Real Life M Really Did Use The James Bond "Orphan" Method For Recruiting MI5 Spies

James Bond's backstory was pretty accurate all along then

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In the original Ian Fleming books, James Bond was a damaged young man who, as a child, lost both of his parents to a climbing accident in the French Alps. But while this detail may have originally appeared to be just a way for Flemming to add some tragic colour to Bond's backstory, it turns out that the reality isn't too far off.

As reported by The Telegraph, a new book has revealed that the real life M specialised in hiring MI5 recruits who had lost a parent at a young age because he believed it instilled a sense of loyalty and caused them to view their spymaster as a "father figure".

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One such spymaster was Maxwell Knight, who was known to his colleagues as M and the man thought to be the main inspiration behind Ian Fleming's character of the same name.

Ralph or Judy?

In a new book titled Maxwell Knight: MI5's Greatest Spymaster, the historian Henry Hemming examines the methods pioneered by the OG M and how they still affect MI5 to this day.

"M was looking for watchers: people who pick up unusual details that other people might not." he told The Telegraph.

"And in his experience, usually these are people who have been held back in some way in childhood.

"Somebody who has lost a parent at an early age, or had some physical handicap meaning they hadn't been able to join in with games when they were growing up, so they were literally on the sidelines.

"When it comes to losing a parent at an early age you are in need of a father figure - and a spymaster becomes this father figure in your life and fills the void. It could be a mother as well, it's just losing a parent."

He continued: "Again and again, I found that they had something go dramatically wrong in their childhood - a lot of them had lost a parent or they had some kind of physical handicap."

Along with the whole orphan angle, it also turns out that Bond's caustic wit and glib sense of humour could have been based on Knight's formula for finding new spies.

"The first [quality] was, strangely enough, having a sense of humour", Hemming added about the MI5 interview process. "M would always say that someone who neither made jokes nor got jokes was unlikely to ever think fast on their feet.

"The other was memory, loyalty was also crucial [and] the ability to not only lie but also to know you are being lied to. He wanted someone who was motivated, in other words someone who was patriotic and wanted to serve their country."

But what about the invisible Aston Martin? Is that real too, Henry?