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Literature / Englishman

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A surreal comedy series, written in script form by the mysterious Ball Brothers and released on the websites and More information can be found here [1] and the first season's episodes can be found here [2].

The show follows the all-English hero Englishman, and his sidekick Welshman, as They Fight Crime! and have improbable adventures across the world, and indeed beyond. The genre is approximately halfway between superheroics and James Bond, though often harder to define. The humour is, of course, very British.


Contains examples of:

  • Alien Abduction — In the episode "Englishman Vs Global Warming The Alien Invasion", it is revealed that aliens somehow abducted Abraham Lincoln in the 19th century. He returns to Earth...and, owing to an obscure legal loophole, becomes President again to serve out the rest of his second term.
  • America Saves the Day — Played with. Even though Englishman always saves the day, he actually does so on behalf of the USA, and lives there. This is alright, because it is revealed that in the "Englishworld" George Washington secretly made a deal with George III and the USA is in fact still part of the British Empire. However, Britain itself isn't.
  • Anti-Hero — Englishman is cheerfully involved with financial scams, drug smuggling, etc. on the side and it is often implied that he or his ancestors are responsible for virtually all historical disasters.
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  • Argentina Is Nazi-Land — Parodied in one of the first episodes.
  • Author Filibuster — A sequence in which Englishman rants about the hypocrisy of the international community's failure to recognise Somaliland.
  • Badass Normal — Englishman is an interesting case; theoretically a perfectly normal human, he nonetheless seems completely immune to poisoning and treats being shot as a minor inconvenience. This may be due to a comedically exaggerated form of The Stiff Upper Lip.
  • Battle Butler — Englishman's butler, called Butler, who occasionally moonlights as a supervillain known as The Butler. No-one ever seems to notice any possible connection.
  • British Brevity — Interestingly, for a show about an Englishman written by two Englishmen, averted. Each season has 26 episodes, American-style, and it is revealed in the episode "Englishman Vs The Mob Again" that the show is supposedly being made for an American network - which wants to cancel it. So Englishman gets the Mafia to intimidate them into un-cancelling it.
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  • Cool Car — Englishman's Bentley, which he calls "The Bentmobile", oblivious of any negative implications. Its absurd fuel consumption means that it is actually designed to stop and drill for oil when necessary.
  • Cowardly Sidekick — Welshman, somewhat justified in that he usually ends up taking the damage for Englishman.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming — Nearly all episodes are titled "Englishman Vs X". Even when X is not the villain, as in the Christmas episode, "Englishman Vs Christmas".
  • Mummy — The recurring villain Tutankhamun, who later becomes a televangelist.
  • Negative Continuity — The writers love this. Englishman has a Multiple-Choice Past, for instance. More radical is the case of his sidekick - usually Welshman, he occasionally changes to the different character Scotsman for a single camera shot with no explanation. In the episode "Englishman Vs The Butler", he does mention that he is temporarily replacing Welshman with Colonial Man - however, Colonial Man changes actor with every camera shot, representing a different British colony each time. This is particularly noticeable when he goes from apartheid South Africa to Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed — Names of politicians and celebrities are usually disguised either with blatant Spoonerisms ("Blony Tair", "Jichael Mackson") or punning alterations ("Hilarity Clinton", "Vladimir Putout", "Mahmoud Armoured Dinner Jacket").
  • Only Sane Man — In earlier episodes, Welshman. Eventually he seems to give up and accept the wackiness of the "Englishworld".
  • Recycled IN SPACE! — "Englishman Vs Moonbase Hitler" includes, among other things, a sequence with Englishman flying a Spitfire in space. Of course, the wings split apart to make it an "X-Spitfire", so that's all right then.
  • Retraux — The Christmas special "Weekend At Mernie's" features a segment where Welshman watches a TV show called Britman and Hootsmon, which is both a parody/homage to the 1960s Batman (1966) TV show and a Retraux version of Englishman itself.
  • Ruritania and similar tropes such as Darkest Africa and Qurac — neatly averted. With the exception of Hitleria, all the action takes place in real countries, usually fairly well researched.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler — The episode "Englishman Vs Moonbase Hitler" involves fighting Nazis in space. Some of Hitler's more outlandish ground-bound schemes also qualify.
  • Supervillain Lair — Unusually, Englishman's villains appear to be itinerant while he himself has a permanent (and over-ground) base, the Englishmansion in New York and later the English Castle in San Francisco.
  • Take That! — Mostly aimed at Family Guy.
  • Thematic Rogues Gallery — Most obviously Frenchman, his French counterpart and nemesis.
  • Those Wacky Nazis — In a comedic exaggeration of the 'Nazis flee to South America' story, the "Englishworld" has an actual Amazonian country called Hitleria, which is populated entirely by Nazi exiles. It is often said to have mysterious cities of gold, thus skilfully combining El Dorado myths with tales of hidden Nazi gold.
  • Western Terrorists — The episode "Englishman Vs The Axis of Amish Fundamentalism" spoofs this trope by having Englishman fight a conspiracy of Amish suicide bombers, whose bombs consist of bundles of logs with a sundial attached.
  • Whole Plot ReferenceThe Movie is a close adaptation of The Blues Brothers, and other episodes have looser references - such as Back to the Future in "Englishman Vs. Time Travel".
  • Zany Scheme — Most of the plans by both Englishman and the bad guys qualify, for example Frenchman's plot to steal the Statue of Liberty to restore the glory of France.


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