Roger Moore has denied making allegedly racist comments about the suitability of Idris Elba to play James Bond.

Moore, 87, who played the British superspy 007 seven times in his career, said over the weekend that an interview he gave to French magazine Paris Match was “lost in translation”.

In an interview that ran under the translated title “Idris Elba: the next Bond”, Moore was quoted as saying: “Several years ago I said Cuba Gooding Jr would make an excellent Bond, but that was a joke.

“Even though James has been played by a Scotsman, a Welshman and an Irishman, I think he has to remain English-English. It’s an interesting idea, but unrealistic.”

Moore took to Twitter over the weekend and insisted his comments were taken out of context.

One tweet read: “An interview I gave to Paris Match implies I said something racist about Idris Elba. That is simply untrue. #Lost in translation.”

Elba has remained silent on the matter.