Cute Relics (Played by Patrick Malahide)

So once again, Fearless Admin and I have discovered another common theme running through a number of Mr. Malahide’s characters.  Besides Disappointed Dads, Clergymen, Cads (Classic and Modern), Forties, and Obsessed Gentlemen, we have also found that a number of them could be considered Cute Relics.  These are the guys who are a little bit behind the times (usually very much on purpose), but retain their own peculiar form of antiquated charm – frequently despite themselves.  They would be horrified to know we were noticing them, let alone gushing over them.  So let’s do some gushing.  😉

Balon Greyjoy  |  Ebenezer Balfour  |  Edward Casaubon  |  Lord Willingdon  |  Mr. Quarles  |  D.S. Chisholm  |  Who’s the Cutest Relic?

Balon Greyjoy
(Game of Thrones, 2012 – 2013)

Type of Relic:

Usually found on the seashore, in a bad mood  Cute Relics (Played by Patrick Malahide)

Usually found on the seashore, in a bad mood

RF:  The kind you find on the seashore, somewhat worn by waves and being rubbed with sand.  Probably festooned with seaweed, covered in barnacles, and in a bad mood.  Would look a lot better if tidied up a bit.

Admin:  He does seem rather a part of the sea and islands.  He’s salty and crusty and made of iron.

What Are His Relic-ish Tendencies?

RF:  Balon is an interesting mix of the old and new.  On the one hand, he’s ready to break tradition by handing over the reign of the Iron Islands to his daughter, Yara, rather than to his only remaining son, Theon (whom he well knows is a total screw-up who’d end up giving the Islands away to the Boltons in no time flat).  On the other hand, Balon still wants to wage rebellion the old-fashioned way, not really recognizing that Westeros has changed since he was an ambitious young pirate.

Admin:  Yep, he’s very much obsessed with the history of his people and living up to (and exceeding) their reaving, warring, pillaging ways.   And he loves reminding everyone (or at least Theon) of the Ironborn Rules of Conduct.  We do not pay gold for our baubles and we do not sow.  You can’t even give him something for free since he’d take it as insult, kill you, and then take it anyway.

Why Is He a Relic?

In his Sulking Chair, thinking Relic thoughts

In his Sulking Chair, thinking Relic thoughts

RF:  Because he likes it that way, darn it!  Who are all these young whippersnappers running around all over Westeros?  Don’t they even know how to wage a proper rebellion any more?  Get off his beach!!

Admin: Well, he’s certainly had time to fester and become even more relic-like.  He waited quite a few years for Theon to be released from the Starks and stewed in his own obsessions for all that time.

RF:  True.  Once Robert Baratheon was dead, there was really nothing stopping Balon from going to get Theon on his own.  Maybe he decided it wasn’t worth it as long as he had Yara around.

What Makes Him So Gosh-darned Cute?

He makes stubble and long hair fashionable in Westeros

He makes stubble and long hair fashionable in Westeros

RF:  Even though it’s really dark in Pyke (no unnecessary use of candles!) and he hasn’t shaved for a long while nor cut his hair, you can tell that Balon’s a very handsome pirate lord.  He really needs to be back out on the deck of a ship, doing some reaving.

Admin:  His stubble is great, really, enhancing his salty sandiness.  And I like his hair since it kind of keeps in the whole kraken thing with his tendrils being like tentacles.  He’s a scruffy thing, but he’s very thematic in his scruffiness. And he is absolutely still a very handsome pirate.  I agree, he just needs to get out on his ship more.

What Brings Out His Hidden Radical?

Fomenting another rebellion with his offspring

Fomenting another rebellion with his offspring

RF:  Well, since Balon was forced to give up his last-remaining son as the price for his rebellion, I think we can say that he’s opposed to authority in most forms – except his own, of course.  But he wasn’t rebelling for any lofty purpose, simply for his own profit.  I do have to wonder what he would’ve done with all that territory if he’d succeeded.  He’s also pretty radical in that he’d like to put his daughter on the Driftwood Throne; it’s a step farther than any other Iron Islander would even consider.

Admin:  Wanting Yara to be his successor goes against everything a true Iron Born king should believe in.  Granted a lot of it stems from her becoming a sort of “son” to him rather than a daughter, but he’s actually being very pragmatic in that he recognizes her as the best choice.

