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From teacher with love

The drama teacher who set the new James Bond actor, Daniel Craig, on the road to stardom fears the role could leave him typecast.

Hilary Green, who has retired from teaching and now writes Second World War spy novels, hopes her most famous former pupil will give up the role after just three or four films.

But she believes that Mr Craig, who she keeps in contact with through regular visits backstage when he is in theatre, will bring back credibility to the Ian Fleming character.

"He will be an excellent James Bond, very different. The latest films have been a bit silly, and Danny will bring the edginess, grittiness and menace to the character of someone who is trained to shoot to kill. I just hope he won't go on doing it for too many years, as once you are James Bond it is difficult to be anything else," she said.

Mrs Green, a trained actress, taught Mr Craig as a teenager at Hilbre high in the Wirral, but in 1995 she retired to write novels chronicling the missions of agents behind enemy lines.

Although she could not think of a suitable role for her former pupil from among the characters in her first book, she said: "In my second, I can think of a really horrible part for him to play, a really nasty character, so I am not sure he would want it."

In the early 1980s, when Mr Craig first attended her drama lessons, Mrs Green instantly recognised his potential. He did not intend to audition for her production of Oliver!, but she persuaded him to take the part of the undertaker.

"From then on I made sure we gave him every opportunity to develop. We worked together closely for three years, and he tried quite a few different things. He was very popular, a real boys' boy, and of course all the girls were in love with him. I always thought he had something special," she said.

Mr Craig has since gone on to appear in the acclaimed TV series Our Friends in the North and films including Enduring Love and The Mother. It is believed he has signed a pound;15 million, three-film deal to play Bond.

Mrs Green's latest book, We'll Meet Again, tells the story of the women of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry posted to north Africa and Italy. A sequel, Never Say Goodbye, is due to be published by Hodder Stoughton in May next year.

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