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Characters / Drop the Dead Donkey

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Globelink Staff

Gus Hedges

Portrayed by: Robert Duncan
The management speak spouting 'hands-off' chief executive at Globelink News, Gus constantly reminds his staff "I'm not here." If only. Constantly meddling with broadcasts and bulletins to ensure their proprietor comes out on top, Gus has no real friends at the office and is often shown to be desperately lonely.

  • Beleaguered Assistant: To Sir Royston Merchant.
  • Break the Haughty: When events begin to get on top of him, such as the Prime Minister's impending visit.
  • The Dog Bites Back: To Sir Royston in the last episode, but his epic rant is cut short.
  • Jerkass Woobie: A complete prat, but deeply pitiable.
  • Manipulative Bastard: In several episodes he shows that he is quite competent in getting the employees to accept pay cuts or dropping stories he doesn't want to see broadcast.
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  • Neologizer: His poke like this almost to the point of unintelligibility as part of his "management speak". The character was a parody of all the phrase-coining 90s managers who seemed to believe making up new expressions would change the workplace. Sadly for Gus, it never worked.
  • Smug Snake
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Often shown as a deeply lonely, insecure individual whose attempts to reach out to his colleagues are met with bafflement or frustration.
  • The Un-Favourite: To his brother Julian.
  • Yes-Man: A bona fide kiss-ass.


George Dent

Portrayed by: Jeff Rawle
The put-upon editor of Globelink, George is constantly beset by problems from his staff, his manipulative wife, his borderline-psychotic daughter Deborah, and his own ever increasing mystery illnesses. You wouldn't be mistaken to think there're invertebrates with more backbone than him.


Alex Pates

Portrayed by: Haydn Gwynne
George's second, the assistant editor (who frequently does most of the legwork). Put on a Bus between series two and three.

Helen Cooper

Portrayed by: Ingrid Lacey
Brought in to replace Alex, she quickly attracts the attention of both George and Dave, only to reveal she's actually a lesbian.

Damien Day

Portrayed by: Stephen Tompkinson
Sensationalist field reporter, always willing to embellish the truth in his reports, often to the detriment and frequent injury of his cameraman.

Dave Charnley

Portrayed by: Neil Pearson
Ladies man, particularly if the lady is married to another staff member, Dave frequently finds himself in debt to various creditors due to his gambling problems.

Henry Davenport

Portrayed by: David Swift
The respected older anchorman at Globelink, Henry is constantly frustrated at the antics of 'pre-pubescent holograms' in politics and the media business. He has a particularly acidic relationship with fellow anchor Sally Smedley.

  • Bald of Awesome: Averted, he looks worse without his terrible hairpiece than with it.
  • Friendly Enemy: By the end of the series, he's this with Sally (although he would never admit to the "friendly" part).
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Dave.
  • Kavorka Man: Likely due to him being a famous newsreader.
  • Large Ham: Seems to approach life as if he was on stage.
  • Pet the Dog: After Sally has a miscarriage, he checks that no one is watching before crossing over and making a sincere apology. Averted for laughs another time when he lays into Gus for leading Sally on into believing he was romantically interested in her when he was only using her as practice for another date, though he was more angry at him for making him feel sympathy to her.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Eloquent, posh and swears like a sailor.

Sally Smedley

Portrayed by: Victoria Wicks
Part of a new wave of attractive but untalented new personnel, Sally is calm and reassuring on camera, but off-camera is vacuous and selfish, disliked by most of her colleagues, particular Henry.

  • Brainless Beauty: Not the smartest by any stretch of the imagination.
  • Break the Haughty: Many an episode features other characters attempting to do this to her.
  • The Chew Toy: In later series, usually gets humiliated Once an Episode.
  • Friendly Enemy: With Henry (although, like Henry, she would never admit to the "friendly" part).
  • Gold Digger: In the last few episodes of the series, she hooks up with a wealthy but extremely controlling businessman, who's a complete ass to her to say the least. Though, she only goes through with it due to his weak heart and good chance of dropping dead at any moment.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Selfish, unpleasant, homophobic and egotistical, but once you find out about her childhood she gets a bit more sympathetic.
  • Really Gets Around: Particularly with lorry drivers.
  • Stepford Smiler: Is implied to be a deeply sad person underneath.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: After her miscarriage.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: During her brief stint as a Christian.

Joy Merryweather

Portrayed by: Susannah Doyle
The incredibly effective PA for Globelink, Joy is, however, a borderline sociopath with a tendency to enact creative revenge plots on those who slight her.

  • Characterisation Marches On: Is merely cynical and surly in her debut in series 2, however from series 3 onward she's much more vindictive and violent.
  • Comedic Sociopathy
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: With Dave during her Gladiators training, and with Vivian the artist. Both involve the men using her for their own purposes, which naturally doesn't end well.
  • Freudian Excuse: Lived with an alcoholic father and a drug addict mother.
  • Ironic Name: Joy Merryweather, she's anything but her namesake. Even lampshaded by Dave.
  • Jerk With A Heartof Gold: Hidden very deeply, she takes care of her homeless brother who treats her with nothing but abuse.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Is violent, cynical, vindictive and borderline sociopathic but considering how crappy her childhood and even her adult life is it's hard not to feel sorry for her.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Sometimes with Dave and Helen.


Portrayed by: Andy Hamilton
Damien's cameraman.

Recurring Characters

Sir Royston Merchant

Portrayed by: Roger Hammond
The new owner of Globelink News, a terrifying, corrupt figure who owns much of the British media.


Portrayed by:
George's often mentioned wife, who proceeds to put him through hell before demanding a divorce and taking most of his possessions.

Deborah Dent

Portrayed by: Louisa Milwood-Haigh
George's out of control teenage daughter.

Roy Merchant Jr.

Portrayed by: David Troughton
Sir Royston's only son, he is sent in in the final series to assess whether the business is worth saving.


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