On Grand Fenwick

Turner Classic Movies showed yesterday afternoon The Mouse that Roared, the late-50s movie starring Peter Sellers about the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, a long-forgotten English-speaking country on the continent of Europe whose only export was Pinot Noir Grand Fenwick, who declares war on the United States when a California winery begins producing Pinot Noir Grand Enwick creating an economic crisis in the tiny duchy. Grand Fenwick’s constable, Tully Bascombe, is appointed a Field Marshall and sent to invade the United States and be soundly defeated, on the premise that the United States would then provide economic aid to the tiny nation. But the best laid plans of Prime Minister Bobo go awry when Tully Bascombe arrives in New York during the middle of a bomb drill, captures a scientist, his daughter, an Army general, several New York police officers, and the only prototype of the Q-Bomb, thus winning the war.

The film’s quite hilarious. Sellers plays three roles–the Duchess Gloriana, Prime Minister Bobo, and Constable Tully Bascombe. There’s a Doctor Who connection in the casting of The Mouse that Roared–William Hartnell plays Sellers’ right-hand man, Will Buckley. Leo McKern plays the leader of Grand Fenwick’s loyal opposition.

What occurred to me afterward was what a fantastic setting for a Doctor Who novel or anthology the Duchy of Grand Fenwick would be. (Besides the idea of the first Doctor meeting Will Buckley, that is.) Grand Fenwick, the tiny nation, the underdog of Europe, would surely have some draw for the Doctor. The sweep of history Grand Fenwick experienced, from its founding in the fourteenth century through to the modern day and beyond, might draw the Doctor. And of course, quasi-governmental agencies like UNIT, the Forge, and Torchwood might be interested in the contents of Grand Fenwick’s dungeons. 😉

I’ll be filing this idea away beside the idea of Hermione Granger finding the Necronomicon in Hogwart’s library. 🙂

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