Madeline, who as Italian agent Miss Caruso famously had the zip on her tight blue dress pulled down by Bond’s magnetic watch, insists the films should stay true to Ian Fleming’s novels, including the gender of the main character.
Still acting at 74, Madeline says: “I don’t think Bond should be a woman. Definitely not.” The probability of the next Bond being female rose following the most recent film in the franchise, No Time To Die, in 2021.
Because Bond quit, female agent Nomi, played by Lashana Lynch, was assigned 007. But Madeline says: “They need to go back to the beginning with those books and remake a couple of the films.
Most of them are perfect.” And on the decision to kill off Bond, she adds: “Anything to get bums on seats, but the idea didn’t appeal to me at all. But like Sherlock Holmes it’s just a ruse, another catch, and of course he didn’t really die – he will be reincarnated.”
On Daniel Craig’s successor, Madeleine says: “Once upon a time I would have said Hugh Jackman. I fear he may be getting a little too mature, but he’d be my ideal.
“I think Daniel Craig is a fantastic actor and I love watching him, but not as Bond.
“It’s no criticism of him but I don’t
find him sexually attractive at all, let’s be honest. To find somebody watchable they’ve got to have a sexuality and a sensuality, otherwise I don’t watch. Old actors like Gary Cooper had it, and of the Bond actors Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan.”
Others tipped for the role include Henry Cavill, James Norton, and Idris Elba.
Sussex-born Madeline was personally recommended for Live And Let Die by its star Roger Moore. She had already been in an episode of The Persuaders which co-starred Moore and Tony Curtis.
She jokingly describes herself as “Roger’s first bedded Bond girl” as she was the first between the sheets in his debut as 007. But she reveals: “For our scenes together, Roger was so discreet and lovely…and his wife was at the bottom of the bed. Luisa, his Italian wife, was there the whole time.
“I think Roger was gorgeous, but there was wifey and he was very much married. I don’t go for married guys. It’s a big turn off.”
Of her role, originally just listed as “Beautiful Girl”, Madeline says: “I adored that part. It’s a little piece of music hall, it had nothing to do with the rest of the film. They could easily have cut it but they didn’t. I just loved my little film and I loved Roger.”
Madeline also featured in three Hammer Horror films, two Up Pompeii films, a Carry On film, TV series like The Two Ronnies and Doctor At Large, and worked on stage with stars such Alec Guinness, Frankie Howerd and Dinah Sheridan.
“My career started to take a nosedive when I got parts like playing Arthur Lowe’s daughter in Doctor At Large. Lovely as it was, I was becoming the comic foil in so many things, including The Two Ronnies, that limited my career.
“I did get typecast. I became a couple of breasts on legs. There is no regret in any of this – most people would give their eye teeth for the things that I did, like Up Pompeii. I had a ball and I loved working with wonderful people.
“But people assumed my capabilities were limited, that I didn’t have the talent. I was always quite a bright cookie, so it was very frustrating. That’s when I went off to do an English degree.”
Madeline appeared topless on screen once, in the 1970 horror flick Vampire Lovers. “I got told in the day I had to take my bodice off. I was told it was only for the Japanese version, and I was so young and innocent that I believed it. I was a pathetic little teenager with my breasts hanging out.
“That was Hammer Films striving to make their way in the bitter 70s and I was a victim. A boyfriend of my daughter said, ‘Your mother, she’s the porno one isn’t she?’ That was upsetting for my daughter. Emily hates everything I’ve ever done.”
Emily, 39, is Madeline’s only child, from her marriage to actor David Buck, whom she wed six months before he died from a brain tumour in 1989. Her most recent relationship, 29 years with US businessman Ralph Griffith, ended with his death at 91 in November 2022.
She says: “Since I’m alone in the world now without my lovely partner, I’d like consistency and a workplace to go to. I want to get back to proper acting and in the theatre. I’m frantic to do that.
“I’m not looking for heavy Shakespeare. I’m a comic turn, but I’m not vulgar. I just love making people laugh. But I don’t get offered anything, because people think of me as an ex-glamour model.”
Madeline attends numerous 007 events. The next is Casino Royale 70 at Pinewood on October 29. But when asked if she would like to be in another Bond film, she replies: “There would be no part for me. They’re not interested in me. I’m done with as far as they’re concerned.”