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In the Bond films, Bernard Lee's character, M, is Admiral Sir Miles Messervy (only ever named, besides as 'M', as 'Admiral' and 'Miles' on screen in his appearances), Bond's irascible boss who sends him out on assignments.

He also portrays M along with Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny in the 1975 French comedy " Bons baisers de Hong Kong".

After Lee's death in 1981, the producers hired actor Robert Brown to continue the role in the Bond films.Brown picks up the role in Octopussy, however it is never explicitly stated on screen whether Robert Brown's character is intended to be the same person played by Lee, if he was intended to be Admiral Hargreaves, the role played by Brown in 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me, or if he is supposed to be another character altogether.In 1995, actress Judi Dench became known to an international audience after taking over the role of M (James Bond's boss) with the James Bond film series, starting with Golden Eye.She is the only actor from Pierce Brosnan's Bond films to remain in the rebooted franchise.She appeared with Daniel Craig cast as Bond in 2006's Casino Royale, 2008's Quantum of Solace and Skyfall, released October 2012.

Starting with the second film in the James Bond series, From Russia with Love (1963), Desmond Llewelyn appeared as Q (the quartermaster of the MI6 gadget lab known as Q-branch) in every Bond film, except Live and Let Die (1973), until The World Is Not Enough (1999).He had originally been chosen for the role as he had previously worked with the director Terence Young on the 1950 war film They Were Not Divided.In the 2002 film Die Another Day, John Cleese, who played the character R, the assistant to Q in The World Is Not Enough, was promoted to the head of Q-branch, thus taking on the title of Q.In all, Llewelyn appeared in 17 Bond films, more than any other actor, and worked with the first five James Bond actors.He also portrayed Q in a 1967 made-for-television special (produced by Eon Productions) entitled, Welcome to Japan, Mr.Bond which was included in the 2006 special edition DVD release of You Only Live Twice.