Monday, 13 February 2017

Strange Associations

The Dean of Jersey is set to retire on 28th February 2017. I have only one book on my bookshelf with the word "Dean" in the title, and that is "The Dean's Death", an original Columbo novel based on the TV character, and by word association, I always visualise that book cover whenever the word "Dean" comes up. Goodness knows what a Freudian analyst would make of that!

The Dean in the book, however, has the title of an academic post in an American University and not a religious one like Jersey's Dean. Just like the TV show, he is one of those irritating characters who is rather two-faced and winds up lots of people who therefore have a motive to kill him, and it is for Columbo to find out who did it, and expose the truth, while the reader knows from the start.

The Dean is off to work for the Bishop of Bath and Wells - our Dean, not the one who is murdered in the Columbo book. And here I have another association, which is apparently widespread. The title "The Bishop of Bath and Wells" rang a bell with me, and I remembered why.

The Bishop is a debt collector from the Bank of the Black Monks of St. Herod, and particularly enjoys causing pain and injury (even mortal injury) to those customers who cannot repay their debts. He claims to be a "colossal pervert", and enjoys the company of prostitutes such as Mollie. He is angry when customers are able to pay up, and also drowns babies in the christening font and then eats them later in the vestibule.

That, of course, is the character from Blackadder II, not real life!

Played by Ronald Lacey (a veteran of Porridge and Raiders of the Lost Ark) the grotesque baby-eating Bishop of Bath and Wells seen in the episode "Money" was not a genuine historical figure.

That said, the depiction became so recognisable than in 2001 the incoming Bishop of Bath & Wells - the Right Reverent Peter Price - related to the House of Lords that upon his arrival there the Bishop of Southwark had spotted his five-week-old granddaughter and remarked "The Bishop has brought his own lunch!"

1 comment:

Colin Machon said...

The other strange association was the bizarre philosophical conundrum that surrounded Peter Falk, in a very real way, or should I say was surrounded by Peter Falk.
That being his glass eye.
So that when Peter Falk played Colombo was his glass eye also acting?