Thursday, July 08, 2010

I've got more on my plate than a spinster at a wedding. That wasn't a reference to your daughter by the way, Andrew.

You might remember that a while back, I wrote a blog post about my 10 Favourite Fictional Women. I've been thinking about whether to write a similar list about my favourite fictional men. Initially I thought I wouldn't because, well, there are many more fictional men than women. However, someone pointed out that it just meant I had to be more discerning. So, here you go. In no particular order, my 10 Favourite Fictional Men.

1. Andy Sipowicz

"Ipsa this, you pissy little bitch!"

It'll be no surprise to any regular readers of my blog that Detective Andy Sipowicz of NYPD Blue has made my list. I love him. The line I quoted above are the first words he says to the woman who becomes his wife, ADA Sylvia Costas. However, rudeness and anger are only a few of his characteristics. Andy's deep discomfort with any kind of change makes him a really compelling character to watch, as does his devotion to his job. He can be awful but also incredibly compassionate and kind. In short, he's awesome and I love him.

2. Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart

Again, it's bound to be no surprise that the Brig makes my list. I've only been watching Doctor Who for the past few years and, while I love almost every incarnation of the Doctor (with the notable exception of David Tennant, who can bite me) and I adore many of the companions as well, it's the Brigadier who really gets me. He's a good man, a military man who frequently knocks heads with the Doctor. He makes some mistakes (see: Doctor Who and The Silurians) but he is trying to do good. His no-nonsense approach and exasperation with the Doctor makes him extremely entertaining to watch, but his most endearing characteristic is his unfailing sense of duty.

3. Geoff Tipps
"I won that. At least I won the Mums."

Every time I go put my ticket through one of the barriers in the underground, I think of Geoff Tipps trying to put his fiver in and it makes me laugh. Sometimes I send my friend James text messages with Geoff Tipps quotes, because both James and Geoff are awesome (but in very, very different ways.) Geoff is one of the most sympathetic characters in The League of Gentlemen, although he's really awful in lots of ways. He's bitter and he holds grudges in the worst way, and he's a terrible stand-up comedian. He was probably even worse in the TAs, if his attempt at building a raft is anything to go by. Still, my heart goes out to him every time I watch The League of Gentlemen.

4. Detective Sergeant Robbie Lewis

I'm not surprising anyone this evening, am I? And I'm going to try to avoid repeating myself too much. I like Lewis, both in Inspector Morse and in Lewis for his quiet determination to get the job done. He has good instincts and works hard - in short, he's one of the good guys. I think I've probably raised this before on here as well, but Nic made up a brilliant alternative theme for Lewis (to be sung by Kevin Whately himself) and the lyrics are: Lewis! Solving crimes/ Lewis! Just like old times/ Lewis! Back on the beat/ 'Cos everything's gonna be reet I think that's reason enough for Lewis to be included on this list.

5. Matthew Cuthbert
He somehow, quietly, manages to persuade Marilla to let Anne stay at Green Gables. He knows to go for the doctor at Carmody when the youngest of the Barry children comes down with croup. He gets Anne that beautiful brown gloria dress with puffed sleeves after noticing that she's not dressed like the other girls, and he owns the scene which makes me cry every single time I read Anne of Green Gables. That's why I love Matthew Cuthbert. Richard Farnsworth was a great choice to play him in the Kevin Sullivan miniseries as well.

6. Charles Pooter

The Diary of a Nobody is one of the few books that makes me really laugh out loud. Pooter, with all of his middle class aspirations and his enjoyment of his own jokes, is a deeply lovable character. His love for his wife, concern for his son and his ability to take pleasure in the small things in life (such as wearing a new straw hat on his holidays) mean that the reader is on his side from the start. The small disasters that befall him are hilarious (I often giggle to myself at the thought of him painting the inside of the bath with red enamel paint) but his small triumphs are genuinely heartwarming. If you haven't read it, you must go out and get a copy as soon as you can.

7. Iorek Byrnison
I don't have a picture of Iorek Byrnison because I don't want to put up a picture of a CGI bear. It couldn't do the image of Iorek Byrnison that I have in my head any justice. For those of you who haven't read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials novels, Iorek Byrnison is the king of the panserbjørne, the armoured polar bears. When we first encounter him, his armour has been stolen and he is shaping metal for humans in rusty old armour he's had to make for himself. He is the bravest and most noble of Pullman's characters (well, I suppose Lee Scoresby comes close too) and was one of the characters that was most alive to me in the novels.

8. Ken Dixon
Ken is hardworking and under constant pressure from both the brewery and his mother. I love him for his exasperation with his regulars, the way in which he tolerates Phil and Nige to 'grease the wheels of industry' and for the fierce love he has for his daughter Melanie. I suppose I'm a bit of a softie because in some ways he reminds me of my daddy (at least, in so far as he lets me wrap him around my little finger as well) but mainly I think he's a superb character, brilliantly acted by John Henshaw.

9. Malcolm Tucker
I know my mum reads my blog, so I don't want to directly quote my favourite Malcolm Tucker line but, he's made it to the list by virtue of Tucker's Law. It helps, I suppose, that I have a crush on Peter Capaldi, but I love Malcolm. Especially in the third series of The Thick of It, when things stop going his way. He's truly frightening, but weirdly empathetic as well. I love him, and I'm still childish enough to thoroughly enjoy all of the swearing. He hasn't made the list, but I'd also like to give a little bit of room to Glenn Cullen for having my second favourite bit of The Thick of It swearing - This is a bucket of shit. If someone throws shit at us, we throw shit back at them. We start a shit fight. We throw so much shit back at them so they can't pick up shit, they can't throw shit, they can't DO shit. Hugh Abbott's right. That is some top swearing.

10. Anthony Aloysius St.John Hancock
"I'm not poshed up! This is my ordinary, everyday, run-of-the mill breakfast clobber, as worn by gentlemen all over the world." He's another grumpy man, frustrated by his inadequacy and those of the people around him. I can't write anything about Hancock that hasn't already been said, so I won't try - but we've got Hancock's Half Hour to thank for so many wonderful sitcoms, I couldn't miss him off the list.

And that's your lot! Others that were shortlisted included: Terry Collier, Father Ted Crilly, Chief Superintendent Strange and Chief Inspector Morse and Soupy Norman.