Monday, February 3, 2014



From Wikipedia:
It was in 1829 that Robert Peel established the Metropolitan Police Force for London based at Scotland Yard. The 1,000 constables employed were affectionately nicknamed 'Bobbies' or, somewhat less affectionately, 'Peelers'. Although unpopular at first' they proved very successful in cutting crime in London; and by 1857 all cities in the UK were obliged to form their own police forces.  Known as the father of modern policing, Peel developed the Peelian Principles which defined the ethical requirements police officers must follow to be effective.

Since at least 1961, a former burglar named Joseph James Webb (now known as Charles Rider) had kept a stolen bottle of wine in his safe.  It was supposedly the last surviving bottle of Chateau Ausone 1814 which William the Fourth had given to Sir Robert Peel in celebration of the foundation of the modern police department.  The bottle of wine had gone through a complicated history of different owners (much like the Maltese Falcon or the Karachi Diamond) until it finally came - somewhat suspiciously -  into the hands of a police inspector known in legend as "Stryker of the Yard".  

And then Charles Rider stole it.

As it turned out, the bottle was a fake - it had a modern printed label whereas wine bottles of the time had been individually made.  Apparently, Stryker broke the actual bottle and needed to cover up his costly error.  However, he substituted a bottle of Chateau Montrose 1934 which he didn't know was one of the greatest wines of the 20th Century.  Too late Stryker, Rider, and Henry Crabbe realized this - after Henry already opened the bottle thinking it was just an ordinary bottle of wine.

Robert Peel has been portrayed several times in the TV Universe, mostly in docudramas about the young future queen of England, Victoria......

    Victoria & Albert (2001) Played by Alec McCowen

    "Queen Victoria's Empire"
        - Engines of Change (2001) Played by Martin Wady

    "Number 10"
        - The Iron Duke (1983) Played by Peter Gale

    "Blue Peter Special Assignment"
        - The Duke of Wellington at Stratfield Saye (1979) Played by Paul Beech

    "Disraeli: Portrait of a Romantic"
        - Mary Anne (1978) Played by Antony Brown
        - Dizzy (1978) Played by Antony Brown

    "Edward the King"
        - The Boy (1975) Played by Michael Barrington

    Invincible Mr. Disraeli (1963) Played by Eric Berry 
Of those, two of them could be considered part of Earth Prime-Time - 'Disraeli', and 'Edward The King' since they were mini-series.  (Not having seen it, I would assume the 'Blue Peter' portrayal would be in Skitlandia.  'Queen Victoria's Empire' was more of an historical recreation.  "Victoria & Albert" and the Hallmark presentation of "Invincible Mr. Disraeli" were one shot TV movies and can easily be sent off to some alternate TV dimension.  There was also a "Bobby Peel" in two episodes of 'Lillie'; however I think he was a young and prominent member of society played by Christopher Bramwell.)

I covered Robert Peel when I had the daily feature about historical personages being portrayed on TV.

Having seen the 'Edward The King' mini-series, I lean towards Michael Barrington's portrayal as being the official one for Toobworld.  This is a claim amplified by the fact that it was the first portrayal of Peel seen on TV, and that always adds heft to any argument in support of one particular actor in an historical role.

But it could also be fudged that with the appearance of Antony Brown as Peel, we were seeing Peel filtered through someone else's memories - that of Benjamin Disraeli.


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