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    November 2022
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    Scottish Fictional Characters

    There are many books devoted to the subject of Scottish invention and discovery, as well as scores of websites listing Scottish inventions and discoveries with varying degrees of science, but one category caught my attention: the invention of fictional characters.

    As per Wikipedia, more than forty (40) fictional characters were invented by Scots. Here are just a few of them:

    • Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
    • Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
    • Long John Silver, David Belfour and Jekyll and Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
    • Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
    • James Bond by Ian Fleming

    The latter, James Bond, was given a Scottish background, a mixed parentage, a Scottish father and Swiss mother by Ian Fleming, himself of Scottish descent, after he was impressed by Sean Connery’s performance. This background gave the character a colonial perspective, being an outsider in England. [Wikipedia]

    Let’s face it, the greatest benefit of the whole espionage battle of the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s was some great storytelling. Spy dramas make for great reading, and translate well into captivating movies.

    novels_james_bond_dr_no_ian_flemingThe first man to realize this — at least, the first one to be successful at it — was Ian Fleming, creator of the James Bond novels. Fleming himself was actually involved in the British Intelligence Services during the Second World War, and was one of the pioneers in developing a new team of soldiers, trained in the black arts of intelligence gathering.

    These soldiers were British commandos with an extra set of skills surrounding covert entry and search techniques: lock-picking, surveillance, stealth, safe-cracking and silent or unarmed combat. It was these commandos that would eventually lead to much of the tradecraft used by MI6, the CIA, the KGB, and the rest of the intelligence services.

    So, while “real” spies like to pooh-pooh the James Bond novels as being unrealistic, and having little similarity to the real world of espionage, those officers should keep in mind that Bond’s creator was one of the men responsible for the intelligence world they live in, whether they like it or not.



    As you know, my passion of topical stamp collecting always trigger my curiosity and I wondered if these great Scottish fictional characters had made it to a commemoration on worldwide postage stamps. Here’s what I discovered 🙂

    Fictional Espionage, mystery plots and adventurest &

    France postage stamp Chateau de Chantilly


    A 1969 French stamp (Scott 1234) depicts Chateau de Chantilly, in the town of the same name.

    The chateau was featured as the supposed California estate of villain Hugo Drax in 1979’s Moonraker where James Bond investigates the mid-air theft of a space shuttle, and discovers a plot to commit global genocide.




    In 2008, Great Britain issued postage stamps to celebrate the centenary of the birth of author Ian Fleming and the 50th anniversary of the publication of Dr No – the first Bond novel to be filmed. The first James Bond story to be published was Casino Royale in 1953.



    Redonda, a country not catalogued in Scott, issued for Easter 1984 a souvenir sheet depicting Goofy as Sherlock Holmes.  Many stamps were issued featuring Peter Pan. Above you can see one from the USA.

    In 1994, for the 100th Anniversary of the death of Robert Louis Stevenson, Cook Islands issued a set of 4 stamps commemorating some of his most popular novels : Treasure Island, David Balfour, Dr. Jeckyll and Mr.Hyde and Kidnapped.

    Would like to see more Scottish fictional characters? Click on the link of the article below and meet Harry Potter and Inspector Rebus!

    From Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter to Toad of Toad Hall and Peter Pan, many of the world’s most memorable literary characters were brought to life in Scotland. We take a look at ten of the best below.

    Read full article: Great fictional characters from Scotland 



    PS:  Further references to Scottish Inventions and Discoveries

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