Confident Blokes (Played by Patrick Malahide)

While Mr. Malahide has played a number of interestingly flawed characters, Admin and I have also noticed that he frequently plays very confident ones – perhaps too confident for their own good in some cases.  And his Confident Blokes can come from either the good or bad side of the aisle, but that just makes then even more interesting.  Here are a few of our favourite Confident Blokes played by Patrick Malahide.

Michael Harrison  |  Alfred Jingle  |  Assistant Commissioner Henry  |  Jack Turner  |
The Most Confident Bloke of All

RF:  My choices are…

Dr. Michael Harrison
(“Boon:  In it for the Monet“, 1989)

Type of Confident Bloke:

Dr. Michael Harrison: caddish <i>and</i> confident Confident Blokes Played by Patrick Malahide

Dr. Michael Harrison: caddish and confident

A rather caddish one, I’m afraid.  Dr. Harrison is utterly confident when it comes to his ability to charm his art students, especially the female ones.  He’s utterly self-assured when it comes to his ability to dazzle them with all sorts of deeply meaningful, esoteric art history talk, and he backs that up by helping them – the attractive ones, anyway – get ahead in their studies.  That he also combines it with a personal, romantic relationship never seems to enter his mind as inappropriate.  Dr. Harrison probably thinks he’s just being very efficient by combining work with play.

Is His Confidence Natural or Cultivated?

A rather odd way of expressing pride in his student's scholastic achievements.

A rather odd way of expressing pride in his student’s
academic achievements.

Very cultivated, I think.  You get the impression Harrison has had a long time to perfect his techniques and Isobel Sheridan (Clare Holman) is probably far from the only student he’s had success with.  You also get the impression that he’s lining up Dominique Taylor (Pippa Haywood) as Isobel’s replacement when Isobel finally moves on to greater things.  But I’d also have to say that Harrison’s confidence is so cultivated that it appears natural.  He certainly doesn’t seem to be working all that hard at it.

Is He Insufferable Because of His Confidence?

Smug Quotient off the scales

Smug Quotient off the scales

Yes, very much so, although it seems to depend what side of his confidence you’re on.  Certainly Ken Boon (Michael Elphick) finds Harrison incredibly insufferable and would probably enjoy punching him in the face, but he settles for non-violent karmic retribution instead.  But when Harrison thinks he’s put one over on Boon, his Smug Quotient is off the scales. And yet, for some reason, this doesn’t diminish his hotness at all for Isobel.

Does He Have Any Secret Hang-Ups?

Rummaging in his secret files seems to annoy him a bit

Rummaging in his secret files seems to annoy him a bit

He doesn’t seem to, but then again, that’s the modus operandi of all Confident Blokes.  If there’s anything he doesn’t like, it’s having his secret files rummaged in by the likes of Boon, but that’s because he’s so confident he’s been up to some skullduggery in his relationship with Isobel, with every expectation that he’ll get away with it.  If it were to become widely known that he was making money off the grad students he was romancing, his dating pool would dry up almost immediately.  Tragedy!  So I think Harrison’s ultimate fear is having his secrets exposed.

Does His Confidence Ever Get Him Into Trouble and If So, Does He Bounce Back?

<i>*SMAK*!!</i> :-o<br> The consequence of over-confidence

*SMAK*!! 😮
The consequence of over-confidence

Oh yes, Harrison’s confidence definitely get him into trouble.  He’s so sure that Isobel is completely in the dark about his double-dealing activities with regard to selling her essays that he overplays his hand at an awards ceremony for Isobel.  Isobel plays out her revenge at first, dropping a number of double-edged, loaded statements – which sound like compliments if one doesn’t know any better – that indicate she’s discovered what Harrison has been up to. Just when he thinks he’s about to receive a hug of gratitude, she smacks him hard across the face instead, in front of a horrified audience.  It seems pretty safe to say that Harrison’s academic career has hit a bit of a snag for the foreseeable future.

However, I have the feeling that Harrison’s confidence is such that he’ll eventually bounce back.  I’m not sure exactly how or when, but no doubt he’ll meet a lovely, sympathetic art student some day whom he can convince that he’s been hard done by, and then he’ll be back to his old tricks again.  But only if Boon or Isobel never hear about it.


