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General Melchett

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General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett
Gen Melchett
Nationality British
Occupation British Army General
First appearance "Captain Cook"
Last appearance "Goodbyeee..."
Episode count 6
Played by Stephen Fry

(Born: 1845)

General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett VC DSO is a loud-mouthed, childish, unintelligent, incompetent British Army General serving in the First World War. According to his shoulder insignia he was a General (a four star general). He commands Captain Blackadder's unit. His aide is Captain Darling. He was played by Stephen Fry.

PersonalityEdit

The General is constantly trying to lift the morale of the men, completely ignorant of the fact that they are too afraid of their impending deaths to have their spirits lifted by a Charlie Chaplin film or a drag act. He has no concept of soldiers' fear, and cannot understand why Blackadder and Captain Darling are reluctant to fight (and presumably die), much like Lieutenant George. He also attempted to have Captain Blackadder shot for eating his (Melchett's) pet carrier pigeon (called Speckled Jim), tried to marry Lieutenant George (who was in character as drag queen 'Gorgeous Georgina'), and shot Captain Kevin Darling in the foot to provide a believable alibi for undercover hospital work. Despite Blackadder's having shot his pigeon, he appears to prefer Blackadder to Darling, at one point asking him to be his best man at his wedding. He started in the army in the year 1866 which he claims was in the middle of the Boer War.

The storyline about how long General Melchett has been with his pigeon is unlikely, since pigeons don't live nearly as long as humans. He raised the pigeon when he was a child, yet he was already an adult while George was young. This would mean that the pigeon exceeded his lifetime by 20 years, at least. It's more likely a new pigeon was passed off as Speckled Jim, to spare Melchett's feelings, when the previous Jim had died.

It appears the General is a family friend of Lieutenant George's and both make frequent references to traditional upper-class life in the UK. This mostly involves heavy overuse of public school slang and metaphors as well as references to stereotypical upper class values. There seems to be a hint that Melchett attended Winchester College as he makes a few references to them facing Harrow in various sports. Melchett then went to Cambridge University (as did George himself) with one of George's relatives. General Melchett had also known George when the latter was young; Melchett was at the lad's sixth birthday, where he set his dog on, ran over and shot George's rabbit Flossy... Although it has not been revealed why.

A potted biography published in the Radio Times has Melchett educated at Oundle School and Cambridge: "Educated, to use the word in its loosest sense, at Oundle where he was part of the Great Fag Beating Contest of 1880, he went on to break wind for his college at Cambridge".  Stephen Fry was educated at Oundle's local rival, Uppingham.

MedalsEdit

General Melchett displays 12 medals on his tunic - in order (with associated post nominal in parentheses)

  • The Victoria Cross (VC)
  • Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
  • South Africa Medal 1868-1880 (Zulu War)
  • Afghanistan Medal 1877-1880
  • Ashantee Medal 1872-1875 [out of sequence]
  • Egypt Medal 1880-1890, Khedive's Star [out of sequence]
  • India General Service Medal 1895-1903
  • Queen's South Africa Medal 1899-1904, King's South Africa Medal 1901-1902
  • India General Service Medal 1908-1913
  • 1914-1918 Star.

He has also been made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) and henceforth is awarded the title 'Sir'.

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