NTom64: You can't see it, but my fist is wearing a monocle!
Start with one cup(pa) tea. Mix in a hearty helping of posh, formal, excessively polite-sounding Received Pronunciation accent, or at least how you think it is pronounced. No one (except those pesky British people) will notice. Add some Stock British Phrases for seasoning, wot, wot. Throw it all in a top hat and stir with a monocle over low heat for the 1000+ years in the history of The British Empire. Turn it out carefully, give him a name like "Sir Nigel Featherstonehaugh-Smythe",note , add a fancy prefix or suffix such as "the (Most) Honorable", "III" or "Esquire", and Bob's your uncle, you have yourself the Britishiest British man to ever "cheerio" his way into the media-viewing-public's home. And no one (except those pesky British people) will be any the wiser that you're mixing dialectal phrases willy-nilly or throwing British slang around like Frisbees.
The Quintessential British Gentleman is a stock character commonly found in decidedly not-so-British works, who encapsulates everything that non-Brits (most commonly Americans) think of when they think of that funny little island across the pond. Much like the Eaglelander is a Flanderized American, this chap is the Flanderized Brit. Common characteristics include:
- A top hat or bowler ("derby") and a High-Class Glass.
- A morning coat and striped trousers, or (if on his country estate) a tweed suit, usually with matching flat cap and possibly with plus-fours instead of slacks.
- Is a Gentleman and a Scholar who loves intellectual pursuits, often Adventurous Archaeology.
- Lots of tea, and occasionally crumpets.
- Being either extremely polite, even-tempered and gentlemanly, or so snobbish, pompous and arrogant only the equally snobby can stand him.
- Using phrases such as "pip pip," "cheerio," and "guv'nor," even though these combine expressions from completely different dialects and from opposite ends of the class spectrum.
- A Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe, often in the Calabash style (the style that erroneous stereotypes of Sherlock Holmes made famousnote ).
- A crazy mustache. If other facial hair is present, it will be a short and well-trimmed beard.
- Making lots of references to the Queen (God Save Her!), or the King (God Save Him!) for anachronism points.
- An autoharp or harpsichord playing in the background.
- A cane or umbrella, preferably with a fancifully shaped silver (or silvery) head, which will often be held in the crook of an arm.
He's not always a product of Critical Research Failure. Sometimes, just as an Eaglelander is a gentle poking-fun-at of Americans, so too might this fellow be a humorous, good-natured jab at English — and done well, of course, even the Brits find it funny. In fact, many of the works listed were created by Britons, casually playing with their own stereotypes (Britons, generally speaking, are good at Self-Deprecation). Some Britons really do act like this, if not in everyday life, then at least recreationally. Because it's funny.
Compare with that Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist from Eagleland, and that bush-hatted fellow from the Land Down Under. By the way, has nothing to do with the Lord British Postulate, but plenty to do with Stiff Upper Lip. The Q.B.G is probably helpless without The Jeeves. See also the Gentleman Snarker, which is what the Quintessential British Gentleman probably was in his wild youth.
Real British Gentlemanly behaviour is more subtle than speech or dress, involving the virtues of hospitality, rationality and temperance, the avoidance of irrational extremes, devotion to 'things held dear', rebellion against corruption, and courageous composure in the face of adversity. (However, some of these - like extreme composure - are sometimes seen in trope form). The fact that old school British upper class men were expected to be athletic while young, and highly competetive or even domineering, is usually left out of fictional descriptions of the type. Female examples are likely to be an English Rose.
- Hetalia: Axis Powers: England does act this way sometimes, but he also has a short temper, foul mouth, and drinks, although it should be pointed out that being a gentleman doesn't necessarily equal amiability and huge amounts of tolerance — many a gentleman is also a Gentleman Snarker, and not suffering fools gladly goes hand in hand with this trope. Even the most impeccable gentleman will still occasionally pepper his dialogue with a few well placed "bloody's" and "buggers!". One of his image songs is called "Absolutely Invincible British Gentleman", which is ironically a very modern rock song, complete with Epic Riffs.