What’s His Favourite Pastime/Hobby?

RF:  Besides fomenting rebellion?  We rarely see Balon out of his Sulking Chair in the series, but Admin and I have long suspected that he secretly fosters orphaned baby squid and octopuses in a hidden tide pool.  However, it wouldn’t surprise me if he also has a few notebooks of poetry secreted away somewhere, too.

Admin:  Awwww, he has to have some pet octopuses.  They are such clever, resourceful critters.  He probably also carves accurate, true scale models of his favorite historical long ships out driftwood.  Such fun!

Could He Ever Be Updated/Reformed, and Would You Date Him If He Couldn’t?

What does that mean, "go for coffee"...?

What does that mean, “go for coffee”…?

RF:  The fact Balon wants to put Yara on the throne suggests that being updated is not as unlikely as it sounds.  As for dating him, I’m not sure Balon would understand what a “date” was.  Mind you, Alannys Harlaw, Lady Greyjoy, still loved him even after their eldest sons died and his rebellion failed, so she must have been onto something.  Sure, why not.  I wouldn’t be too picky.  But I’d make sure to bring my own candles so I wouldn’t trip over anything while wandering around Pyke.

Admin:  He’s stubborn, but he can probably be reasoned with at times providing your name isn’t Theon.  I mean he was pragmatic enough to bend the knee to Robert Baratheon  once.  Oh, he’s perfectly date-able.  He’s good looking, established, and has a great voice.  The only person who wouldn’t go out with him is Cersei, but she’s a total idiot.  Slightly off-topic comment:  I wish the series had had the book scene where Tywin suggests she marry Balon.  She was like, “I don’t want to marry the old Kraken.”  I knew right then she was an idiot!  🙂

RF:  Ironically, Cersei would’ve been far better off and safer on Pyke than she ended up being in King’s Landing.


Ebenezer Balfour
(“Kidnapped“, 1995)

Type of Relic:

Fighting off the Nineteenth Century

Fighting off the Nineteenth Century

RF:  A really cheap one.  Or perhaps more accurately, one that was once good quality but has since deteriorated and become really run-down.  Also hasn’t been dusted or renovated for several years, and isn’t quite working the way it used to, or should.  It’s gone a bit squirrelly.

Admin:  He’s certainly one that doesn’t exhibit good, sturdy workmanship.

What Are His Relic-ish Tendencies?

RF:  Well, there’s the murderousness if someone tries to intrude on his property…  The clothes he hasn’t mended or changed – or probably cleaned – since he first bought them decades ago…  The fact he’s been holed up in Shaws for nearly as long, subsisting on a diet of porridge, with the dust piled up into snowdrifts in the corners… But other than that, he’s perfectly normal.

Admin:  He’s just thrifty.  I’d say he was proponent of the make-do and mend ethos, but he doesn’t seem to bother with the mend part.

Why is He a Relic?

Pondering an unhappy love affair?

Pondering an unhappy love affair?

RF:  Due to an unhappy love affair, of course!  Mind you, it was a happy one until he decided to trade his betrothed for his brother’s deed to Shaws and its rents.  Since then, Ebenezer seems to have become a bit obsessed by what he gave up his beloved for, or perhaps the fact he gave her up in the first place.

Admin:  Ebenezer’s miserly ways are very much a sort of self-inflicted punishment (even if he doesn’t know it) for giving up the woman he loved the way he did.  I was a bit dismayed to discover that element wasn’t quite true to the book because I thought it was so poignant and clever.  Turns out Robert Louis Stevenson actually can be improved upon!!

RF:  I’m very glad they added that bit, because it really humanized Ebenezer and made his miserliness just a bit easier to understand – even if one still didn’t exactly sympathize.

What Makes Him So Gosh-darned Cute?

Dressed in his best for going to town.

Dressed in his best for going to town.

RF:  Admin and I differ on this one, since I think extensive fumigation would be required to make Ebenezer “cute” in any way, shape, or form.  But I will admit there’s something endearingly ridiculous about seeing Ebenezer in his “going to town” clothes and (alarmingly ratty) wig, which are obviously the best he has, but they’re still out of date by a decade or two.  His stubble might be fetching if the rest of him was parboiled for an hour or two.  And if that wig was taken out and burnt – or shot.