Mr. Alfred Jingle
(“The Pickwick Papers“, 1985)

Type of Confident Bloke:

Mr. Jingle: The absolute picture of Confidence

Mr. Jingle: The absolute picture of Confidence

Mr. Jingle is confident as only a penniless, strolling actor charlatan with only one suit of clothes can be.  He has no right nor reason to be as confident as he is, but his confidence is utterly unshakable.  Moreover, he has a way of conveying that confidence to others, making them feel more confident themselves just by his presence – although that seems more a tactic just to set them at ease and make them more vulnerable to his blandishments.  Mr. Jingle could teach other blokes how to be confident, if he had any altruism in him (spoiler:  he doesn’t).  He also happens to be one of my favourite characters, so I may be just a touch biased here.

Is His Confidence Natural or Cultivated?

Holding his audience spellbound while activating his mooch powers

Holding his audience spellbound while
activating mooch powers

A little of both, I think.  Mr. Jingle has a lot of natural charm and a way of making the person he’s talking to believe that they are the most important person in the world at that moment.  He also has a way of perceiving where someone’s most cherished interests lie and directing his conversation accordingly.  He knows how to hold an audience, that’s for sure – and while he’s holding them,  he’s not above using their kind regard for a few benefits for himself, like free food or drinks or a spare ten pounds.  Yet while Jingle is a trained actor, his actual acting is a wee bit melodramatic and over the top; he’s far better when he’s just naturally sliding under the radar to inveigle what he wants.

Is He Insufferable Because of His Confidence?

Breezing into a room on a wave of utter confidence

Breezing into a room on a wave of utter confidence

No, i don’t think so at all!  Jingle’s confidence and complete self-assuredness are what make him so attractive and charming, even as he’s bamboozling the Pickwickians.   I think he’s as successful as he is because he somehow manages to not be insufferable when by all rights he should be.  But it’s a fine line.  Once he plays one prank too many on Mr. Samuel Pickwick (Nigel Stock), the latter certainly finds Mr. Jingle’s confidence to be something in need of checking, and Miss Nupkins – a would-be paramour of “Captain Charles Fitz-Marshall” (Jingle’s alias) – found him completely insufferable and intolerable in hindsight as well.  But really, their lives were made all the more interesting for having met him and they probably dined out on those stories for years afterwards.

Does He Have Any Secret Hang-Ups?

Grabbing the cheque before the ink is even dry

Grabbing the cheque before the ink is even dry

Since one of Jingle’s first actions upon coming into some money (he was paid off not to marry hapless spinster Miss Rachel Wardle (Freda Dowie)) was to buy new clothes for himself, I suspect that one of his hang-ups might be not having nice clothes so he can look his best.  He looks a bit awestruck when he receives the £120 cheque, as if he’s never seen that much money all in once place before.  Later, when Jingle is thrown into the Fleet for unpaid debts, one of the first thing he mentions to Mr. Pickwick is that he and his manservant Job Trotter (Pip Donaghy) have had to sell their clothes for money.  So I think money, or the lack thereof, is one of Jingle’s defining motivations no matter how carefree he seems.

Does His Confidence Ever Get Him Into Trouble and If So, Does He Bounce Back?

Karmic retribution: imprisonment in the Fleet

Karmic retribution: imprisonment in the Fleet

Well, we never do find out exactly how or why Jingle ends up in the Fleet prison, but it wouldn’t be a big leap to say that he might’ve gotten himself into trouble by being over-confident once too often.  And he certainly wasn’t counting on Mr. Pickwick chasing after him for revenge, even though (in my opinion) his pranks on Pickwick were pretty minor.  I think either Mr. Tracy Tupman (Clive Swift) or Miss Rachel have more of a valid case against him.   But all of that said, Mr. Jingle’s wonderful confidence and insouciance suffer a serious blow from his imprisonment.  He’s brought near the brink of death by illness and starvation and it’s only Job’s selflessness, and Mr. Pickwick’s generosity, that allow him to emerge alive.

A subdued and chastened Jingle vows to become a better man

A subdued and chastened Jingle vows
to become a better man

I also have the feeling that Jingle bounced back fairly rapidly from his ordeal.  Dickens tells us that he mended his ways and became a respectable man of business working on a plantation in the West Indies.  But that ending seems a little too pat for me;  someone as skilled at reading people as Jingle, and at turning situations to his advantage, likely wouldn’t be content with staying on the straight and narrow for long.  I suspect it wouldn’t be too long before he was charming bored plantation owners’ wives, regaling them with stories of his life as s trolling actor – while mooching free dinners and raiding their wine cellars.  Now that would be a happy ending.


