behind me."