Theses are the show notes and errata for episode 26, “The Long Dark Mr Teatime of the Soul”, featuring guest Michael Williams discussing the 1996 Discworld novel Hogfather.
Michael’s story about his 2014 interview with Pratchett ended up on the cutting room floor, but you can watch the interview itself in its entirety on YouTube below. (Subscribers can also hear his behind the scenes story about it in the third episode of our bonus podcast Ook Club.)
Notes and Errata
- We’ve previously mentioned the steam roller story back in episode 6, but in brief: Terry stipulated in his will that his hard drives containing unfinished manuscripts be destroyed by being crushed under a vintage steam roller. The request was carried out in August 2017 at the Dorset Steam Fair.
- Liz has said “time is a flat circle” many times, beginning way back in episode 5. It’s a popular meme derived from a scene in the first season of True Detective, based on the idea of “eternal return”.
- To put Douglas Adams‘ death in Internet context, he died two months after Wikipedia was launched, and a year or more before the arrival of Facebook, YouTube or Reddit.
- The Watch TV series is a Narrative production for BBC America, currently filming in South Africa. It will launch in 2020.
- Mary Poppins is the magical nanny protagonist of eight books by English-Australian author P. L. Travers, beginning with Mary Poppins in 1934. Mary arrives on the East wind and is characterised as being stern and vain, but her magic wins over the children of the Banks family. She was famously portrayed by Julie Andrews in the 1964 Disney movie musical, which Travers herself did not like. Emily Blunt took over for the 2018 sequel.
- Back in January 2019, the official Wizarding World twitter account really did reveal that wizards used magic for sanitation before they had plumbing. You can find it here.
- In Victorian England, governesses occupied a weird middle ground, being neither a member of the family nor a servant. So it’s possible a noblewoman might take up the role.
- The phrase “unstuck in time” is used to describe the plight of Billy Pilgrim, the protagonist of Kurt Vonnegut’s 1969 anti-war novel Slaughterhouse-Five. Pilgrim experiences some of his life out of order.
- We previously mentioned Hyacinth Bucket – who insists her surname is pronounced “bouquet” – in episode 24. Hyacinth is a wannabe socialite and the main character in the sit-com Keeping Up Appearances.
- Dementors are magical creatures in the Harry Potter universe. They are soulless phantoms that suck the joy and sanity out of their victims. The wizard prison Azkaban employs them as guards.
- Thanos, “the mad titan”, is an antagonist from Marvel Comics. He is famously the main villain in Avengers: Infinity War, based loosely on the Infinity War comic book series. In the film, Thanos seeks to destroy half of the life in the universe, ostensibly to restore balance and improve the quality of life for those who survive. An internet meme suggested he was right to do so.
- “The Fat Man” is an alias used by Sidney Greenstreet’s character, Walter Gutman, in the archetypal 1941 film noir movie The Maltese Falcon.
- Adam is a part-human, part-demon and part-cybernetic creature created by Maggie Walsh as part of the Initiative’s super soldier program in season four of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- In 1993, Sydney won the bid to host the 2000 Summer Olympics. At the announcement ceremony, IOC President Juan Antonia Samaranch firs fumbled with the envelope, and then uttered “The winner is Sydney“, his slightly accented pronunciation becoming almost as famous as the reaction of the NSW Premier (not least because of this segment on The Late Show).
- Platform 9 3/4 is the magically hidden platform at Kings Cross Station in London that wizards use to board the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter universe.
- The Death of Rats first appeared during Reaper Man though his first proper role was in Soul Music.
- The original Helvetica T-shirt, featuring the names of the four Beatles, was designed by Experimental Jetset in 2001. They have been many, many parodies and homages since.
- Pork products clearly don’t bother the Hogfather – as we failed to point out, he traditionally leaves them as gifts for everyone else!
- Reindeer are eaten in many Scandinavian countries, as well as in Alaska, Finland and Canada. We don’t think they’re ever left out for Santa though.
