M (Judi Dench)
M played by (Dame) Judi Dench
Born in York, England on 9th December 1934
Starred In Goldeneye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999), Die Another Day (2002), Casino Royale (2006), Quantum of Solace (2008) and Skyfall (2012)
Initially unsure about the new M, Bond soon finds out that his boss is now as formal as ever. In Goldeneye M asserts her authority over Bond, especially when he tells her that she is a bean counter, who is only interested in her numbers. M then gets straight to the point by telling him that he is a "relic of the cold war", and while his "boyish charms" appealed to the woman sent to evaluate him, Caroline, it won't cut it with her.
In Tomorrow Never Dies, M is present at a technological communications centre, where Bond is feeding back live information from his mission to a video screen. M later argues with Admiral Roebuck in relation to his hawkish impatient methods, and convinces him to give her 48 hours to investigate before sending the British fleet to China. M later appears in a police-escorted car along with Miss Moneypenny who discusses the mission with Bond.
The World Is Not Enough finally sees M involved in an extended role. Initially giving Bond a briefing at MI6, and then at headquarters in Scotland, M becomes a pivotal character in the plot. After she travels to Turkey to assist in the protection of Elektra King, M is kidnapped and held hostage. However she manages to use a battery out of a clock to power the tracking device in a nuclear warhead locator card, thus allowing Bond to track her, and reveal the location of Elektra's base.
After being released from a North Korean prison when he is suspected of leaking government secrets in Die Another Day, M coldly tells Bond that he is no use to anyone now and proceeds to revoke his 00 status. The pair later meet at a disused underground station where they discuss Zao, and M puts Bond on the active duty list once more. M appears in a number of other scenes, including briefing Miranda Frost, and at the end where she is present with Damian Falco and Charles Robinson.
In Casino Royale, M promotes Bond to 00-status, a decision she soon regrets, angrily criticising Bond's activity to Villiers when they exit a parliament meeting regarding the death of Mollaka being caught on camera. Shortly afterward M gets a chance to release her tension when she discovers Bond waiting for her at her penthouse apartment. When asked how he knew where she lived, Bond replies that he also knows her name, something which M interrupts him promising to have him killed if he finishes the sentence. She informs Bond of her concerns that he was promoted too soon, and tries to educate him so his ego is left out of the equation.
M later meets Bond in the Bahamas after he manages to foil Le Chiffre's plan to destroy the Skyfleet S570 prototype. At the end of the film, M informs Bond of the situation surrounding Vesper Lynd, mentioning she hopes he has learnt his lesson that no-one can be trusted.
For the first time in the Bond series, a female actress plays the character of M. In Goldeneye she appears to be only interested in making decisions based on numbers and formulas, referred to as the "evil queen of numbers" by Bill Tanner. This has somewhat mellowed by Tomorrow Never Dies, and the relationship between her and Bond continues to develop as the films progress.
The World Is Not Enough sees the first time that the character of M admits that Bond is her best agent, although tells Elektra King that she would never admit to him personally. Similarly, she is clearly disappointed when she thinks he has cracked under torture in Die Another Day, and is relived at the end of the film when she feels she can trust her top agent once more.
In Casino Royale, Judi Dench returns as the character of M, and is actually the only member of the cast to do so from the previous films. As this is a 'reboot' of the series, the character of M has no previous history with Bond, and he is just another agent, although one she does see with promise. As the film progresses, her initial angry attitude has certainly mellowed, allowing the professional relationship between herself and Bond to establish once again. §