Was Maxwell Knight Ian Fleming’s “M”?


To many, “M” might seem like a random letter plucked from thin air by Ian Fleming during a spell of writer’s block; a fictional character. It was, of course, anything but, as the two men (Ian Fleming and Maxwell Knight) were in the security service at the same time, and “M’s” talents as a spy handler were revered by Fleming and his MI5 colleagues. Not only did Fleming base the character of “M” on Maxwell Knight he also gave him the initial, the essential insignia, which must have come as quite a shock to Maxwell Knight. If there’s any doubt about this, watch On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, 1969. James Bond (George Lazenby) interrupts “M” (Bernard Lee) whilst he’s looking at his butterfly collection with a hand lens – in his bug room:

“Unusually small for a Nymphalis Polychloris,” says Bond looking over M’s shoulder.

“I wasn’t aware that your expertise included lepidoptery,” replies “M”.

Write what you know; Fleming knew that “M” would be a compelling character to counterbalance the ego of Bond.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.