ANYONE passing the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday night would have been forgiven for thinking that awards season had come early.

The London venue played host to the Royal world premiere of the latest Bond movie, the 23rd in the franchise, and it will surely go down as one of the glitziest openings in living memory.

The red carpet was awash with stars of the small and silver screen and dresses that would not look out of place at the Oscars.

And, while it wasn’t quite on Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Charles and Camilla were there to take in all the action.

Not even the presence of a few X Factor wannabes and Katie Price (over-the-knee socks have no place at a Royal film premiere!) could spoil the occasion.

No wonder Daniel Craig was stirred if not shaken by the whole thing, saying it was the “biggest and best Bond” premiere.

Ah, the lovely Daniel Craig. He may have got a bit hot under the collar, or the lights (his new wife Rachel Weisz was spotted wiping his brow by eagle-eyed paps) but he looked every bit the sexy gentleman spy in his Tom Ford tux (I reckon he will look even better out of it in Skyfall’s much anticipated sexy shower scene).

Bond girls Naomie Harris, here with Craig and Berenice Marlohe pulled no punches on the frock front.

Then again, if I knew I was going to be standing alongside Daniel Craig I would want a traffic stopping dress too.

And Berenice – who plays femme fatale Severeine – and Naomie – who plays the “bad ass” agent Eva – could have brought the M25 to a standstill.

Berenice’s Vivienne Westwood gown accentuated her decolletage without making it the star attraction (Christina Hendricks take note), while Naomi Harris – who I had never taken as being particularly fashion forward – went for a straight-off -the-catwalk sheer Marios Schwab number which revealed a sparkly corset and shapely legs.

The dress was a risk, but if you can’t take a fashion gamble when you are playing a Bond girl then when can you?

Bond lady (girl doesn’t sound right for a national treasure) Dame Judi Dench, rightly was a risk-free zone.

She stuck to her tried and tested fashion formula of sheath dress and coat but blinged it up with a 007 tattoo picked out in diamante on her neck. How street!

In the franchise’s 50th year it was also great to see past Bond girls walking the red carpet in the shape of Maryam D’Abo (The Living Daylights), Shirley Eaton, whose character famously suffocated after being painted gold in Goldfinger’s iconic scene and Eunice Grayson who is a Bond girl rarity having starred in both From Russia With Love and Dr No.

Bond wives Rachel Weisz (Craig’s) and Penelope Cruz (baddie Javier Bardem’s), resplendent in Chanel Couture and L’Wren Scott, may not have walked the red carpet (a wise move, they would have outshone the film’s stars) but they only served to up the glamour ante.

If the movie turns out to be half as good as the premiere, we’ll be in double O heaven. . .