- Hellsing: There are composed and polite gentlemen in expensive suits around the table as the enemies close in on them... in the end Sir Integra proved to be the strongest gentleman of them all.
- Negi Springfield of Negima! Magister Negi Magi is a proto-version of this (at least at first), complete with tea. He seems to be drifting in a different direction. After becoming more of a Shonen hero (though not quite a standard one), however, he will still turn a diplomatic talk into a duel of honor between him and The Dragon over an argument about tea.
- Asterix: In Asterix and the Britons, every Briton in an Iron Age version of this, complete with rowing skills, manicured lawns, wearing tweed and magnificent mustaches for their Stiff Upper Lips, and of course decrying the fact that their adversaries are decidedly not gentlemen. That's just the original French version; the English translation takes it Up to Eleven by having every sentence end in "wot?" and other Self-Deprecation jokes.
- In A Bridge Too Far, a German officer walks up to the beleaguered British paratroopers under a flag of truce, and says "Be reasonable, gentlemen. Things cannot carry on like this. We need to discuss surrender terms." A British officer spurns him with contempt. "Absolutely not! We simply do not have the facilities to take you all prisoner!"
- Sir Henry Vining in Five Weeks in a Balloon (1962) is an upper class twit/snob version.
- The Beatles encounter one during their train ride in A Hard Day's Night. For context, the Beatles are in a cabin on a train when the QBG enters and adjusts the window to his liking without so much as acknowledging them; in the ensuing argument, the gentleman insists he has rights due to frequent usage of the train.
John: Knock it off, Paul, you can't win with his sort. After all, it's his train, isn't it, Mister?Man: And don't take that tone with me, young man. I fought the war for your sort.Ringo: I bet you're sorry you won.
- In Wonder Woman (2017) has Sir Patrick Morgan, the Reasonable Authority Figure among the British High Command, with his cane, suit, and flustered politeness. This becomes somewhat dissonant when he's revealed to be Ares but keeps looking like that, including in the flashback to Ancient Greece. Even when he reshapes molten metal into armor so he looks like the classic comic book version of Ares, his huge mustache is still visible beneath the helm.
- Sometimes modern American and British forum posters poke fun at the more conservative parts of the Isles by making them exaggeratedly conservative, like in the following joke:
Things to do after buying yourself a classic Triumph:Grow and wax a mustache.Drive the Triumph to a poorly lit, dark-wood-paneled private club in Kensingtonworthshire or North Haddockbrooktonworth.At the private club, sit in a deep leather chair and make pithy conversation with the other club members while using some kind of obscure tobacco product and sipping either tea or scotch.Hold forth on a variety of topics, including the day's hunt, the newest radical in Parliament, hand-tooled shotguns, the laughably gauche Americans, the state of the Empire, and the relative merits of the Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire.
- Or the following:
Do you want to buy yourself a Rover? It comes with a flat cap, pipe and a whippet.
- Captain Cameron of The Alice Network is a Scotsman who habitually wears tweed and smokes pipes. Eve even lampshades this, calling him a Quintessential British Gentleman. He's also a gold-star gentleman: He's honorable, kind, and wouldn't take advantage of Eve unless she tried really, really hard...
- Granted, he's only around college age, but Arthur Deering in Along The Winding Road is even described as "too British for [his] own good."
- Phileas Fogg, the protagonist of Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days, of course. His favourite hangout is a gentlemen's club in London.
- Sir Henry Merrivale, from the Carter Dickson books which spoof Lord Peter by creating an aristocrat who is nothing like Lord Peter, except for the 'brilliant detective' part.
- Sir Leigh Teabing from The Da Vinci Code. Not that it stopped him from being evil Teabing? "Teabing" is an anagram of "Baigent." The Authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, Michael Baigent and Richard Liegh (notice anything?) sued Dan Brown for ripping off a theory presented in the afore-mentioned book by them for use in The Da Vinci Code. They lost.