Admin: And mine are…

Assistant Commissioner Henry
(“The Secret Agent“, 1992)

Type of Confident Bloke:

Patrick Malahide in The Secret Agent

The walking embodiment of confidence and charm.

A very smooth and intelligent police officer who knows how to read pretty much any situation. He is remarkably understated and seems utterly unflappable. He is fighting the good fight against terrorism, but does it a way that upsets as few people possible. Keenly ambitious, he knows how to charm the aristocracy while simultaneously working to earn the trust of the hard working and far less easily impressed Inspector Heat (Warren Clarke). But, Henry isn’t just simply a confident smoothie looking to impress all and sundry. He has enjoyed a more exciting and exotic past while stationed in Africa. Clearly he finds life in London far less satisfying, but that doesn’t stop him from doing his job exceedingly well.

Is His Confidence Natural or Cultivated?

Patrick Malahide in The Secret Agent

Comforting the shattered Verloc.

It is very cultivated. He puts a lot of thought in how he approaches people in order to obtain the best results possible. He has a cavalcade of personality types to cope with. Professionally, he has to work with the gruff Inspector Heat and the political minded Home Secretary (Stratford Johns). He uses his natural charm to impress and delight the vivacious Duchess of Chester (Janet Suzman) while also having to be a good and caring husband to his wife Annie (Fiona Mollison), though she unfortunately seems a little lower in his list of priorities. He comforts and consoles the pathetic would-be terrorist Verloc (David Suchet), a sympathetic man who got in over his head. Henry’s only true adversary is the oily Russian diplomat Vladimir (Peter Capaldi), the true perpetrator, but even there Henry plays it shrewdly preventing any major international fallout. Everything is very calculated and cultivated when it comes to Henry. It works too.

Is He Insufferable Because of His Confidence?

Patrick Malahide in The Secret Agent

Women find him less insufferable than men do.

Kind of. I mean, I don’t find him insufferable, but others could. Heat, while certainly learning to appreciate Henry’s intelligence and work ethic, has a good idea of what he’s all about and doesn’t fully trust him. When Verloc’s wife (Cheryl Campbell) described a suspicious man who had visited them as “tall, blue eyes, very confident,” Heat knew without any doubt she was referring to Henry. I think it was that word “confident” that really sprung out for him.  Generally speaking, I get the feeling men are much more likely than women to find him insufferable. The reasons for that are glaringly obvious. Certainly, Vladimir has him pegged as an insufferable sort, but Vladimir also knows he is crafty and very dangerous.

Does He Have Any Secret Hang-Ups?

Patrick Malahide in The Secret Agent

No major hang-ups, but he’s not crazy about boredom.

His wife commented that he’d probably rather be back in Africa because he seems to have a low-key fear of boredom and mundanity. That is a little strange because he strives so hard to work with such subtlety, never making a big fuss of what he is doing nor openly seeking more overt policing powers. But it still feels like he hankers for something more hands on. I feel that on a personal level, he desires Heat’s respect more than the Home Secretary’s, because Heat is, well, in the heat of things and gets his hands dirty. Henry respects that, even if he knows he personally has to be a lot more urbane in order to get ahead.

Does His Confidence Ever Get Him Into Trouble and If So, Does He Bounce Back?

Patrick Malahide in The Secret Agent

Crisis averted, tea earned.

If anything, his confidence keeps him out of trouble. With his polished approach, he gets a lot accomplished with minimal fuss and almost completely under the radar.

But, of course he has a job that will undoubtedly put him in the line of fire of very dangerous people, and it is possible he could overplay his hand somehow and get in trouble. I think if that were to happen, he would know how to regroup and start over again with his natural efficiency.


Jack Turner
(“Hunted“, 2012)

Type of Confident Bloke:

Jack Turner in "Hunted"

It’s “Jolly” Jack Turner!

