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Literature / The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass

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A series of works by British Christian humourist Adrian Plass based on his own day-to-day experiences, depicting a fictionalised version of himself as the main character - a husband and father and member of a Charismatic church perpetually getting caught up in the latest crazes and events, written in the form of a diary. The title is of course a pun on The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole.

It began as a regular magazine column, but has led to several volumes:

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  • The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass Aged 37¾
  • The Horizontal Epistles of Andromeda Veal
  • The Theatrical Tapes of Leonard Thynn
  • The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass, Christian Speaker, aged 45¾
  • The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass On Tour, age far too much to be put on the front cover of a book
  • The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass: The Church Weekend

The main cast besides Plass himself consists of his wife Anne, their son Gerald and Adrian's recovering alcoholic friend Leonard Thynn, but beyond that there are Loads and Loads of Characters.


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Contains examples of:

  • Absurdity Ascendant: Often.
    • "Buy a tree-frog and call it Kaiser Bill"
    • Richard Cook's "pictures", which he claims are heavenly revelations, tend to fall into this area, such as a vision of a jellyfish named Stewart nailed to a dartboard with a dagger.
  • Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: Two characters in a sketch written by Gerald in Theatrical Tapes are prone to this.
    Richard (complaining the sketch was unrealistic): All that stuff about acronyms was completely O.T.T.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: At one point Adrian becomes obsessed with giving a talk with three alliterative points because it's all the rage, but after coming up with "Humility" and "Holiness", is stuck. He unwisely turns to Gerald and Leonard for help, who suggest Henry Cooper, Haggis, Horstead Keynes...
  • Brick Joke: Fairly early on in the first book, Adrian has the thought "Buy a tree frog and name it Kaiser Bill" appear in his head, and writes it down just in case it was sent by God. Towards the end of the book, Gerald is having a conversation with some visitors from the church about the various embarrassing mistakes Adrian's made during previous parts of the book. Anne comes in saying she's discovered this note in Adrian's handwriting while doing the washing, and Adrian decides to change the subject by insisting she read it in front of everyone...
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  • Embarrassing First Name:
    • Stenneth Flushpool, who was so named because his parents couldn't agree on whether to call him Kenneth or Stanley and the hard-of-hearing vicar as the christening heard the medley as a portmanteau.
    • Vladimir Spool, a very English Anglican vicar, so named because his father was a Russian vodka salesman.
  • God Is Good: "God is nice and he likes us."
  • Happily Married: Bill and Kitty Dove.
  • Henpecked Husband: Stenneth Flushpool.
  • Hurricane of Puns: The entire book "The Horizontal Epistles of Andromeda Veal".
  • Hypocritical Humor: Lots of the laughs in the book (especially those produced by the title character) come from this sort of humor.
  • Irony: Situational version - Edwin Burlesford and Richard Cook are very different, with Edwin being the relaxed and wise liberal christian and Richard being sincere but self-serious fundamentalist. Guess who the Elder is. (Edwin, though this is partly due to the difference between Christians in the UK and US)
  • Just for Pun: A bad one that Adrian is completely unable to understand at the time, and only gets the explanation from Gerald in return for explaining how Everett Glander was converted by Norman Wisdom in a pub. Adrian had tried to mend Percy Brain's leaking roof but didn't have enough bits of slate. Gerald had called it "a futile gesture". few-tile
  • Looped Lyrics: Bad News for the Devil's song "Peace Will Come" which consists of two verses, the first verse consisting of "peace will come" and the second of "peace has come."
  • Malaproper: Andromeda Veal, about everyone and everything. Other characters also have their moments, such as Leonard Thynn mistaking "generic term" for "geriatric tern" while discussing types of curry, and then assuming that an Indian restaurant serves 'elderly seagull done in the tandoori style' as a dish. I