- Warden Chandler of The Dresden Files, in addition to being a bona fide badass (he single-handedly guards a door usually protected by five people), is an English Sharp-Dressed Man and Deadpan Snarker fond of a Spot of Tea and wields a Classy Cane rather than the usual staff. He once wrote Harry (an American wizard) a letter and randomly capitalized several letters, stating in a postscript, "The language is English. I am English. Therefore, I can do with it what I want, colonial heathen."
- Karl May lived at a time when wealthy British globetrotters were a common trope, so some characters of this type appear in his works. The most well-known examples are Englishman Sir David Lindsay in the Orient Cycle and Scotsman Lord Castlepool in Der Schatz im Silbersee. Lord Castlepool is obsessed with making wagers and travels through the Wild West in search of adventure, paying his guides 50 Dollars per adventure.
- The be-monocled Ronald (or Rupert) Psmith is a recurring character in the comedies of P. G. Wodehouse. A refined gent of wit and eloquence: an eccentric of the first water. (The 'p' is silent, as in 'pshrimp'.) In fact, just about any of the older male characters in Wodehouse's work fit this trope. Bertie Wooster, while still rather young in the books, is a perfect example.
- In the Redwall series, some hares fall underneath this classification, especially the Long Patrol. The author is British though, so this isn't as Flanderized as some other examples.
- Lord Peter Wimsey from the Dorothy L. Sayers books about him.
- Although Sherlock Holmes himself does not really fit this trope, a few of the supporting characters from his stories do, particularly the clients he takes among the upper classes (such as the Duke in "The Adventure of the Priory School").
- Captain Isambard Smith of the Space Captain Smith series of books by Toby Frost is placed neatly between this trope and Richard Sharpe, with a healthy dose of buffoonery thrown in for good measure.
- The Adventures of Slim Goodbody: Inspector Thiamin qualifies: polite, speaking with a British accent—even his haircut screams "British gentleman".
- Giles and Wesley from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and any number of visiting English Watchers. Giles lampshades it right away:
Giles: ...I'm a bit fuzzy, however, on the details. It may be that you can wrest some information from that dread machine.[Everyone stares at him.]Giles: That was a bit... British, wasn't it?Buffy: Welcome to the New World.
- John Oliver (himself British) from the The Daily Show finds one in Britain while covering the royal wedding.
John Oliver: You are the most English thing I have ever seen.
Gentleman: What a curious thing to say...
- The Doctor was always noticeably British (or at least Anglophile) in his tastes and attitudes, but it's arguably the Eighth Doctor from the (American-made) Made-for-TV Movie who comes closest to this trope ("He's... British." "Yes, I suppose I am!"). The Third Doctor, especially when his exile was lifted, also reveled in the trope.
- Peter Davison described the Doctor as being alien, but also an honorary Englishman, which is one of the reasons he settled on a cricket sweater as part of his attire; what could be more British than cricket?
- Bernard Fox also did this very well:
- Version from the UK itself: John Steed from The Avengers, though only after the series was tweaked in an attempt to make it more appealing to American audiences.
- This was done quite a bit on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. For example, in one episode where Geoffrey's long-lost comes to visit (who claims that he has plans to attend Butler School) Carlton becomes fascinated to the point where he begins to imitate the British Gentleman stereotype, bowler hat, pip pips and all.
- Johnathan Quayle Higgins in Magnum, P.I., played by the very Texan John Hillerman.
- Many sketches from Monty Python's Flying Circus parodied the stuffy British stereotype that their parents' generation more closely embodied.
- Our Miss Brooks: A Quintessential British public school principal visits Madison High in the episode "Hello Mr. Chips." Miss Brooks uses him to make Mr. Boynton jealous.
- The Umbrella Academy (2019): Sir Reginald Hargreeves looked and sounded the part. He wore a monocle and formal wear, had dignified facial hair, was titled Sir, spoke in a posh British accent, and had a Stiff Upper Lip that extended to emotional distance from his children. He was also a wealthy Gentleman Adventurer, inventor, and philanthropist who enjoyed the finer things in life.