Admin:  He’s adorable.  I love the way his eyes flit about while he smiles to himself.  Oh, what is going on his tangled mind?  Thoughts of selling nephews to pirates, sadly.  However, he tempers that with little moments of vulnerability as he remembers his childhood book and Davey’s mother.  He’s funny, madcap, and also oddly sympathetic…and his stubble is fetching!

RF:  Fumigation.

What Brings Out His Hidden Radical?

RF:  Ebenezer already is a hidden radical, since he never leaves his house and greets visitors to his door with a blunderbuss.   Other than that, his most radical idea seems to be the anarchical concept all the gold should be his, his, his!  And pesky, inconvenient nephews should be sold to pirates.

Admin:  His carbon footprint is really, really small.  Yay!  Ebenezer is helping save the planet!

RF:  He has also managed to encourage breeding programs for several rare species of dust mites and spiders!

What’s His Favourite Pastime/Hobby?

Ebenezer's version of DIY home renovation

Ebenezer’s version of DIY home renovation

RF:  Counting his gold.  Aside from that, possibly herding dust bunnies and thinking up new porridge recipes.  Naaaahh, just kidding about the porridge recipes; he only needs the one.  I would say “murdering nephews”, but he only has one so it can’t fairly be considered a hobby.

Admin:  He’s really into DIY home renovation.  No pricey contractors for Uncle Ebenezer.

RF:  He also saves money by leaving out the “mend” part afterwards.

Could He Ever Be Updated/Reformed and Would You Date Him If He Couldn’t?

Ebenezer with his two great loves: his musket and his chest of gold

Ebenezer with his two great loves:
his musket and his chest of gold

RF:  I doubt it and no.  I don’t have enough room in my car for that many dust bunnies and a blunderbuss.  Also, I’m not that fond of porridge.  And that would be after a significant process of reclamation, rehabilitation, and retraining, but I really don’t think Ebenezer is interested in any form of change (except gold and silver).

Admin: He might lighten up a bit if Davey were truly out of the way.  Not that I would condone hurting the kid. 😉


The Reverend Edward Casaubon
(Middlemarch, 1994)

Type of Relic:

Print so tiny you need a magnifying glass to read it

Print so tiny you need a magnifying glass to read it

RF:  Something found at the verrrrry back of the library, on a verrrry high shelf, under a heavy layer of dust that shows it obviously hasn’t been checked out in ages.  Creaks slightly when you open it, shows signs of extensive foxing, and has a slightly musty smell, but the illustrations look as if they could be interesting.  Print so tiny you need a magnifying glass to read it.  Contains reams of esoteric lore no one has bothered to think about for centuries.

Admin:  And be careful reading it.  You might just get sucked in and turn into one yourself.

What Are His Relic-ish Tendencies?

Working on his social skills with Dorothea, his intended

Working on his social skills with Dorothea, his intended

RF:  All of them!  Let’s face it, Casaubon would have never left his library studies if he hadn’t gotten it into his head that he might like to try being married, if only he could find the right woman.  Otherwise he’d still be in his library, or in some other library, filling up notebooks and not writing The Key to All Mythologies for as long as humanly possible.  He also dwells in a rather relic-y house, Lowick, which is appropriately gloomy and hasn’t seen significant renovation since his mother’s time.  He’s also not very good at social skills, admitting himself that he “lives too much with the dead”.  His fiancée, Dorothea, finds all of this incredibly charming.

Admin:  And it is charming, actually.  He’s a loner and a bookworm, but he still manages to hold down his job and take care of his nephew…I mean cousin.

RF:  If by “take care” you mean, “send him away to Europe and hope he doesn’t come back”.  😉

Why Is He a Relic?

He's most at home in his library

He’s most at home in his library

RF:  I suspect it’s because he’s never not been a relic.  He was probably a relic at the age of fourteen.  Then after his older brother died, leaving him Lowick and a rather large inheritance, he had the luxury of becoming even more of a relic, devoting most of his time to his work in progress, The Key to All Mythologies, although he still had to preach the occasional sermon.  Also, change frightens Casaubon.  He would by far rather keep doing exactly what he’s been doing than consider that he might have to change and evolve – which makes his marrying Dorothea even more inexplicable.

