FOR those of us old enough to remember the Lone Ranger from the popular 1950s’ black and white TV show, the news that Johnny Depp is to play his sidekick Tonto in a new film may come as a surprise.

Depp may well be the ultimate chameleon actor — and very entertaining — but he’s about the last person you might choose to follow the original character played by the splendidly named Jay Silverheels.

He was the Native American (although we called them Red Indians then) who accompanied the masked cowboy on his missions to vanquish evil, help the poor, chase wrongdoers . . . you get the picture.

Now, Disney is filming the 2012 version with Armie Hammer as the Lone Ranger, and first pictures of the duo look fascinating. Depp, in fact, has Native American heritage so perhaps not such an odd choice. Judging by his Pirates of the Caribbean films in particular, he’s certainly capable of swashbuckling character acting and I’m sure will bring another dimension to the role. And as long as the Lone Range says “Hi Yo, Silver” just once, we purists should be happy.