- Professor Elemental evokes one of these, with a mix of upper crust British accent, adventurer's outfit, Sherlock Holmes pipe and raps about tea and mad science experiments. Sometimes he plays the trope straight for humor, but on "I'm British" he both evokes and subverts it in pride of his culture and country.
- And mustn't forget his frenemy Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer, though he dresses in a more 1920's version of the trope. The two used to have a "beef" in the form of a few dis songs ("A Piece of My Mind" and "Fighting Trousers"), but they seem to get along now.
- The Wayfarers: "Deck the Sheds" is based on the idea that an audience of these is being treated to an Australian version of "Deck the Halls". At first they're enthusiastic about it, with lines like "Spiffing!" After it turns out the song has "Rip a bloody hugey, bonza mate!" instead of the traditional fa-la-la, they're...less wowed.
- Sting's song "Englishman in New York" is basically this trope: the musical. With lyrics like "I don't drink coffee I take tea my dear", "A walking cane here at my side, I take it everywhere I walk" and "Modesty, propriety can lead to notoriety". (Although the song was based on Quentin Crisp, who in Real Life was a touch more of the British eccentric than this trope usually covers.)
- Lord Steven Regal/William Regal. While in WCW as Lord Steven, he had a manager/valet in 1995-1996 who was even named Jeeves.
- CHIKARA has featured Jervis Cottonbelly, who wears a derby, walks with a cane and is very polite and elegant. He also has a mustache, though in his case it's drawn on his mask.
- Averted by, of all people, Chris Adams since, although he was British and did use "Gentleman" as his Red Baron, he did not affect any of the mannerisms associated with this trope.
- Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura (set in a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to Victorian era England) has some characters played up as this to various extent. Franklin Payne is a Gentleman Adventurer with a monocle; Perriman Smythe is a young Gentleman Wizard using a bit of Stock British Phrases, and Garfield Thelonius Remington III, a.k.a. Gar the World's Smartest "Orc" is a Cultured Badass. All three have a fondness of the Earl Grey tea.
- Borderlands 2 has Sir Hammerlock, a comically anachronistic Gentleman Adventurer.
- Dawn of War 2 gives us Lord General Castor, an Officer and a Gentleman who hunts Tyranids for sport, wages bloody wars that end in the death of thousands of Guardsmen, and has a mustache that could conquer a subcontinent.
- Fossil Fighters: Champions has Professor Scatterly, who seems determined to out-British anyone who tries to British his way. (He even sneaks in a few naughty British words.) There's also Rupert, who, while preteen, is on his way to being this.
- Jade Empire: Sir Roderick Ponce von Fontlebottom the Magnificent Bastard is here to educate all of you heathens in the proper manner of wearing trousers, drinking tea, debating, and shooting off overpowered flintlock rifles. His clothing and armor, however, are more Spanish in style.
- Sidney Nettleson from Jagged Alliance. His bio in Jagged Alliance 2 reads: "Whether sharing a Spot of Tea with English bluebloods or putting a .38 slug into an unwanted nuisance, Sidney does everything with poise and dignity. Sidney combines the mannerisms of the upper crust with the lighting quickness of a Wild West gunslinger. Years of avid cricket-playing have also given him a much feared throwing-arm."
- Arlon the Serene from Kid Icarus: Uprising, complete with mustache and monocle.
- League of Legends has the champion Cho'Gath, The Terror of the Void. This horrific monstrosity has a skin that turns him into this. Gentleman Cho'Gath has a top hat, monocle, and a high-class British accent.
- Major Zero in the Metal Gear series is a slightly less blatant example, only hitting a few of the above traits. Subverted, ironically, when he becomes the leader of the Patriots.
- Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi: Uncle Andrew and Grandfather Frank both dress and talk like this.
- Kolorado, the Adventurer Archaeologist in Paper Mario.
