Admin and I realized the other day that Patrick Malahide has played a number of historical characters in his career, with quite a bit of attention paid as to portraying them as accurately as possible. We thought it would be an interesting idea to contrast those portrayals with the real thing – or at least, as much of the real thing as we can find out, since we don’t have a TARDIS yet (nertz!). So, here are a few of our favourite historical figures (played by Patrick Malahide).
RF: My favourite historical figures are…
Sir Francis Walsingham
(“Elizabeth I“, 2005)
Who Was He?
He was Elizabeth I’s (Helen Mirren) spymaster and was largely responsible for her longevity on the English throne, along with William and Robert Cecil. He had a network of spies stretching across Europe and made it his business to know what Elizabeth’s enemies were planning, possibly before they knew they were planning it themselves.
What Is His Motivation?
He was devoted to the cause of keeping Elizabeth in power, possibly because he would’ve regarded a Catholic monarch as being much worse. He also wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty from time to time, resorting to underhanded or deceptive methods to get things done. Elizabeth apparently didn’t like him all that much, but she found him extremely useful. So, his motivation is almost entirely devotion to his Queen, with a smattering of sticking it to the Earls of Leicester (Jeremy Irons) and Essex (Hugh Dancy) along the way. Fortunately, William and Robert Cecil agree with him about how unbearable Leicester and Essex are.
Who Wore it Better?
We-elll, there’s a slight possibility I’m biased, but I’d have to say Mr. Malahide is an improvement on the original. He decided to opt out of the starched ruff while keeping the goatee and the austere, imposing all-black outfit. We only saw him in one costume, unfortunately. Or perhaps Walsy just had a bunch of interchangeable costumes that were all the same, to save time when picking out his wardrobe in the morning. Also, perfect for sneaking around at night. I’d have to say Mr. Malahide wins this one. 😉
Would You Invite Him to Stay the Weekend?
I would! Mind you, by the time Saturday was done, he’d have already snooped through all of my private papers and hard drive, gotten all of my passwords, checked out my finances, figured out who all of my friends and family are and where they live, and ascertained how many library books I have signed out. Then he’d probably spend Sunday skulking around looking for spies and sending secret messages. But it would still be fun!
What Would He Be Doing Now?
For someone with as much talent for espionage and skullduggery as Sir Francis, his talents would never go to waste. He would probably be near the top, if not at the top, of MI5, putting his abilities to good use. The technologies would have changed, but I’m sure Sir Francis would get caught up. He’d probably appreciate all the innovations since his time, and he’d be working for another Queen Elizabeth again.