Quintessential British Gentleman

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Henry Hatsworth: a jolly good example.

TheHelldragon: Shake your fist in angry, British rage, Tom!

NTom64: You can't see it, but my fist is wearing a monocle!

Start with one cup(pa) tea. Mix in a hearty helping of British Accents... no, it doesn't matter which, any will do. No one (except those pesky British people) will notice. Add some Stock British Phrases for seasoning, wot, wot. Throw it all in a top hat and stir with a monocle over low heat for the 1000+ years in the history of The British Empire. Turn it out carefully, give him a name like "Sir Nigel Featherstonehaugh-Smythe," and Bob's your uncle, you have yourself the Britishiest British man to ever "cheerio" his way into the media-viewing-public's home. And no one (except those pesky British people) will be any the wiser that you're mixing dialectal phrases willy-nilly or throwing British slang around like Frisbees.

The Quintessential British Gentleman is a stock character commonly found in decidedly not-so-British works, who encapsulates everything that non-Brits (most commonly Americans) think of when they think of that funny little island across the pond. Much like the Eaglelander is a Flanderized American, this chap is the Flanderized Brit. Common characteristics include:

He's not always a product of Critical Research Failure, however. Sometimes, just as an Eaglelander is a gentle poking-fun-at of Americans, so too might this fellow be a humorous, good-natured jab at English - and done well, of course, even the Brits can find it funny. In fact, many of the works listed were created by Britons. Some Britons actually act like this, if not in everyday life, then at least recreationally. Because it's funny.

Compare with that Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist from Eagle Land, and that bush-hatted fellow from the Land Down Under. By the way, has nothing to do with the Lord British Postulate, but plenty to do with Stiff Upper Lip. The Q.B.G is probably helpless without The Jeeves. See also the Upper Class Wit, which is what the Quintessential British Gentleman probably was in his wild youth.

Actual British Gentlemanly behaviour is more subtle the speech or dress, involving the virtues of hospitality and temperance, the avoidance of extremes, devotion to 'things held dear', rebellion against corruption, courage in adversity, and extreme composure. (However, some of these - notably extreme composure - are sometimes seen in trope form).

Examples of Quintessential British Gentleman include:

Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Negi Springfield of Mahou Sensei Negima is a proto-version of this (at least at first), complete with tea. Lately though, he seems to be drifting in a different direction.
    • Even after becoming more of a Shonen hero (though not quite a standard one), however, he will still turn a diplomatic talk into a duel of honor between him and The Dragon over an argument about tea.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia's England is a subversion. While he does act this way sometimes, he also has a short temper, foul mouth, and drinks. A LOT!
    • This is not necessarily a subversion with regard to that character. This is a common mistake - being a gentleman doesn't necessarily equal amiability and huge amounts of tolerance - many a gentleman is also a Gentleman Snarker, and not suffering fools gladly goes hand in hand with this trope. Even the foul-mouth aspect is not a subversion, and the most impeccable gentleman will still occasionally pepper his dialogue with a few well placed "bloody's" and "buggers!".
    • One of his image songs is called "Absolutely Invincible British Gentleman", which is ironically a very modern rock song.
    • Fanfiction has a tendency to present him as this trope, though, ignoring the short temper, foul mouth and Tsundere behavioral patterns.
    • His voice actor, Noriaki Sugiyama, said in an interview that he thought England was trying but failing to be this trope. Well, he pulls it off sometimes, notably when his role isn't the Only Sane Man.
  • Hellsing - watch the composed and polite gentlemen in expensive suits around the table as the enemies close in on them... though in the end Sir Integra proved to be the strongest gentleman of them all.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The title character of Amney Crucis Investigates is the type written by a Brit.


Film[edit | hide]

  • SIR MICHAEL CAINE in Zulu. Interestingly, in most of his subsequent roles he has played a tough working-class bloke (which he more or less is in real life).
  • Sir Henry Vining in Five Week In A Balloon (1962) is an upper class twit/snob version.
  • In the original The Italian Job, Noel Coward plays the Britishest British man to ever Brit in Britain. Yes, it's a parody. A very funny parody.
  • Almost any character ever played by Terry-Thomas. Just look at the character's names:
    • Sir Percy de Courcy (Spanish Fly)
    • Arthur Critchit (The Vault of Horror)
    • Archibald Sinclair Beachum (The Persuaders)
    • Clennery Tubbs (Arthur! Arthur!)
    • Sir Percy Ware-Armitage (Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines)
    • Sir Cuthbert Ware-Armitage (Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies)
    • Smythe Farquardt (The Red Skelton Show)
    • James Franklin-Jones (Comedy Playhouse: The Old Campaigner)
    • Sir Harry Washington-Smythe (Rocket To the Moon)
    • Brig. Zachary Zilch (The Daydreamer)
    • Lt.Col. J. Algernon Hawthorne (It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World)
    • Captain J. (Jeroboam) Barker-Rynde PI (Kill or Cure)
    • Lt. 'Piggy' Wigg (Operation Snatch)
    • Cadogan de Vere Carlton-Browne (Carleton-Browne of the F.O.)
    • Captain Romney Carlton-Ricketts (Blue Murder at St Trinian's)
    • Charles Boughtflower (The Green Man)
      • Although Terry-Thomas's character is often a subversion of the QBS by being a bit of a rotter too.
  • Jack Lemmon's French policeman character in Irma la Douce adopts another identity as one of these, so that he'll be his Hooker with a Heart of Gold love interest's only client.
  • Johnathan Quayle Higgins in Magnum PI.
  • James Bond, at least when played by Roger Moore.
  • Grp. Cpt. Lionel Mandrake, one of the characters played by Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove
  • The Mercedez Benz team in The Gumball Rally, played by J. Pat O'Malley and Vaugn Taylor.