- Professor Layton:
- Layton is actually fairly tame... but he is very polite and smart, and he does love his tea. He also stresses — frequently — the correct behavior expected of a gentleman.
- Luke covers the areas of Britishness that Layton can't as well.
- Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure:
- Taken to comical extremes with monocle-wearing, mustache-bearing, tea-guzzling Adventurer Archaeologist protagonist. When he drinks tea, he summons a giant robot to help him as the background briefly changes to an enormous British flag. Yep, this is a Western Widget Series, all right... The Speaking Simlish voice natter that accompanies his dialogue is literally nothing but an endless series of 'pip-pip, cheerio'-style sounds. No words, just raw unadulterated Britishness. The rest of the cast encompasses the various variations on this trope; his archnemesis, for instance, is a Steampunk Willy Wonka lookalike who uses a giant mechanical top hat as his vehicle.
- Henry's sidekick has three legible words in his voice natter. The words are "guv'na", "righto" and "jimeney". The game doesn't just embrace the trope, it dances a waltz with it.
- In Slipstream 5000, Eddy Royce is (or presents himself) as this. Unlike most of the other drivers, he's supposed to be a firm believer in etiquette and civility (although that isn't the same thing as never attacking anyone — that's just part of the game).
- The Street Fighter series has two (of its three male British characters in the series; Birdie is more of a stereotypical British punk): Eagle from the the original Street Fighter, some ports of Street Fighter Alpha 3 and Capcom vs. SNK 2 is a man wearing a dress shirt and suspenders with a moustache who attacks with two clubs. Dudley from Street Fighter III wears a similar costume except with a bow tie and boxing gloves. He is very much like a mixture of Eagle and Balrog in that he is a gentlemanly Brit, but is also a black boxer. With his curly moustache and neat hair, he is definitely the more stereotypical of the two...and he can also somehow drink tea while wearing boxing gloves.
- The last boss, Sir Richard Rose, in the 1991 side scrolling action game Sunset Riders. His two lines of dialogue are "Cheerio, old chap!" and "I say, bit of bad luck."
- Super Mario Odyssey has all of the hat spirits populating the Cap Kingdom, including Cappy, speak like upper-class Britons and use quintessentially British turns of phrase (an NPC in Bonneton remarks that "you've got to keep a stiff upper brim"). Even Cappy's Voice Grunting has an "eh wot?" tone to it, and he sits down with Mario for a cuppa when traveling between worlds. As an added bonus, male hat spirits are shaped like top hats and females are shaped like derbies.
- Captain Ash, from the Timesplitters series.
- Twisp in the Penny Arcade strips. A version that only says one word at a time.
- Ridiculously Human Robot Pintsize from Questionable Content behaves like this when he changes his locale configuration to British.
- Leo's father seems to be one of these in VG Cats. BOLLY!
- England from Scandinavia and the World. BIG suprise. He's a bit more silly than this trope usually goes, but he's proud of his children.
- The Englishman from "Overcompensating" is a parody in this vein of the creator of Scary Go Round, John Allison.
- Sir Reginald Vladimir Gregory Maximilian Postumus Augustus Alexander Nicholas Derby III, known to his friends as Smic, from Jayden and Crusader fits the bill. He's a Quintessential British Gentleman if crossed with The Doctor and a Mad Scientist
- National Cynical Network's "Chap in the Hood" series. A toned-down example, possibly because it was recorded around 4:20.
- Parodied/deconstructed with Englishman, who is in some ways the stereotypical British gentleman as imagined by Americans (he lives in the USA, and fights crime), but the series is written by two Britons. Also, he embodies the darker side of the British upper classes as well, cheerfully trading in slaves, shooting foreigners and so on.
- "The Chap" Magazine is dedicated to these people.
- The Dark Id's Let's Play of Resident Evil 4 makes El Gigante (a mindless giant) into one of these, complete with a photoshopped monocle.
- "GameChap and Bertie" of YouTube fame play off this trope.
- NTom64 of Hellfire Commentaries, as described in the page quote above, is basically MADE of this trope.
