The Coronation Street star Les Battersby has been confirmed as the actor chosen to be the new James Bond. The news comes close on the heels of Battersby's sacking from the soap after abusing fans at a family pub.
Battersby, who plays himself in the Street, has been suspended since February, when he downed 19 pints of Guinness and called diners "stupid twats", "gormless" and told them to "get a life", as well as hurling racial insults at Indian waiting staff.
Last week, Granada TV bosses axed Les, 31 but looking much older, and said that his role in the show had "run its course".
Battersby was surprised, then, to receive a call from EON-Productions yesterday, asking him if he would be interested in taking on the 007 role which Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan and latterly Daniel Craig have previously filled. Producers offered the part to him ahead of other 'stars' such as Dave Spikey and Johnny Vegas.
"I tuk a minit t' fink about it, then I sed yeh", said Les, drinking for the last time in the Rovers Return with his on-screen ex-wife Janice, the one whose face looks like it's been run over by a tractor.
The new Bond film, currently in production, is a departure for Battersby, who is used to playing the delinquent tramp role. His agent says that his accent won't be an impediment, and that the smooth-talking Les will woo audiences with his freakish charm and Northern wit.
Corrie producer Steve Frost said:
"He'll never work for us again. He's a talentless drunken bum."