We’ve all come to know and love Ben Whishaw as MI6 supergeek Q in the Bond movies. But we found out last night that the real-life boffin in charge of exploding pens at the intelligence agency is actually a woman.
MI6 boss Alex Younger revealed Q's gender during a speech at the Women in IT Awards in London. ‘I'm pleased to report that the real-life Q is a woman,’ he said, putting out a call out for more women to apply to the security services.
‘The more different people you have in the room in these high-pressure circumstances in which we operate, the better the decisions. So success for me is a deeper, broader range of technological skills in MI6 and more diversity, in particular more women.’
The fact that she is a woman and a whizz with a gadget is probably as much as we’ll ever find out about Ms Q. Staff of MI6 remain anonymous – with the one exception of Younger, who is known in-house as ‘C’ (rather than ‘M’ in the Bond films). In the movies Q has always been played by a male actor, most recently Whishaw, who admitted to us that in real-life he's a bit of a technophobe (learning to touch-type was as close as he came to research).
All of the UK’s spy agencies are actively recruiting more women, especially those from a tech or science background, stressing the need for ‘emotional intelligence’ in their advertising. The aim is to achieve the target of 45 percent female staff by 2021.