- Mr. Green online casino has a series of videos dedicated to this. Here's the first one.
- Retsupurae's take on ElectricalBeast whose accent is so exaggerated it seems fake. "Even British people are saying 'I can't believe how British this guy sounds'."
- The personality of Shattered Glass Grimlock is based on this trope; it was originally a one-shot April Fool's joke, but ended up so popular that it was Defictionalized in-universe, wot.
- The Spiffing Brit invokes this trope often, inviting his viewers to have a nice cup of tea while watching and even mentioning the Empire at several moments.
- Whateley Universe example: Fey's magic tutor Sir Wallace Westmont, who's virtually a Shout-Out to John Steed, down to the bowler and accent. He even has an Action Girl accompanying him to Whateley Academy.
- Played with in the bizarre "Leg Peeing" sketch by The Whitest Kids You Know.
- The titular star of Around the World with Willy Fog.
- Prior to him, there was Phileas Fogg from 1972s Around the World in 80 Days.
- Anti-Cosmo from The Fairly Oddparents speaks in a British Accent, is intellectual, wears a monocle and derby hat, and loves sipping tea. Of course, being an anti-fairy, he's not British. Plus he's doing things For the Evulz.
- Every non-real-life-celebrity British character on Family Guy. Props for also depicting their very real pervy side, though. Notably taken Up to Eleven with The New Yorker employees in "Brian Goes Back To College" through covering pretty much every variety of this trope in a matter of seconds:
Wellesley Shepherdson: ...and this is our writer's lounge where you'll meet some of our contributors: Fielding Wellingtonsworth.Wellingtonsworth: [sipping tea from teacup and saucer] Hello.Shepherdson: Livingston Winstofford.Winstofford: [lights a cigar, wears a monocle, has a large mustache] Yes?Shepherdson: Amelia Bedford-Furthington-Chesterhill.Chesterhill: [smoking a cigarette in a long holder, swills brandy in snifter] Good day.Shepherdson: And James William Bottomtooth.Bottomtooth: [has comical underbite, terrible teeth, speaks unintelligibly]
- Mr. Herriman from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends has a top hat, monocle AND a mustache. However, being imaginary, he's not really British.
- The Scotland Yard police captain in The Inspector "London Derriere" cartoon:
Captain: We'll be delighted to assist you in apprehending your jewel thief, Inspector, but I say, old boy, do put away that gun; we police don't use them here in England. It's against the law and all that, you know!
- Lampooned ruthlessly by the episode, in which the Captain lets his clothes be shot off by a hail of bullets, but when the Inspector fires his own gun, the Captain strikes him over the head with an umbrella and reminds him "No shooting, please." He even takes a punctual 5 o'clock tea break before breaking down the door.
- Lord Monty Fisk from Kim Possible fits the trope to a T in his first appearance before his FaceHeel Turn.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The character Fancypants in the episode "Sweet and Elite". While all of the other upper-class ponies in Canterlot appear to be snobby and elitist, he is revealed to be a very kind, and polite gentleman. He even appreciates Rarity's less-than-fancy friends and the simplistic dress that she made for Twilight Sparkle.
- Ferb's grandpa on Phineas and Ferb, albeit with that show, it's more like a parody of the stereotype than anything else. He has this to say on the trope in the episode "Just Desserts" (while exaggerating his accent):
- "Oh yes, and I'm British, so you think I'm supposed to like bird-watching. Ooh, I'm British, so I'll be in the conservatory with a cup of tea and a crumpet! I'm saying that, ironically, but actually, that sounds quite good. So, I'm going to do that. Ta!"
- Lord Chumley in the Transformers Generation One episode "Prime Target". He even has his own Butler.
"I say, Dinsmore, may I have some tea?"
- Stephen Fry is often placed in this trope in people's minds, something he admits to willingly going along with:
Fry: ...it fits my self image, or at least that image others have of me that I have rather weak-mindedly allowed to become my self image.