Admin:  And he’s a relic because he is afraid of rejection.  Deep down, he probably knows his work is too dry for most readers, so he just keeps up the research side.  And, that’s isn’t so bad really, if that’s what he likes to do.

What Makes Him So Gosh-darned Cute?

He'd be horrified if he knew anyone thought he was cute.

He’d be horrified if he knew anyone thought he was cute.

RF:  Oh, the social awkwardness and shyness combined with his obliviousness, plus he looks great in that basic black (slightly outdated) clergyman’s wardrobe, even if he never, ever realizes it.  He’s also kind of cute when he rattles on about obscure mythological deities and events, although that stuff probably gets pretty old (pun intended) after a while.  He’s also delightfully cranky whenever he has to deal with Dorothea’s overly hearty Uncle Brooke or his own ne’er-do-well sponging cousin (not nephew!), Will Ladislaw.  He’s not jealous of Dorothea’s kind regard for Will… but he sort of is.  Casaubon has a very human insecure and vulnerable side as well, although it’s well-hidden behind a very prickly exterior.

Admin:  I agree.  His shy awkwardness is actually very sweet.  And ancient mythology is a very interesting topic with all the sexed up stuff, random acts of violence, and the insane antics of capricious gods.  It is decidedly more interesting than politics.

What Brings Out His Hidden Radical?

RF:  I don’t think he has one.  Well, Casaubon does allow Dorothea to contribute to getting a hospital set up in Middlemarch, and he supported Will’s family when they fell upon hard times, so he’s not entirely insensible to doing the right thing.  But the farthest he’s ever departed from the status quo was to get married.

Admin:  I guess a Christian clergyman being so fascinated with pagan stuff is a bit weird.

RF:  That’s true, and yet it’s played throughout Middlemarch as being not that out of the ordinary, which is kind of refreshing.  🙂

What’s His Favourite Pastime/Hobby?

This <i>is</is> his favourite pastime.

This is his favourite pastime.

RF:  Not making wooden toys on a lathe.  Reading, research, making notes, cataloguing notebooks, and learning long-dead languages are lots of fun, though!  Also writing veiled insult notes to Will and receiving veiled insults in return gets Casaubon’s heart going.  😉  He also enjoys trips to foreign places… as long as they have nice, big libraries  with late closing times there.

Admin:  Casaubon’s whole life was pretty much devoted to his hobby.   He was kind of like the first geek.

RF:  Hence why he was so insulted when Will told him he couldn’t even do that right.

Could He Ever Be Updated/Reformed and Would You Date Him if He Couldn’t?

His version of loosening up a bit

His version of loosening up a bit

RF:  Given enough time and a lot of patience, I think Casaubon could be updated – although he might be kicking and screaming the entire way.  But one might have to leave his most dearly held beliefs for last, such as his certainty that certain nationalities have nothing to contribute to the study of mythology, or that wives might be useful in organizing one’s book material.  That said, I’d probably date him even if he couldn’t, because he’s just so gosh-darned cute.  It would be a lot of fun (and not very difficult) to bewilder him.  😉  Plus I think he has a lot of reclamation potential.

Admin:  I don’t think he needs to be updated or reformed.  He was misguided for not letting Dorothea know of his insecurities, but other than that he was OK.   I guess the only area where he really needed work was in explaining his feelings and plans a lot more honestly.  But, I see nothing wrong with someone who loves conducting research purely for the sake of conducting research.  And, yeah, he’s really cute and would know tons of cool myth stories, so he’s perfectly worthy of interest.

RF:  Actually, Casaubon seemed to be on his way to reforming a bit on his own; he appeared genuinely touched when Dorothea waited up for him all night and was quite gentle with her.  I completely agree that with more and better communication, they might have had a strong, loving marriage.  Also agreed that there’s nothing wrong with research for research’s sake if that’s what interests him, but he was also putting pressure on himself for not being ready to publish – so he’d have to learn to relax a bit.  Maybe he should’ve taken up making those wooden toys after all.


