James Bond will return to free-to-air television in the UK this year after ITV snatched the rights to the Ian Fleming franchise back from Sky.

ITV lost the rights to the pay-TV giant last year as part of a landmark deal with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, but it has taken little more than 18 months for the commercial broadcaster to win them back.

All 23 films in the spy franchise can be broadcast across ITV’s family of channels in a “multi-year” deal, including the free-to-air premiere of Sam Mendes’ Skyfall in 2014.

Quantum of Solace will be the first film to air under the new agreement in December.

Sky, which had a fixed-term licence to the Bond rights, will continue to be the first pay-TV window for new films in the franchise.

Angela Jain, ITV director of digital channels and acquisitions, said: “Skyfall is the highest grossing film of all time at the UK box office and proves not only the enduring popularity of the Bond franchise but also its iconic status.

“I am delighted we have the entire Bond library of films on Britain’s biggest commercial channel, a fantastic treat for all viewers.”