Judi Dench Locked In For Bond 23

But M won't let any plot secrets slip...

Now that the 23rd James Bond film is finally back on an official track – with a release date, Sam Mendes directing and Daniel Craig firmly aboard – the pieces are starting to fall into place, with Judi Dench making the less-than-shocking announcement that she’ll be returning as M.

As reported by the BBC, Dench was chatting with the press after the South Bank Sky Arts Awards, when she was naturally asked whether she’d be slipping into M’s suit and raising a caustic eyebrow towards Craig’s actions once again, to which she replied she would.

But when interrogated for any other details she might know? “Nothing... my lips are sealed. I can't tell you anything at all!” Just what you’d expect from the Head of the Secret Service.

That said, she seems excited to be getting back to work: "Of course, I'm looking forward hugely to working with Daniel again and with Sam who I've only ever worked with in the theatre. So that'll be all good fun to do! I'm so glad it's coming back, it's wonderful.”

No real surprise, then, that Dame Judi would be back as M, but there was always the chance that Mendes and co could have gone another way.

With a script from regular writers Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, plus The Aviator’s John Logan, Bond 23 (whatever title they give it) will arrive in cinemas on November 9, 2012. The biggest question we want answered now is whether Q Branch – even in a more realistic, less sci-fi gadgety fashion – will ever be featured again…