Lord Willingdon, Viceroy of India
(Indian Summers, 2015)

Type of Relic:

A Victorian curiosity

A Victorian curiosity

RF:  A Victorian curiosity, although trying very hard to move with the times.  Would be far more comfortable if the times didn’t move so much, though.  Under a glass cloche that’s getting a bit dusty, in a cabinet of other curiosities.   He probably wouldn’t mind a return to the good ol’ days.  And get off his well-manicured lawn, unless you’re going to play tennis, golf, or polo on it!

Admin:  A very attractive looking curiosity though.  One you wouldn’t mind collecting…sort of like an antique first edition of a really good, but charmingly dated, boy’s adventure tale.

What Are His Relic-ish Tendencies?

Encountering change with a foot in two worlds

Encountering change with a foot in two worlds

RF:  Mostly a wish that he understood the world better, or perhaps more accurately, that the world understood him better.  We get the impression Lord Willingdon has been doing his job a certain way for quite a while, and would like to keep doing it the same way with the same amount of support from the Crown he’s always enjoyed.  One of the few things that seems to bother Lord W. is that he feels he’s getting conflicting messages and being hung out to dry as Viceroy.  He’s personally very charming, but dislikes being crossed in matters of politics or business.

Admin:  Yes, he’s facing up to a changing world.  I wouldn’t say he’s fighting it, precisely, but he is doing his best to stand up for himself and the traditions and beliefs he believes in.

Why Is He a Relic?

RF:  Rather like Casaubon, Lord W. has grown up within a certain milieu and with certain privileges, and he’s never had to consider being anything other than what he is, until now.  He’s good at his job – as the job was, say, twenty years ago.  He seems to much prefer the old-fashioned ways of doing things.  Everything was so much safer and well-defined then.

Admin:  Basically he’s just gotten older in a changing world.  It happens.  🙂

What Makes Him So Gosh-darned Cute?

Simply irresistible

Simply irresistible

RF:  Just look at him!  He’s charming and funny, with an irresistible dottiness and an innate need to meddle in the affairs of his underlings, especially his private secretary.  He looks lovely and dashing in white tie, and will even unexpectedly break out into song and dance numbers with very little provocation (although possibly aided by a whiskey or two).  He’s also very good at dancing, has impeccable manners, is a good conversationalist, enjoys various sports, and likes live theatre.  And he’s devoted to Mrs. Viceroy.  He’s about as lively and versatile a companion as one could possibly wish.

Admin:  He’s a devilish handsome clotheshorse, charming, charismatic, and even insightful.  He means well and shows a lot of compassion and kindness, particularly to Ralph.  He’s also rather vulnerable, but not in a weak way.  The scene where he wakes up and imagines Ralph is his son who died in the war is very touching.

What Brings Out His Hidden Radical?

Pondering Britain's role:  "There are moments when I wonder, did we slip up?"

Pondering Britain’s role: “There are moments when I wonder,
did we slip up?”

RF:  We haven’t really seen it in the show yet, but the real Lord W. seemed to have a keen awareness (to some extent) of social justice, creating his own sports club when his Indian friends were turned away from the door of another that catered only to the British.  He and Lady W. also had ongoing interest in various philanthropic causes, with Lord W. in particular encouraging the development of poor Indian villages.  It would be wonderful if Indian Summers could explore more of this aspect of his character.

Admin:  It would be nice to see some of that aspect of Willingdon shown.  Otherwise you have to go to Wikipedia to learn the specifics of his more progressive nature.

What’s His Favourite Pastime/Hobby?

Meddling in Ralph's love life

Meddling in Ralph’s love life

RF:  As mentioned, meddling in the love life of his private secretary, Ralph Whelan.  It’s for Ralph’s own good, of course, because left to his own devices he’d never do anything about it.  Also indulging in amateur theatre, impromptu musicals, riding, golf, tennis, and complaining about southern Indian coffee.  And trying not to annoy Mrs. Viceroy.

Admin:  Willingdon is shown as an exceptionally playful fellow in the series.  He seems to have loads of artistic and athletic interests.  He also enjoys a good male bonding session with Ralph over game birds.  He’s an active one.

