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07 Mar 04,, 17:06
James Bond 'too tall' to be a spy

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- James Bond, Britain's most famous fictional secret agent, would be feeling rather shaken and stirred to learn he would be too tall to be a real modern day spy in the country's domestic spy agency.

New guidelines for MI5 -- the UK's domestic intelligence service -- stipulate that Britons applying to be field agents should be no taller than 5ft 11ins (1.8 m) so they don't stand out, Britain's Sunday Telegraph reported.

That would rule out all the actors to have starred as the suave, unflappable Bond who worked for MI5's sister foreign spy agency MI6 in the 007 movies. Bond stars Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan are all 6ft (1.83m) or taller, the paper said.

"You should be able to blend into the background. Applicants would ideally be no taller than 5ft 11ins for men and 5ft 8ins (1.73 m) for women," the application form reads.

Britain is recruiting 1,000 new spies over the next few years to MI5 to bring the service's numbers up to 3,000.

But there was some good news for Bond -- the paper said his employers, MI6, had not yet imposed a height restriction.