John Cleese, who played James Bond’s gadget man Q in 2002’s Die Another Day, has claimed that filmmakers are more interested in the Britsh Spy’s action sequences than the witty one-liners and quintessentially British themes that made him so popular.

John CleeseJohn Cleese pictured outside BBC Radio 1's studios

"I did two James Bond movies and then I believe that they decided that the tone they needed was that of the Bourne action movies, which are very gritty and humourless," he told the Radio Times.

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"Also the big money was coming from Asia, from the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, where the audiences go to watch the action sequences, and that's why in my opinion the action sequences go on for too long, and it's a fundamental flaw." He added: "The audiences in Asia are not going for the subtle British humour or the class jokes."

Bond #23, Skyfall, became the highest grossing 007 movie of all time, pulling in over $1 billion from the global box office. It marks the most successful point of Daniel Craig’s tenure as the super spy, and – in line with Cleese’s criticisms of the franchise – does focus on the darker aspects of his character. 

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After some lengthy negotiations, Mendes will also direct Bond 24, making him the first filmmaker since John Glen to direct two Bond films in a row. “I felt I put everything I possibly could into this film and it was the Bond film I wanted to make. And if I felt I could do the same again, then absolutely I would consider doing another one. But it is a big task and I wouldn't do it unless I knew I could,” he explained at the time.

Bond 24 is due out in 2015 and will star Craig as Bond once more with Ben Whishaw returning as Q. Ralph Riennes and Penelope Cruz are both rumoured to star, as is Chiwetel Ejiofor.