Could He Ever Be Updated/Reformed and Would You Date Him if He Couldn’t?

Mrs. Viceroy is a very lucky woman

Mrs. Viceroy is a very lucky woman

RF:  Lord W. is trying hard to update himself, but…  I have my doubts he’ll get that far.  That said, the real Lord W. had some remarkably progressive ideas, without needing to be tricked into them by his secretary.  He might always have a somewhat old-fashioned air, but he does at least try to earnestly think about what he’s doing.  I would certainly date him even if he couldn’t update himself, but I think Mrs. Viceroy would arrange an unpleasant rickshaw accident for me if I tried, or she’d drop her handbag on my foot and break it (my foot, not the handbag).

Admin:  Well, he certainly deserves more credit for his progressive nature and well meaning attitude.  Maybe that would cajole him to go further with it all.  And, I agree, he’s lovely and charming.  Mrs. Viceroy is a lucky lady!


Mr. Quarles
(“After the War“, 1989)

Type of Relic:

A WWI schoolmaster in a WWII world

A WWI schoolmaster in a WWII world

RF:  A World War I schoolmaster in a World War II world.  Like one of those rather out-of-date pull-down maps that still has old country boundaries or better yet, old country names on it, or broken-spine, heavily worn textbooks that haven’t been updated for a generation or two.  An older man’s attitudes in a younger man’s body.

Admin:  I like the out-of-date worn textbook comparison.  One full of xenophobic nonsense.   That describes him alright.

What Are His Relic-ish Tendencies?

Teaching his class about the British Empire

Teaching his class about the British Empire

RF:  Mr. Quarles is slightly oblivious to the fact the world has changed since his formative years and thinks the young whippersnappers in his charge need to toughen up, like he did in the old days.  His ideals of “cohesion, discipline, command structure” and “organized competition” sound like something straight out of the jingoistic schoolmaster’s mouth in All Quiet on the Western Front.  They turned out not to be so very applicable in that situation, either.  He also has a rather antiquated attitude towards the benefits of empire; he and Lord Willingdon would probably agree on the benefits of British colonization of countries inhabited by “unscrupulous foreigners”.  He also has definite ideas about the hierarchy at his school; “skivvies” such as Mrs. Hirsch are beneath his notice as human beings, although it’s okay to leer at them because they can’t answer back.

Admin:  You just know he believes in the merits of really cold showers and carbolic soap.

Why Is He a Relic?

RF:  By remaining stuck as a schoolteacher (Mr. Quarles has a noticeable limp and was probably invalided out of eligibility for active service), he’s remained in a static environment, almost like a museum piece, while the rest of the world has passed him by.  However, I did get the sense that he bitterly resents being left behind, becoming even more unsympathetic towards his charges and more jingoistic to make up for the fact he can’t go and fight like other men his age.  Mr. Quarles is left preaching patriotism when he can’t possibly follow through on his own ideals.

Admin:  That’s right.  He’s really just frustrated at not being able to join armed forces and fight for his country.

What Makes Him So Gosh-darned Cute?

Looking great in his tweeds

Looking great in his tweeds

RF:  Despite his inescapably bitter attitude, Mr. Quarles is still a good-looking man with a lot of potential – although it might take a while for the smugness and class consciousness to wear off.  He does put himself in harm’s way to ensure his students’ safety, making sure they’re not run over by a bomb disposal lorry, but he’ll go from a moment like that to belittling them for making sand castles, so he has a bit of a way to go.  On a purely shallow level, he does look quite nice in his tweeds.  😉  And he has great aim with a piece of chalk.

Admin:  He does have exquisite styling.  And he takes his job seriously, that’s true.  Even if he is more than happy to let the boys fight out their differences. 🙂

What Brings Out His Hidden Radical?

RF:  He doesn’t have one.  I’d say Mr. Quarles would be opposed to any kind of radicalism, because that would be contrary to his values of “cohesion, discipline, [and] command structure”.  He’s more interested in conformity.  Radicalism to Mr. Quarles is building sand castles when one should be preparing to fight the Hun… I mean, Jerry.  However, if Mr. Quarles were to develop hidden radical tendencies for some reason, he’d be an even more interesting character.

