Monday, March 22, 2010


Whenever possible, Toobworld Central will accept the background information established for some of the fictional characters shared by the TV Universe and the much more expansive Wold Newton Universe. Some of the main figures this would involve would be Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, and Lord Peter Wimsey. The same can't be said for others that should belong to the Wold Newton family, like Tarzan, Lord Greystoke or Fu Manchu, because they've been updated to more modern times in Earth Prime-Time.

It is of Lord Peter Wimsey whom I'm writing today, in making the claim that his genealogy can link his televised mysteries (at least those five serials starring Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter) to the TV series 'The Avengers'.

First off, the most minimal of thumbnail biographies for Lord Peter:

Lord Peter Death Bredon Wimsey (fictional character) is a bon vivant sleuth in a series of detective novels and short stories by Dorothy L. Sayers, in which he solves mysteries—usually but not always murders. Wimsey is an archetype for the British gentleman detective. [Wikipedia]

In the story "Murder Must Advertise", Lord Peter used his middle names of "Death Bredon" as his alias when he went undercover at an advertising agency.

In the excellent Wold Newton Universe website run by the esteemed Win Scott Eckert, Mark Brown wrote an essay about the Wimsey family tree. In it, he establishes the connection between the families of the Wimseys and the Deaths:

Peter and Gerald's father was Mortimer, the 15th Duke of Denver. His wife, Honoria Lucasta Delagardie, was the aforementioned Dowager Duchess. Mortimer's father was George, the 14th Duke. According to Scott-Giles, his wife was Mary Death, the Deaths being an ancient noble family. Apparently, the Deaths and the Wimsey had intermarried several generations in the past.

This information was culled from a book by C.W. Scott-Giles entitled "The Wimsey Family".

Thanks to that family name, we can theorize a link between the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries and 'The Avengers' TV series.

Aye, there be spoilers ahead, laddie!

In the episode "Castle De'ath", John Steed (top professional) and Mrs. Emma Peel (talented amateur) went undercover at the castle in order to find the link between Clan De'ath and the disappearance of fish along the Scottish coast. (The investigation was sparked by the drowning death of a frogman who was found four inches taller dead than he was alive.)

According to Clan member Angus De'ath, the 5th Laird of the Castle, Ewan De'ath, was executed with William "Braveheart" Wallace. (Angus got some of his facts wrong though - Wallace died in 1305 and Angus placed it a year earlier.) From the current Laird, Iain De'ath, Steed and Mrs. Peel learned that the 13th Laird was a traitor to the family. He betrayed the Clan to the other clans and as punishment, "Black Jamie" De'ath was sealed away in the East Tower until Doomsday.

It turns out that the Castle De'ath was being used by outside agents as an enemy submarine base with the help of Angus De'ath. In his attempt to escape, Angus killed his cousin Laird Iain before being slain himself in a malfunctioning iron maiden.

I have no clue as to who the current Laird of Clan De'ath would be in Earth Prime-Time.

With some alteration to the name of De'ath over the years to be more anglicized as "Death", it can be postulated that Lord Peter Wimsey was related to the Clan. And he may have found time to visit his distant Clan relatives when he and Bunter took a holiday over the border into the highlands (as seen in the serial "The Five Red Herrings).

It's all tele-speculation, of course, but of the best kind - it can't be disproven! I'm only sorry that I couldn't have made the link between the two series stronger by having Lord Peter related to either Steed or Mrs. Peel. (But in a future theory of relateeveety, it will be established that Emma Peel's family tree can link 'The Avengers' to 'Knight Rider' - which some might have expected - but also to 'Columbo'.)

Check out that episode of 'The Avengers' - "Castle De'ath". Not only is it one of the best, but you get to see the characters dressed in traditional Scottish costume - including Mrs. Peel.....

If you're interested in reading more about the background of the Wimsey family, check out Mark Brown's essay at the Wold Newton site......


[This Toobworld post is dedicated to John O'Creagh.]


Win Scott Eckert said...


Toby O'B said...

That means a lot, Win. Thanks!