Andy McAllister: Sedately Barney, as befits our years and station in life.
[Barney squeals tires as they leave the parking lot]


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Sir Leigh Teabing from The Da Vinci Code. Not that it stopped him from being evil Teabing?
    • "Teabing" is an anagram of "Baigent." The Authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, Michael Baigent and Richard Liegh (notice anything?) sued Dan Brown for ripping off a theory presented in the afore-mentioned book by them for use in The Da Vinci Code. They lost.
  • In the Redwall series, some hares fall underneath this classification, especially the Long Patrol. The author is British though, so this isn't as Flanderized as some other examples.
  • The be-monocled Ronald (or Rupert) Psmith is a recurring character in the comedies of PG Wodehouse. A refined gent of wit and eloquence: an eccentric of the first water. (The 'p' is silent, as in 'pshrimp'.)
  • Lord Peter Wimsey from the Dorothy L. Sayers books about him.
    • And Sir Henry Merrivale, from the Carter Dickson books which spoof Lord Peter by creating an aristocrat who is nothing like Lord Peter, except for the 'brilliant detective' part.
  • Captain Isambard Smith of the Space Captain Smith series of books by Toby Frost is placed neatly between this trope and Richard Sharpe, with a healthy dose of buffoonery thrown in for good measure.
  • Although Sherlock Holmes himself does not really fit this trope, a few of the supporting characters from his stories do, particularly the clients he takes among the upper classes (such as the Duke in "The Adventure of the Priory School").
  • Phileas Fogg, the protagonist of Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days, of course. His favourite hangout is a gentlemen's club in London.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Bernard Fox also did this very well:
  • Version from the UK itself: John Steed from The Avengers, though only after the series was tweaked in an attempt to make it more appealing to American audiences.
  • Giles and Wesley from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and any number of visiting English watchers. Giles lampshades it right away:

Giles: ...I'm a bit fuzzy, however, on the details. It may be that you can wrest some information from that dread machine.
[Everyone stares at him.]
Giles: That was a bit... British, wasn't it?
Buffy: Welcome to the New World.

  • The Doctor was always noticeably British (or at least Anglophile) in his tastes and attitudes, but it's arguably the Eighth Doctor from the (American-made) Made for TV Movie who comes closest to this trope ("He's... British." "Yes, I suppose I am!").
  • This was done quite a bit on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. For example, in one episode where Geoffrey's long-lost comes to visit (who claims that he has plans to attend Butler School) Carlton becomes fascinated to the point where he begins to imitate the British Gentleman stereotype, bowler hat, pip pips and all.
  • Many sketches from Monty Python's Flying Circus parodied the stuffy British stereotype that their parents' generation more closely embodied.


Music[edit | hide]

  • Professor Elemental evokes one of these, with a mix of upper crust British accent, adventurer's outfit, Sherlock Holmes pipe and raps about tea and mad science experiments.
  • The Wayfarers: "Deck the Sheds" is based on the idea that an audience of these is being treated to an Australian version of "Deck the Halls". At first they're enthusiastic about it, with lines like "Spiffing!" After it turns out the song has "Rip a bloody hugey, bonza mate!" instead of the traditional fa-la-la, they're...less wowed.


Theatre[edit | hide]

  • Anything Goes's Evelyn Oakleigh. Or Sir Evelyn Oakleigh, in the 1962 version. Or LORD Evelyn Oakleigh in the 1987 version.