- Pigs can and have eaten humans, and this is a famous method of corpse disposal in fiction. Perhaps the most notable (and gruesome) explanation is by the character Brick Top in Guy Ritchie’s 2000 film Snatch, though it was also a method favoured by Al Swearengen in the television series Deadwood.
- The phrase “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” comes originally from an 1897 editorial in The New York Sun newspaper, written by Francis Pharcellus Church in response to a letter from eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon. It is now the most reprinted editorial in the English language.
- The Santa Clause is a 1994 comedy film starring Tim Allen as Scott Calvin, a divorced toy salesman who accidentally kills Santa and finds he is then obliged to take over his role.
- ELIZA was created by Joseph Weizenbaum in the mid 1960s at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. It was meant as a parody of indirect psychology and to show the limitations of human-machine interaction, but instead became one of the first in a long line of “chatterbot” programs and was seen as very lifelike. You can easily google up a live online version and try it yourself.
- Ridcully’s curses manifested during the events of Reaper Man, when Death’s temporary retirement causes an excess of life.
- Titivillus is discussed in “Typo Demom“, episode 106 of Helen Zaltzman’s language podcast The Allusionist.
- As Liz mentions, the “tittle” is a diacritic mark most commonly seen in English over the lowercase i and j.
- As many listeners have now told us, YMPA stands for “Young Men’s Pagan Association”, as mentioned in a book we’ve not yet re-read for the podcast, The Light Fantastic. The longer acronym YMRCIGBSA appears later on towels stolen by Albert for use in Death’s Domain.
- “Good King Wenceslas” is a popular English Christmas Carol written in 1853 by John Mason Neale, set to the music of a 13th-century Spring carol, “Tempus adest floridum”. The king – a martyr and saint who died in the 10th century – sees a poor man and decides to personally deliver food, wine and fuel to him.
- The Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series was preceded by a film in 1992, starring Kirsty Swanson, Luke Perry, Pee Wee Herman and Donald Sutherland.
- Boggarts are creatures from the Harry Potter universe that change shape into the thing their victims fear most.
- In Tooth Fairy, The Rock plays a tough ice hockey player nicknamed “the tooth fairy” because he often knocks out rival players’ teeth, but his anti-social behaviour – especially towards his girlfriends’ son – leads to him being forced to serve community service time as a tooth fairy.
- In our world, the idea that you should believe in a God just in case he’s real is known as Pascal’s Wager, after French philosopher Blaise Pascal.
- We previously mentioned Diana Wynne Jones’ 1986 fantasy novel Howl’s Moving Castle in episode 17.
- Klaus Terber’s The Settlers of Catan (now known as Catan), the most famous European-style boardgame and one of the first to succeed in English-speaking markets, was first published in Germany in 1995.
- While William Hartnell does indeed address the Doctor Who audience in “The Feast of Steven” – coincidentally the feast day featured in “Good King Wenceslas” – it seems this may have been planned and a BBC tradition at the time for dramas broadcast on Christmas Day.
- A “centurion“, as we’ve mentioned previously, is a drinking “game” attempted by Australian students in which participants drink one shot of beer every minute for 100 minutes. Since this equates to more than nine pints in less than two hours, we do not recommend it. (A half-centurion is 50 shots either in 50 or 100 minutes.)
- A Country Practice was a popular soap about the fictional rural NSW town of Wandin Valley, focussing on the doctors and nurses who worked at the local base hospital. It ran on Channel 7 from 1981 to 1994.
- Lift Off was a popular television program for young children on the ABC which ran from 1992 to 1995. It featured a mix of live action, animation and puppetry. “EC” was a magical rag doll with a wooden head intended to be a blank slate and thus relatable to “every child”, though the initials initially stood for “Elizabeth and Charlie”, the names given to the doll by two of the children in the show.
- You can watch Graham Chapman’s funeral service on YouTube.
YMPA = Young Men’s Pagan Association (The Light Fantastic).