China this week becomes the last major territory to screen Casino Royale, closing a run that has already left all 007 predecessors in its wake. What has been forgotten in a record-breaking run is the inauspicious initial response to the plans for the 21st Bond film.

Few were predicting a major revival of the brand when Daniel Craig was named as the new lead - 'James Blonde' as sceptical UK tabloids dubbed him. The decision led to orchestrated protests with a web campaign dedicated to overturning Craig's appointment.

What they feared was a betrayal of the Bond heritage, but it was the wholesale reformatting of the 007 genre that may have made the difference.

The prequel approach meant it was possible to take the reworking of the Bond myth much further than the partial makeover under Pierce Brosnan, which had seen the mature character's sexist and macho characteristics challenged, most notably by a tough, female boss.

The writers Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and importantly Paul Haggis clearly enjoyed the challenge of creating a Bond to be taken seriously - and the first Bond Bafta nominations in the franchise's history suggest they succeeded.