Admin:  He clearly found Mrs. Hirsch attractive.  I do wonder what would have happened if she’d shown any interest in him as opposed to associating with the American troops.  I expect he’d have still been nasty since that seems his nature, but we don’t really know.

What’s His Favourite Pastime/Hobby?

Leering at Mrs. Hirsch

Leering at Mrs. Hirsch

RF:  Outwitting schoolboys and making their lives as regimented (and miserable) as possible.  If he could run the whole thing as some sort of slightly more controlled version of Lord of the Flies, he probably would.  Competitive chalk-throwing.  Ransacking students’ rooms for contraband.  Also leering at, and making inappropriate remarks about, one of the school’s housekeepers when he finds her attractive, but can’t bring himself to treat her respectfully.

Admin:  He also likes gossiping about those housekeepers.  How charming.

Could He Ever Be Updated/Reformed and Would You Date Him If He Couldn’t?

First, you'd have to get rid of the smugness...

First, you’d have to get rid of the smugness…

RF:  If he could ever get over his essential insecurity and bitterness… maybe.  It might also help if he gave up teaching for a while and got a completely different job, although I’m not sure what would suit him.  Maybe helping returning war vets?  That might bring about the required attitude change.  But I do think he has a tiny smidge of potential, since he does care enough about his students to keep them out of harm’s way.

Admin:  True.  Once the war is over he might be able to get over a lot of his angst and find some productive way to help in the post-war effort.  I don’t know if he’s date-able, but he seems like he would be worth getting to know if he were living under more agreeable circumstances.


D.S. Albert “Cheerful Charlie” Chisholm
(Minder, 1979 – 1988)

Type of Relic:

A good, old-fashioned policeman

A good, old-fashioned policeman

RF:  An old trilby found on a London street, having somehow remained unchanged since the Fifties, like it just fell out of someone’s attic.  An anachronism transplanted to the Eighties, with an antiquated attitude towards his trade and the criminals he pursues.  One frequently gets the impression that Chisholm would far prefer to deal with the world as it was in an earlier time.  Or… he’s just a good, old-fashioned policeman.  😉

Admin:  Something well made and solid, out of place in the modern world, but you really want it around anyway because it gives off the decided impression that things were better back then.  In other words, he’s a  bakelite radio.

RF:  Oh, that is perfect!  😀  And like a bakelite radio, he’d probably still function perfectly well if he was dropped off a roof.  He’d just be scuffed up a bit.

What Are His Relic-ish Tendencies?

"A good honest-to-God villain would be a breath of fresh air."

“A good honest-to-God villain would be a breath of fresh air.”

RF:  A definite world-weariness combined with cynicism and frustration at having to deal with the usual round of “[b]loody tarts, pimps, grasses, rapists, muggers, [and] transvestites” that are his usual clientele, all while trying to maintain an enlightened attitude as a “people policeman” whose role is “preventive rather than detentive”.  He does try, truly he does.  But Chisholm’s attitude remains firmly old-fashioned, such as when he chastises a gangster’s moll for living the lifestyle she does, or expresses a wish for a “good, honest, straightforward- to-God villain” as a “breath of fresh air”.  Mind you, he had to get reeeeeaaally drunk first to even say that last part out loud.

Admin:  He does employ the old man approach of using dark sarcasm as a weapon against all he disapproves of.  It’s made all the better because he isn’t an old man.  He’d really like to drag suspects in and force the truth out of them, but he can’t.  As he sadly told Terry,  “you are protected, by rules and laws, arrest procedures, habeas corpus, and all that cobblers.”

RF:  Excellent point.  Chisholm does frequently come across as an old man in a young man’s body, and there have been more than a few times he’d prefer to do things like an old-fashioned copper.

Why Is He a Relic?

You can tell who the relic is at a glance

You can tell who the relic is at a glance

RF:  I suspect Chisholm was raised with old-fashioned values and has simply never changed them, nor seen any reason why he should.  He seems to exist in a bit of a bubble, although he’s well aware the world has evolved and isn’t the way he’d like it to be.  Like Casaubon – and a lot of our other Relics – I don’t think Chisholm likes change very much.  Nor does he trust anyone very easily.

