As geeks we all know there are some amazing concepts out there. Fiction is littered with classic examples of ideas that are simply iconic, be it the design of a spaceship or the way character is written that makes him (or her) stand out from the rest.
But what I want to talk about today is those ideas that could only have evolved in the mind of one of my fellow countrymen, things you look at and know without hesitation than someone came up with them in a pub while on their 4th pint. Now these “things” (for want of a better all encompassing word) are not necessarily the best, but they defiantly are British and that’s why I love them.
1. The Tardis:
The design of the Tardis shows perfectly how the British mind works differently to the rest of mankind. When the creators of Star Trek encountered encountered budget problems with landing the Enterprise each week the created the Transporter. When the creators of Dr Who had a similar problem they decided to make their spaceship a blue box that would simply appear where ever they need it to. But the true genius of the Tardis lies in the concept of it being bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. That means all your interior shots can be done in the same studio and all you have to take to location is a couple of bits of wood that take five minutes to assemble.
British Ingenuity at its finest.
2. Arthur Dent.
The Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy could be a whole entry in itself but I want to focus on it’s hero. In a genre full of square jawed action hero’s only Douglas Adams could give us a middle class man in his dressing gown as a main character. There are many things I love about Arthur Dent, the fact that he never really gets anything going on around him, the fact that he spends most of his time in his dressing gown or the fact he almost dooms the crew because he wants a cup of tea. He is truly the product of my country and I salute him for it.
3. Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson:
Again the Discworld books are full of examples of Britishness but Carrot is by far one of the best. A Human raised by Dwarfs who is actually the rightful king of Ank-Morpork – and that’s just for starters. In any other fantasy novel Carrot would have a heroic sounding name and eventually become king. In Pratchett’s hands he is a nice, well meaning ginger guy who you are more afraid of disappointing than fighting.
God bless you Sir Terry.
4. Chortlon and the Wheelies
This program would not get made anywhere else. A Welsh speaking witch with a drunken Irish Telescope and a German Spell book embossed with the Star of David (due to an animation mistake). Chortlon and the Wheelies was ether conceived by a drunk or a man who smokes more weed than Kevin Smith. There are no words to describe how surreal this program is, just watch it.
5. Red Dwarf:
A show about the last human being alive stuck on a mining ship 3 million years from earth. His only companions, a hologram of his former boss, an insane computer, a cleaning obsessed robot and a creature who evolved from the ships cat. A comedy Science Fiction show? Only the British could come up with one that not only works but is as iconic as Star Trek, Patrick Stewart said that, and he should know, he was Picard.
That brings us to the end of this blog. Honorable mentions go to Dangermouse, Rentaghost and Metal Mickey who didn’t quite make the cut. Not through any lack of Britishness just that I wanted to avoid to many TV shows.
Till next time, always remember the best ideas are drunk ideas*.
*That does not mean you can blame me for anything dumb you do while drunk.
Behind every great book adaptation is a forgettable first try. — By Ryan Covey