  • Noodle Incident: We never get a satisfactory explanation for why Leonard keeps borrowing Adrian's cat, though we are told that it involves a reel-to-reel tape recorder. In a later book, Leonard explains that he just wanted an excuse to come round.
  • No Sense of Humor: Richard and Doreen Cook and Mrs. Flushpool at least until she mellows.
    • Not So Above It All: Richard Cook did find the Tree Frog named Kaiser Bill hilarious, and he even made a small reference to his Aardvark dream during a later rehearsal for the play. (Something that Gerald finds difficult to believe).
  • Overly Preprepared Gag:
    • Gerald's pun about wanting to go on a boat to Rotarua, New Zealand, with a girl called Rhoda who is both more angry and insolent than another girl called Rhoda, and whose task is to decide what order the oarsmen should do their work in. The redder ruder Rhoda wrote a rota to row to Rotarua.
    • In "Theatrical Tapes", there is an argument about whether the title 'Chairman' for Adrian is sexist and they decide to cut it down to the non gender specific 'Chair', which a confused Mrs Thynn keeps giving as 'Wardrobe'. Then, Stenneth and Victoria Flushpool show up and Stenneth is asked to read out part of a poem about being a lion.
      Ann: If we had Stenneth, Victoria and you all in a line, we could do The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe!
  • Pungeon Master: Frank Braddock claims that he is certain to go to Heaven because he is a member of the Marylebone Cricket Club. "My M.C.C. membership card guarantees me entry at any time, and at all times, to The Lords Enclosure."
  • Quirky Household: The Plasses and Leonard (who might as well live there).
  • Real Dreams Are Weirder:
    • Richard Cook claims his dreams are prophetic visions, but generally undercuts them by including something that makes it clear it isn't one. For example, after talking about a dream involving God and Aardvarks which he interprets as a call from God to not overspend on the play, he casually adds that "after a short further dream about getting into a bath full of Smarties wearing a Batman costume, I woke up".
    • In an earlier book he had a vision of a jellyfish called Stewart nailed to a dartboard, which Adrian ends up being forced to write a poem about.
  • Ridiculous Procrastinator: Adrian at times.
  • Scrabble Babble: Thynn at one point insists that "vquex" is a valid Scrabble word, claiming it's a cross between a ferret and a giraffe. Gerald objects on the grounds that the mating act between the two would be physically impossible.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • Plass writes his fictionalised version as hapless and slow on the uptake. This was lampshaded in a Mind Screw moment when the fictional Plass got to see a production of The Theatrical Tapes of Leonard Thynn (which was of course written about the same version of the character) and was insulted by his portrayal (as was Thynn, who was offended at being played as a Cloudcuckoolander).
    • All the books are effectively a series of "Take that, us!" about Christians (one of which, if read the top of this page, Adrian is).
  • Significant Anagram: Not plot-important, but Gerald is always coming up with them as a Running Gag. Some examples:
    • "Gerald Coates" = "God's Ale Crate"
    • "Billy Graham" = "Big Rally Ham"
    • "Inflated Ego" = "Feel a Tin God" (Though this one was given to Adrian after he was feeling overly pleased with himself about something and it seemed to work)
  • Single-Issue Wonk: Stephanie Wigeon only ever seems to say one thing (that a church is a group of people not a building) and keeps telling people it as though she's never said it before.
  • Spoonerism: After having accidentally signed up to give a children's talk, Adrian immediately puts his foot on it by starting with a spoonerism-
    Adrian: Once upon a time there was a crappy little gab called Hordon - I mean a happy little crab called Gordon!
  • Wham Episode: Many, given that the real life Adrian finds it important to have emotional moments in his books
    • Adrian comes to look past his own problems when Cool Old Lady Kitty Dove passes away.
    • Gerald gets depression after being heavily guilted by a pastor, but when that pastor arrives to give a guest sermon in their church Andromeda Veal causes an accidental riot and Gerald feels a lot better.
    • Victoria Flushpool realises that she's not very likable and decides to change for the better.
  • What's a Henway?: Gerald loves (especially) setting Richard up for these.
  • World of Pun
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