Admin:  That is so true about him existing in a bit of bubble…something of a self made one.  I expect part of that might have simply been down to the writers not bothering to explain Chisholm’s lifestyle.  However, Patrick Malahide filled in that absence in the writing, giving Chisholm his melancholic, solitary relic-like ways and making him a much fuller, relateable character.

RF:  Completely agreed that Mr. Malahide did an excellent job of fleshing out Chisholm’s character.  I would’ve loved it if Minder could have given him the same level of attention.

What Makes Him So Gosh-darned Cute?

Undeniable cuteness in the depths of despair

Undeniable cuteness in the depths of despair

RF:  Oh come on, just look at him!  😀  He is cute, despite the best efforts of the Minder writers to try to convince us that Terry (hah!) was the cute one.  Whether in the depths of existential despair, recovering from a vicious hangover, getting a bespoke suit measured for the first time, glaring at Arthur in court, complaining to Jones about the job, or modelling the latest in baggy brown sweaters, thin macs, and trilbies, Chisholm just can’t help being cute.  But he’d hate to think anyone thought so.

Admin:  It actually seems a bit daft that the writers made Terry the cute one with Chisholm running around.  What were they thinking?

What Brings Out His Hidden Radical?

About to unleash his hidden radical on an Interpol agent

About to unleash his hidden radical on an Interpol agent

RF:  I was going to say that Chisholm is so old-fashioned I didn’t think he had a hidden radical, but then I remembered that he occasionally shows moments of daring and outright bravery, like when he wrestles a gun away from an irresponsible Interpol agent on the Orient Express.  Or, in the same episode, when he fights off a criminal single-handed (with minimal help from Arthur Daley).  So on the one hand, while he makes fun of female strikers as “Bolshies”, he has hidden depths that only occasionally come to light.

Admin:  I liked how he was clearly unimpressed with guns in Orient Express.  And, you’re right, he did risk his own safety to get the gun secured.  And whilst not a sign of a radical, he did make some awkward attempts at cultural sensitivity in See Shamy Run, so he’s not a backwards relic at least.

What’s His Favourite Pastime/Hobby?

RF:  Chisholm’s sole pastime appears to be his job, if you go only by what you see on the show, but he frequently drops remarks that indicate that he’s had something of a Humanities or Arts-based education in the past.  So I suspect our favourite D.S. might actually do a fair amount of reading in his spare time.  That is, when he isn’t taking his Nan to go get her groceries or whatnot.  😉

Admin:  I also get the definite feeling that Chisholm is a bookworm.  If so, it just adds to his charm.

Could He Ever Be Updated/Reformed and Would You Date Him If He Couldn’t?

Who cares if he's updated??

Who cares if he’s updated??

RF:  I don’t care and yes.  😀  Okay, okay, in more detail.  I do think Chisholm might try to update himself, but given how drunk he had to get just to accept that he was a “people policeman”, it might be an uphill battle.  He’d probably always have those old-fashioned tendencies lurking in the background.  But I don’t think that would be an entirely bad thing, since he seems to have an innate sense of honesty – and a very dry wit and sense of humour – to go along with them.  So yes, I’d certainly date him.

Admin:  Like Casaubon, Chisholm doesn’t need updating so much as a confidence boost.  Other than that, he’s perfect as is.  Of course I’d date him.


Who’s the Cutest Relic of Them All?

Our winner:  D.S. Chisholm!

Our winner: D.S. Chisholm!

RF:  This was a tough one.  For me, it came down to Casaubon versus Chisholm, and I have to go with… Chisholm.  Sorry, Casaubon!  But you’ve got Dorothea, and Chisholm is just so delightfully sarcastic and erudite when he’s in a good mood.  Plus he knows London like the back of his hand, and would know every tea and pie shop within a ten mile radius of the East End, so he’d be great on a date.  He’d probably even enjoy going to museums and bookstores, although he’d never admit it back at the precinct.  So he’s my choice for Cutest Relic.  😉

Admin: Chisholm is absolutely the Cutest Relic.  I just don’t think there could be any other.  Despite the cynicism, he really is a good person with real moral character.  He is tremendously good looking with a sharp, dry wit.  And his old fashioned tendencies are just another part of what makes him so overall attractive.  Hooray for Chisholm!

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