Friday, March 23, 2012



Ellis Peters


Sir Derek Jacobi

Earth Prime-Time

(Literature, Television)

From Wikipedia:
Brother Cadfael is the fictional main character in a series of historical murder mysteries written between 1977 and 1994 by the linguist-scholar Edith Pargeter under the name "Ellis Peters". The character of Cadfael himself is a Welsh Benedictine monk living at Shrewsbury Abbey, in western England, in the first half of the 12th century. The historically accurate stories are set between about 1135 and about 1145, during "The Anarchy", the destructive contest for the crown of England between King Stephen and Empress Maud.

As a character, Cadfael "combines the curious mind of a scientist/pharmacist with a knight-errant", entering the cloister in his forties after being both a soldier and a sailor, this experience gives him an array of talents and skills useful in monastic life. He is a skillful observer of human nature, inquisitive by nature, energetic, a talented herbalist (work he learned in the Holy Lands), and has an innate, although modern, sense of justice and fair-play. Abbots call upon him as a medical examiner, detective, doctor, and diplomat. His worldly knowledge, although useful, gets him in trouble with the more doctrinaire characters of the series, and the seeming contradiction between the secular and the spiritual worlds forms a central and continuing theme of the stories.

From the source:
"I have seen death in many shapes, I've been a soldier and a sailor in my time; in the east, in the Crusade, and for ten years after Jerusalem fell. I've seen men killed in battle. Come to that, I've killed men in battle. I never took joy in it, that I can remember, but I never drew back from it either. [...] I was with Robert of Normandy's company and a mongrel lot we were, Britons, Normans, Flemings, Scots, Bretons - name them, they were there! After the city was settled and Baldwin crowned, most of us went home over three or four years, but I had taken to the sea by then, and I stayed. There were pirates ranged those coasts, we always had work to do. [...] I served as a free man-at-arms for a while, and then I was ripe, and it was time. But I had had my way in the world. [Now] I grow herbs and dry them and make remedies for all the ills that visit us. [...] To heal men, after years of injuring them? What could be more fitting? A man does what he must do."

Using the search engine at the Wold Newton site, I found no mention of Brother Cadfael. The fact that he lived centuries before the impact of the meteorite at Wold Newton is hardly a deterrent, considering that several members of the Wold Newton family can be found thousands of years before. Neither is his vow of celibacy a roadblock to tracing his family tree, considering that he sired a son while still a soldier in the Holy Lands.

But until such time - if any! - when some Wold Newtonist does the research into a connection for Brother Cadfael, I'm content with making a few suggestions as to his associations with characters to be found in the Tele-Folks Directory of Toobworld.

I've made the suggestion before, but Cadfael may have teamed up with a Gallifreyan Time Lord without ever knowing it - and I'm not referring to the Doctor! It could be he had dealings with the Meddling Monk, who could have returned to that basic time period in Earth's history, or he was still stuck there from a century before, thanks to the First Incarnation of the Doctor.

And then there is the family of Sir Thomas Grey of 'Covington Cross' castle. The exact dates for the episodes seen in this short-lived ABC series were never really nailed down.

But all in all, Brother Cadfael on his own is a notable addition to this run of Great Detectives as seen in Earth Prime-Time.


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