No Ashton Martins For Real MI5 Agents


In the movies, we often see James Bond wearing the finest suits, getting the most beautiful girls, and driving the best cars. He is the envy of every man on earth. That’s one reason why people wanted to be spies so they could go to missions on beautiful places and look good while doing it. But according to ex-MI5 head Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, agents were most likely to drive a Ford Escort rather than an Aston Martin.

Dame Eliza was director general of MI5 from 2002 until 2007. Dame Judi Dench has said in a radio interview, conducted by Dame Eliza herself, that listeners would be surprised to know that she based her most famous character “M” on Dame Eliza and Dame Stella Remington, another former director general of MI5.

Dame Eliza mentioned in the interview that most of her agents were given bicycles to go around “if they were lucky” as she talked about the differences of real life intelligence work with what the James Bond films has portrayed on screen.

The treatment of M was also very different according to Dame Eliza. The former MI5 director general said that her staff would have been sacked if the same things (that happened to M) happened to her. ”If my staff took me to a Scottish bog, tethered me down and allowed a small army to attack me, I think they’d have been sacked.” said the former MI5 director general.

White Aston MartinTo point out other differences she continued by saying ”The pretence is much more dramatic though. There’s a great deal of sex, a short life expectancy, technology that can do anything, wonderful explosions and vehicles. And, of course, certainly in my life there were no Aston Martins and Ferraris. Bicycles if you were lucky, and Ford Escorts. That sort of level.”

She also recounted how she almost failed an early mission when a bartender mistook her for a prostitute. She also said that it was good fortune that gave her distinctive marks on that said mission. ”The task was to pick someone up in a pub and learn enough about them that you had their date of birth and what they did and what their full name was,” she said. ”I was sent off to a particular pub and it was quite clear that the barman thought I was a hooker and he tried to throw me out.” After feeling miserable, she was picked up by an American who sold lasers to the Russians and told her his life story. ”I got sort of an essay on him and I got a distinction in that particular part of the test and I had done nothing except sit there,” Dame Eliza said.

Dame Eliza chose to interview Ms. Dench because she thought it was fun to compare reality and fiction. In the latest James Bond movie Dame Judi Dench’s M was killed off in the series and gave way to another M played by Ralph Fiennes.



We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply