BORDERS actor Jack Lowden’s outstanding portrayal of Kenny Noye, one of Britain’s most notorious criminals, in the BBC1 drama The Gold has seen his odds of becoming the next James Bond slashed.

Happy Valley was always going to be a hard act to follow but already viewers are hooked on the true-life story of the biggest robbery in UK history.

The heist took place on November 26, 1983, when six armed men broke into the Brink’s-Mat security depot near London’s Heathrow Airport, and inadvertently stumbled across gold bullion worth £26m.

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The Gold first aired on Sunday, February 12, with all episodes available as a boxset on iPlayer.

It has been well over a year since Daniel Craig left the 007 franchise in No Time To Die and the producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson have said the next Bond will be a man and teased he’ll probably be in his thirties.

The 32-year-old, who was brought up in Oxton, has seen his odds slashed from 16-1 to 10-1 at Ladbrokes and from 28-1 to 7-1 at William Hill.

Lowden also plays MI5 agent River Cartwright in the hugely popular Slow Horses series and last year he joined writer Mick Herron on stage at the Borders Book Festival.

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Before the show the Border Telegraph asked Lowden about the speculation but he declined to be drawn on the subject.

“It’s really flattering to be linked with Bond but I think Daniel Craig should have continued in the role for a little longer,” he said.

Other names in the frame to replace Craig include current favourite Aaron Taylor-Johnson, the 32-year-old Englishman who won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as a psychopathic drifter in Tom Ford’s thriller Nocturnal Animals.

Henry Cavill has also long been one of the front-runners to don the famous tuxedo, as has Tom Hardy, although his age may count against him.

James Norton, who played psychopath Tommy Lee Royce in award-winning BBC police drama Happy Valley, has also been well backed.