Proposal 3, Page 5 (continued from Page 4)
Jules Verne
Jules Verne is a young French writer in his mid twenties. He was born in the provincial Atlantic port city of Nantes in 1828, the son of a well-to-do attorney. His father wanted him to join the family firm, and he went to Paris in 1848 to study law. But he was determined to pursue a literary career, and though he continued his studies he made as many contacts as he could in the world of the arts, including established writers like Alexander Dumas.
Through   Dumas   he  was   able   to   procure  work  as   a manager of theatres,  and  used  an  allowance  from  his father and the small amount of money the theatrical jobs paid  to  support himself while  he  tried  to  become  a playwright.

His plays however, were either not performed or only performed for a few nights, and he found himself eking out the classic life of the starving artist in the poorer quarters of Paris.

It is during this period that the series finds him, before he had found his true vocation as a novelist. He is committed to literature and to the creative life, but has not yet found his niche within it. However we are placing Jules in Paris in say 1860 at the age of twenty-four for the purposes of our first episode.

Jules is part of the impoverished world of young artists which later became famous through "La Boheme", sitting with his friends in low bars and cheap cafes on the Left Bank trying to  make  cups  of coffee  and glasses  of wine last as long as possible.

He's always been a compulsive note-taker, gathering facts the way a squirrel gathers nuts and scribbling them on file cards. He's determined to take in as much information about the world as he possibly can - but when we first meet him he has no idea at all what to do with it: the concept of "science fiction", which he was to invent, has not yet occurred to him. We are revealing the adventures during which this process happened.

When we first meet him he's somewhat naive, romantically inept, and a little clumsy. As the series progresses his experiences will gradually change him - not his youthful enthusiasm but his ability to deal with the world.

This is largely the result of his relationship with Phileas Fogg, who becomes his mentor. Fogg IS a man of the world, an experienced lover, a brilliant swordsman, a man who knows how to play a game of poker with the most dangerous opponents - and Jules is determined to emulate him, partly through sheer admiration, partly because he knows some aspects of Phileas represent the man he ought to be.

Needless to say, he's a romantic: he'll fall in love at the slightest provocation - usually with high-born, high spirited intelligent young women who sometimes turn out to be his most dangerous enemies.

One of his most significant romantic attachments is with the daring Rebecca Fogg. Jules would give anything to have her return his love: but the tragedy of his life is that she insists on regarding him as a good pal, an amusing honorary younger brother.

The truth is that Rebecca knows she's simply too high-powered for Jules: she'd simply eat him alive. And Jules, at some level, probably understands this. So while there's an interesting level of sexual tension between them, we're not really expecting them to consummate their relations anytime soon - so we're not (even unconsciously) frustrated by the fact that they don't become an item.

The main love of Jules' life is Laura, the beautiful daughter of Captain Nemo. She's a much gentler, sweeter soul than Rebecca, and we feel that she and Jules would be a perfect couple. What keeps them apart is her loyalty to her father, and her long journeys around the world in the Nautilus - on most of which Jules is not present. One of our first season episodes will be one in which it looks as if Jules will make a permanent attachment to Laura, but finds himself in a situation where he has to sacrifice his love to save her and her father - by firing himself out of the submarine to prevent its destruction.

He relieves some of his frustrations about women and indeed life in general, by drawing sketches of imaginary machines. (Indeed we may suspect that given a choice between a fascinating new machine and a beautiful woman, he would have to THINK). These inventions pour out of his head almost without thought, and often, while talking about something else entirely, he'll dash one off, crumple it up and throw it away.

These discarded strokes of genius will often be picked up by some curious fellow diner or passer-by - and may well end up in the hands of someone capable of actually creating what Jules has merely dreamt of: notably the League of Darkness. In fact whenever the opportunity arises the League will assign one of its members to keep Verne under observation, snapping up unconsidered trifles and even going so far as to rifle his waste paper basket.

Jules is not a natural athlete or swordsman: he does his best with what Phileas teaches him of the conventional weapons (sword, gun and fists) and what Rebecca shows him of more exotic weaponry and methodology.

Jules is a visionary, with all the weaknesses and strengths that implies. He can form, and is attracted by, grand holistic visions of society and man's place in the world. These are based, of course, on his belief in the value of the individual and universal self-expression - but they make him vulnerable to seduction by OTHER holistic visions - such as those of the League, which are based on ‘the Rule of the Wise’.

Phileas, by contrast, is a pragmatist, taking every issue on a case by case basis and instinctively opposed to grand theories. This brings him and Jules into conflict, but it also serves to ground the young Frenchman and insulate him against being carried away by his, or other people's visions. As a result, the tensions between three competing visions of the world (Jules', the League's and Fogg's) is one of the factors underlying the entire "Secret Adventures".

