Pierce Brosnan feels that the James Bond films have become too dark in tone and have lost their sense of humour in the Daniel Craig era, and blames the rise of the Bourne series.

65 year old Brosnan, who starred in four of the franchise’s films, last played 007 in 2002’s Die Another Day. Since then, Daniel Craig has overseen a revival in the series’ credibility and commercial fortunes, but his predecessor told The Rake that he had concerns about the direction the Bond films had taken.

“I knew there had been a seismic shift, and little did I know I was going to be part of that in the curtain falling on my contract,” Brosnan explained, adding that it was down to the rise in more serious spy films like The Bourne Identity, which was released the same year as his final James Bond movie.

Pierce BrosnanPierce Brosnan played Bond four times

“I knew they had to make adjustments,” he said. “They had strong competition and they haven’t reinvented it, but given it a much more muscular, dynamic twist.”

More: Pierce Brosnan backs Tom Hardy to become the next James Bond actor

“When I played [Bond], you have to let the audience in that this is a fantastic joke. What I am doing here, jumping off a motorcycle and catching up a plane, is completely preposterous.”

The identity of the next James Bond film is still unknown, and has been delayed since Craig rowed back on his promise never to do another one by signing up for his fifth and final movie, which is to be directed by Danny Boyle and is set for release late in 2019.

Daniel CraigDaniel Craig's Bond films have been hugely successful

Brosnan himself recently endorsed Tom Hardy for the role, saying “you need an actor who can put a little wiggle into it”. However, the smart money is now back on Idris Elba, after the film’s boss Barbara Broccoli said the “door is open” for a black actor to play James Bond.

More: “Door open” for a black James Bond actor – Idris Elba once again tagged as favourite