Veteran British actor Charles Dance was offered the chance to play movie superspy JAMES BOND - but turned the opportunity down.

The GOSFORD PARK star regrets his decision - which "was probably a mistake" - but still feels taking the role would have typecast him as a suave romantic hero.

The 56-year-old is also grateful he didn't have to undergo the physical scrutiny former 007 stars SIR Sean Connery and Roger Moore have been subjected to since hanging up the secret agent's famous tuxedo.

Dance says, "People have this image of actors and they want to keep it, so you have to start getting into toupees and facelift and Botox and all that nonsense.

"You either fight the ageing process or go with it. I'd rather go with it."

29/09/2003 13:54