But whether or not he'd formulate it in these words, Jules Verne is always battling to save the future - and in the process - inventing it.

Which is what makes him a hero not only for his own times - but for ours.
Phileas Fogg

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Phileas Fogg is the romantic heart of "The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne". A complex, troubled figure with a deep streak of melancholy and a past marred by tragedy, his outward persona is that of a gentleman of leisure, traveling round the world in style, dropping in on aristocratic acquaintances and keeping boredom at bay by gambling huge sums.

Phileas Fogg, had his personality been different, would have been a Member of Parliament, part of the British ruling elite. But the nihilistic side of his nature has made him a gambler, has forced him, time and time again, to risk everything on the turn of a card or the trajectory of a billiard ball.

The origin of the dark side of Phileas' personality is to be found in his father, Boniface Fogg, a towering figure who was at the centre of British intelligence during the later part of the Napoleonic Wars and became   a   close   confidant   of  both   Horatio Nelson   and   the   Duke   of Wellington.   After Napoleon's defeat and the Congress of Vienna (1815), Boniface sought to ensure there would never be another World War by creating a network   of   agents   to   act   as   the   secret guardians of the British Empire - and thus of the Pax Britannica that protected the entire world.

Needless to say, Boniface wanted his two sons Phileas and his elder brother Erasmus to follow in his footsteps, and might have succeeded had he not sent them on a mission which resulted in the death of Erasmus and the destruction of all Phileas'    ideals.    Thereafter    Phileas  reacted violently against his father's view of the world and turned to a life of pleasure. His faith in "the system" had been fatally undermined. He saw no point in devoting his life to an Empire that was prepared   to   sacrifice   its   own   citizens   in   so cavalier a manner.

As a result of his early experiences Phileas has seen the evil in men's souls and emerged into a state of detachment which gives him a special perspective on life: a wisdom of his own.

He is skeptical, easily bored, restless: but he's also a man of immense style and charm. He savours life's pleasures with great sophistication, from great art to fine wines and beautiful women. He takes satisfaction in his skill as a swordsman, his accuracy with a pistol, his ability to finesse an opponent at bridge.

Fogg regards it as something of a cosmic joke that he's been saddled with the excitable young Frenchman who, to further his own literary ambitions, is bent on hurling them both into every possible adventure that comes their way. Although Fogg may resist both Rebecca and Jules, he senses that in this pairing destiny is at work. And he's right.

How exactly Erasmus died will be a mystery that long remains murky. There is an official version, and behind that hints of an altogether different story: Phileas is determined to find out what really happened. At some point in series one we will re-enact Erasmus' death so that we can understand its emotional aftermath.

Phileas treats his sister Rebecca with the good natured tolerance of an older brother, but he's quite sensitive to Rebecca's attempts to out-do him, and while appearing never to TRY to beat her at shooting, ju-jitsu or sword-play, he's determined never to let her win.

Although in some ways, Jules is a cross Phileas feels he has to bear, there is also a genuine liking between the two men. Phileas knows that Jules' innocent enthusiasm is the perfect antidote to his own cynicism, and Verne's delight in life the perfect leavening for Fogg's darker side.Phileas, by contrast, is a pragmatist, taking every issue on a case by case basis and instinctively opposed to grand theories. This brings him and Jules into conflict, but it also serves to ground the young Frenchman and insulate him against being carried away by his, or other people's visions. As a result, the tensions between three competing visions of the world (Jules', the League's and Fogg's) is one of the factors underlying the entire "Secret Adventures".

He enjoys teaching Jules how to use a sword, fire a pistol, or woo a woman: he likes seeing Jules developing into someone who can cope with the world instead of being overwhelmed by it. And of course he realises that in Verne he has found a true original, and in acting as his mentor he is helping create someone who will ultimately have an impact on the whole world.

Jules, of course, is not the only cross Fogg has to bear: he also has a manservant of alarming originality in Passepartout...

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Passepartout is Phileas Fogg's valet. Before obtaining this position, (see below), he had an extraordinary career, the full variety of which will only gradually be unfolded during the series, but which is already known to include circus acrobat, lumberjack, large-animal veterinary assistant, and hairdresser to the Emperor of Ethiopia. Whenever he displays an astonishing new skill he will lightly explain that he learned it during one of his many professional engagements.

Born to the semi-piratical captain of a Mediterranean trading vessel, Passepartout, uncertain  of his  actual birthplace, seems to combine all the nationalities of Southern Europe from Albania to Spain and is adept at combining and mangling every language on the continent.

Passepartout   does   his   best   to   be   an exemplary   manservant,   ironing   his   master's "Times"   every morning,  keeping  his  evening wear immaculate. When occasion arises he is also a fair cook, though with a taste for the exotic   that   Fogg   deplores.   And   he   has   an uncanny knack of being able to conjure up a tray, glasses  and  an  appropriate  beverage  so  he  can serve a relaxing round of drinks in almost any circumstances, a napkin draped neatly over his arm.

