Charlie Higson shares affinity with Daniel Craig
As the pressure mounted around actor Daniel Craig in the run-up to the release of Casino Royale, Charlie Higson could empathise with the new James Bond more than anyone - reports Herts & Essex
The comedian, writer and one-time pop star had endured a similar level of suspicious criticism when he was commissioned to write a five-book series of young James Bond novels for children, the third of which - Double or Die - was released this month.
Charlie, who spoke to the Observer during a promotional visit to Bishop's Stortford College on Tuesday, said: "I thought he was really good in the film. He's made Bond much more of a real person than Pierce Brosnan was ever able to.
"They've gone back to the first book and I'm exploring his past. Both Daniel and I had the same sort of criticism. I do feel an affinity with him."
Charlie was approached out of the blue by Bond creator Ian Fleming's estate to tell the story of the dashing spy's formative years at Eton. As a lifelong Bond fan he described it as his dream job, but admitted to nerves as the 2005 publication of first novel SilverFin approached.
"The response has been really good. There's still a hard core who don't want to know about Bond as a child, no matter how good the books are, and I understand that, but then the book is aimed at kids, not them.
"The one good thing is James Bond appeals to the collecting side of the male psyche, so you get people who'll say they'll never read the books, but they will, of course, buy them so their collections are complete."
Charlie rose to prominence in the 1990s as one of the writers and stars of BBC2's The Fast Show. He said that while there would be no more television programmes, they may well "do some more live stuff".
He is still working with The Fast Show collaborator Paul Whitehouse, the second series of their BBC Radio 4 show Down The Line launched on Tuesday and said they had been writing a family movie together, which, if realised, would also feature their Fast Show co-stars.
Charlie chaired a Bond trivia quiz at the Maze Green Road school. A team from Bishop's Stortford High School won, receiving a Young Bond goodie bag.
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