Videogames[edit | hide]

  • The last boss, Sir Richard Rose, in the 1991 side scrolling action game Sunset Riders. His two lines of dialogue are "Cheerio, old chap!" and "I say, bit of bad luck."
  • Professor Layton is actually fairly tame... but he is very polite and smart, and he does love his tea. He also stresses—frequently—the correct behavior expected of a gentleman.
    • Luke covers the areas of Britishness that Layton can't as well.
  • Taken to comical extremes in the Adventurer Archaeologist, monocle-wearing, mustache-bearing, tea-guzzling protagonist of the game Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure. When he drinks tea, he summons a giant robot to help him. Yep, this is a Western Widget Series, all right...
    • The voice natter that accompanies his dialogue is literally nothing but an endless series of 'pip-pip, cheerio'-style sounds. No words, just raw unadulterated Britishness. The rest of the cast encompasses the various variations on this trope; his archnemesis, for instance, is a Steampunk Willy Wonka lookalike who uses a giant mechanical top hat as his vehicle.
      • Henry's sidekick has one legible word in his voice natter. The word is "guv'na". The game doesn't just embrace the trope, it dances a waltz with it.
  • Kolorado, the Adventurer Archaeologist in Paper Mario.
  • Captain Ash, from the Time Splitters series.
  • The Street Fighter series has two (of its three male British characters in the series; Birdie is more of a stereotypical British punk): Eagle from the the original Street Fighter, some ports of Street Fighter Alpha 3 and Capcom vs. SNK 2 is a man wearing a dress shirt and suspenders with a moustache who attacks with two clubs. Dudley from Street Fighter III wears a similar costume except with a bow tie and boxing gloves. He is very much like a mixture of Eagle and Balrog in that he is a gentlemanly Brit, but is also a black boxer. With his curly moustache and neat hair, he is definitely the more stereotypical of the two...and he can also somehow drink tea while wearing boxing gloves.
  • Sir Roderick Ponce von Fontlebottom the Magnificent Bastard (no, not that one) is here to educate all of you heathens in the proper manner of wearing trousers, drinking tea, debating, and shooting off overpowered flintlock rifles. His clothing and armor, however, are more Spanish in style.
  • Major Zero in the Metal Gear series is a slightly less blatant example, only hitting a few of the above traits. Subverted, ironically, when he becomes the leader of the Patriots.
  • Sidney Nettleson from Jagged Alliance. His bio reads "Whether sharing a Spot of Tea with English bluebloods or putting a .38 slug into an unwanted nuisance, Sidney does everything with poise and dignity. Years of avid cricket-playing have also given him a much feared throwing-arm."
  • Remilia Scarlet from Touhou. Being a vampire, her favorite cup of tea is human blood.
  • Carl Clover and Rachel Alucard from BlazBlue.
  • The titular character from The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom isn't a nice version of these. He always wants something for himself and do whatever whatever he needs, even at the expense of others. He gets better.


Web Originals[edit | hide]

  • MikeJ
  • Parodied/deconstructed with Englishman, who is in some ways the stereotypical British gentleman as imagined by Americans (he lives in the USA, and fights crime), but the series is written by two Britons. Also, he embodies the darker side of the British upper classes as well, cheerfully trading in slaves, shooting foreigners and so on.
  • Whateley Universe example: Fey's magic tutor Sir Wallace Westmont, who's virtually a Shout-Out to John Steed, down to the bowler and accent. He even has an Action Girl accompanying him to Whateley Academy.
  • Retsupurae's take on Electrical Beast whose accent is so exaggerated it seems fake.
    • "Even British people are saying 'I can't believe how British this guy sounds'."
    • Their ElectricalBeast retsupuraes have even created all-new English stereotypes between the group: Specifically, the English can now travel through time and teleport.
  • Ntom64 is basically MADE of this trope.
  • The Dark Id's Let's Play of Resident Evil 4 makes El Gigante (a mindless giant) into one of these, complete with a photoshopped monocle.
  • Played with in the bizarre "Leg Peeing" sketch by The Whitest Kids You Know.
  • National Cynical Network's "Chap in the Hood" series. A toned-down example, possibly because it was recorded around 4:20.
  • "The Chap" Magazine is dedicated to these people.
  • Mr. Green online casino has a series of videos dedicated to this. Here's the first one.
  • "GameChap and Bertie" of YouTube fame play off this trope.


Webcomics[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Ferb's grandpa on Phineas and Ferb, albeit with that show, it's more like a parody of the stereotype than anything else.
  • Every non-real-life-celebrity British character on Family Guy.
    • Props for also depicting their very real pervy side, though.
    • Notably taken Up to Eleven with the New Yorker employees in "Brian goes back to College" through covering pretty much every variety of this trope in a matter of seconds:

Wellesley Shepherdson: ...and this is our writer's lounge where you'll meet some of our contributers: Fielding Wellingtonsworth.
Wellingtonsworth: [sipping tea from teacup and saucer] Hello.
Shepherdson: Livingston Winstofford.
Winstofford: [lights a cigar, wears a monocle, has a large mustache] Yes?
Shepherdson: Amelia Bedford-Furthington-Chesterhill.
Chesterhill: [smoking a cigarette in a long holder, swills brandy in snifter] Good day.
Shepherdson: And James William Bottomtooth.
Bottomtooth: [has comical underbite, terrible teeth, speaks unintelligibly]

"I say, Dinsmore, may I have some tea?"


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Stephen Fry is often placed in this trope in people's minds, something he admits to willingly going along with

Fry: ....it fits my self image, or at least that image others have of me that I have rather weak-mindedly allowed to become my self image.