Dock worker, turned gangster, turned ruthless business man. Jack Turner is an old school, hard working, Cockney geezer who has a traveled a hard scrabble path to operate a multi-million (eventually getting to a billion) pound company. Neither age nor success have mellowed him. He orchestrates horrible disasters in order to manipulate the stock market, orders hits on those who get in his way, and has no qualms about committing the odd murder himself. And he does it all with a confidence and bravado that only enhances his sexy Cockney charm. That takes some chutzpah.

Is His Confidence Natural or Cultivated?

This is such a great picture. There's so much to it. 1. It's a huge couch and he's parked himself dead in the middle. 2. No one is going to dare sit beside him on either side.

100% natural confidence.

Oh, it is absolutely 100% natural. Jack doesn’t bother cultivating anything except his stock portfolio. He is a very instinctive man who trusts his own judgment implicitly. He doesn’t second guess himself or bother with self-improvement because he probably figures (if he even gives it that much thought at all) he’s perfect as he is. When it comes to Jack, what you see is what you get. But, he isn’t a simple character. Not at all. His naturally brutal confidence makes him all the more intriguing and fun to watch.

Is He Insufferable Because of His Confidence?

...followed by a bit of a scoff...

Of course he’s insufferable.

Oh, yes! But, no one is actually going to tell him that because he is genuinely far more terrifying than he is insufferable. But, he is still mega insufferable. His wicked sense of humour and blunt, confident nature always give his son Stephen (Stephen Campbell-Moore) reason to cringe. When Jack notices that the widower Stephen is interested in “Miss Kent” (Melissa George), his son’s tutor, he offers up this sage advice: “If you wanna dwell on the past, instead of seeing what you want and right well takin’ it, because it ain’t gonna come round beggin’ you to shag it…” Charming! But that’s kind of Jack in a nutshell. He sees what he wants, and he gets it. He doesn’t really understand why his son doesn’t see things that way. In fact, Jack sees all that sensitivity stuff as a major defect in his son’s character.

Does He Have Any Secret Hang-Ups?

"I used to unload ships down here. Twenty-four hour shifts. Real work, that was."

“I used to unload ships down here. Twenty-four hour shifts. Real work, that was.”

Does he ever! They aren’t even that secret. Unlike AC Henry above, Jack isn’t one for subtlety. He’d take a sledgehammer to crack open a walnut. His major hangup is that he despises the conglomerate Polyhedrus. Granted, it is because they are out to get him. He really has every reason to despise them as they killed his eldest son…the one who, unlike Stephen, was a chip off the old block. It turns out that Jack, while very proud of his humble hardworking start in life, is aware of how that differentiates himself from them. He goes all out to completely destroy Polyhedrus financially for revenge.

Does His Confidence Ever Get Him Into Trouble and If So, Does He Bounce Back?

"If I couldn't kill a man, I'd bloody well kill a corporation."

“If I couldn’t kill a man, I’d bloody well kill a corporation.”  He should have killed all of them.

As mentioned above, his confidence and amazing success got him on Polyhedrus’ bad side. That all led to his ultimate destruction and death. There is no bouncing back from that. 🙁 In the end, Jack bit off more than he could chew by trying to destroy Polyhedrus financially. I think he would have been better off going old school and killing the people at the very top himself. Oh, and he could have bumped off that prying tutor a little more effectively too. 😉


Who’s the Most Confident Bloke of All?

Our pick: Jack Turner, the ultimate in confidence

Our pick: Jack Turner, the ultimate in confidence

RF:  Well, they’re all extremely confident in their own ways, but I have to go with… Jack Turner.  Just for his sheer audacity, ruthlessness, amorality, showiness, grandiosity of plans, complete expectation of success, and loads of cash, Jack is the very picture of unrestrained confidence.  He is so confident in his ability to pull things off that he even “pays his respects” at the grave site of the daughter-in-law he ordered killed – now that’s brazen.  And when his schemes finally do fail, he goes down fighting all the way.  Jack doesn’t care how big or small his opponents are, he only knows they’re his opponents – and they’re there to be defeated.  So, Jack is my choice.

Distilled confidence in its purest form.

Admin: Yeah, it is Jack alright.  I don’t think anyone, not even Icarus himself, could possibly aim higher than Jack.   He might have been the villain of the piece, but his honest guilt-free bravado actually made him more likable than the duplicitous “heroes”.  His absolute natural confidence was a joy to watch.  A series all about the exploits of Jack would have been far better than that Byzantium stuff. 🙂

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