Site Search:
The John Buchan Society    

No 29/Autumn 2003


Scrapbook: photo of Lord Tweedsmuir at an Alberta agricultural fair, and photograph of a map on display at Haig's headquarters in the First World War

Science and the state. An address given by his Excellency the Governor-General, Lord Tweedsmuir, at the University of British Columbia, March 1939

The Busy B's: poem by Charles Graves, 1915

John Buchan and the Cotswolds, by Douglas Hurd [speech at John Buchan Society Annual Dinner 2003]

John Buchan and the National Archives of Scotland, by Donald M Abbott

Images of Africa and Africans in the fiction of John Buchan, by Olivia Coyle

Pipe, book and clipers: How a picture in the John Buchan Journal became the starting point for a lengthy quest, by Jim Robertson

Adapting John Buchan: A conversation with Richard Broke

Book News

Running in the family Library edition [sale of Buchan's own copy of Churchill's The World Crisis] Buchan as dedicatee Classical Buchan

Notes and Queries

Prescience of Buchan Yes, but which Thirty-Nine? TV Version of John McNab One of his readers Inspired to spy Powers of invention Show it, and they will come Buchan the Secret-Keeper Gnome fans


Adapting John Buchan
A conversation with Richard Broke

I was the script editor for the TV version of The Three Hostages. I had hatched an ambitious idea for doing six separate inter-war thrillers, by six different writers, taking the 'British Hero' from the smoke of battle in the Great War into the second war. We would have stopped there, but the theory was that, had we continued, the 'British Hero' would have eventually become James Bond. The writers we were looking at were John Buchan, Dornford Yates, 'Sapper', Sax Rohmer, E. Phillips Oppenheim, Edgar Wallace, Sydney Horler and probably others whose names I have forgotten. It was to be as much about paranoia as anything else, since the writers reflected the perceived bogeymen of the time: Asians (still called 'the Yellow Peril' in the 1950s when I was a child), Germans (always called the Boche or the Hun), mysterious Middle Easterns (how topical - a colleague said the other day that Osama Bin Laden was a pure Buchan villain), Russians, and (sad to say this) the Jews.

In 1975 I took this idea to my boss at the BBC. The whole idea was far too expensive, so we ended up doing just three of the six. The idea behind it was never unveiled, as it means nothing when you only do three. Buchan, Dornford Yates and Geoffrey Household were the three survivors.

Images of Africa and Africans in the fiction of John Buchan
Olivia Coyle

The education reforms of 1870 dramatically improved literacy in Britain and extended the readership of adventure publications. Some journals claimed a circulation of more than one million a week (Mackenzie 1994, 206). The activities in Africa of explorers such as Livingstone, and the discovery of diamonds in South Africa in 1867 whetted the British appetite for stories about Africa (McClintock 1990, 97). British military adventures against the Zulus and Boers, devoured as newspaper reports (Eldridge 1996, 67), and scientific works, such as Darwin's Origin of Species, meant that Africa was a topic of avid public debate. John Buchan wrote non-fiction about Africa, such as The African Colony (1903) which discussed the African peoples as well the political problems, and his imperial treatise, A Lodge in the Wilderness (1906). During this period of high imperialism, what could British people discern from Buchan's portrayals in his fiction of Africa and Africans?

This website is The John Buchan Society 2006. Permission must be asked before using any material from this site, but no fee will be charged.