He has also, it should be noted, succeeded in memorising the railway timetables for nearly every country in the world, so that Fogg is in no danger of one of his most dreaded nightmares: missing a connection.

Passepartout's   real   genius,   however,   is   for making things. He has created a workshop in the Dirigible in which he can build almost any device Jules Verne can dream up, from a stun grenade to a magnetometer.

He works at extraordinary speed, too:  a  device  can  be  invented,  prototyped  and tested within the course of a single episode. It may not of course work as planned, but it will certainly do something.

He has the practical ability that Jules lacks, and delights in creating things Jules could only dream of and which Passepartout alone would not be able to conceive: the two complement each other perfectly

Passepartout, although not a grand visionary like Jules, does invent gadgets to make his job as a manservant easier: like the hydraulic wine-server, the spring-propelled humidor which fires cigars direct into the smoker's open mouth, or the trouser press that works even while the trousers are being worn. Sometimes these go wrong immediately, sometimes they work well at first and then go wrong; sometimes they go wrong in the finale in a way which saves the day.

Passepartout exemplifies joie-de-vivre: he knows how to enjoy life. He's always on the lookout for a moment of simple pleasure in the midst of the most hair-raising exploit: a beautiful woman to admire, a plump chicken that can be turned into a tasty ragout, an interesting local character with whom to spend an evening in some smoky tavern (often a source of valuable information for his master). He has a knack for happiness: a sweetness of disposition that will sometimes solve insoluble problems.

He can also, of course, precipitate appalling disasters because he has been lured away by an exhibit at a traveling fair, or gone after a buxom fellow servant with a come-hither smile.

He is a brilliant acrobat (his job in a circus provided this skill) and sometimes tries to teach the others how to do it: Jules is the keenest pupil, Rebecca the most apt. Passepartout's acrobatic skills will sometimes enable him to win a fight with an opponent against whom he should, in theory, have no chance.

Passepartout has the knack of being happy. Unlike the others, he has no unattained goals. He is excitable, emotional, superstitious, and in a practical way very bright.

Rebecca Fogg

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Rebecca Fogg is Phileas Fogg's sister: a beautiful, athletic, fearless and high-minded young woman in her mid to late twenties. She has to be fearless: she's the first female field agent ever employed by the British Secret Service: an almost impossible achievement in the Victorian era. But Rebecca is an extraordinary person.

Rebecca hugely enjoys her unique role. How else could a woman in the Victorian era  get to adopt any disguise she chooses, go where no woman, (and  few  men),  have  ever gone before, and outwit, out drink and outfight some of the most unscrupulous villains on the planet?

One of Rebecca's feminine qualities is a delight in clothing, and great  ingenuity in designing and making it. Many of her designs incorporate   extraordinary devices to enable her to get out of tight corners  -  like   incandescent  hems and  acid impregnated threads that can cut through any lock. In the field she'll adopt any costume necessary to get the job done - but when we see her on her home  turf she  is very different. In  the  charming manor house  made  of golden  Cotswold stone which is the family home she   shares  with   Fogg,   Rebecca behaves like an    impeccable Victorian country  gentlewoman, inviting  the  local  gentry for tea, doing good works among the poor, riding to hounds with the county.

She thoroughly enjoys this kind of life and performs the role well - but only because she knows that at any moment the heliograph on the hilltop above the house will start flashing with a message from London, and she'll be hurrying into that high-ceilinged office in Whitehall from which she'll be dispatched across the world to tackle the forces of evil.

Alterations to Rebecca's character: Rebecca's character was changed from Phileas' sister to his distant cousin when filming began on the series, and after this proposal was written. Here is what Gavin Scott has said about this change:

[from chat March 3, 2002] Once we'd started thinking about the actual relationship between the two and their proximity, Phileas and Rebecca, we realized that there would be a sexual tension between them and therefore she should be a distant cousin. 

[from GS comments on "Rockets of the Dead" at] This is not the view of Phileas Fogg, of course. Rebecca is his cousin, albeit a distant cousin. Distant enough for him to feel, well, a little tendresse for her.

[from GS comments on "Southern Comfort" at] But what does Rebecca think of the fact that Phileas Fogg has fallen in love at last? After all, isn't he supposed to have a certain tendresse for her? And aren't they sufficiently distant cousins to make a romance between them at least a possibility? All true, but the fact that they¹re related had always kept Phileas (just) at arm's length, and even for Rebecca, who likes being worshiped from afar, the thing has been becoming something of a strain.

[from GS interview at] Rebecca Fogg is a bit like Mrs. Peel in the Avengers. She has the Victorian equivalent of a leather fighting suit and she's very sexy. Jules is attracted to her, Fogg is attracted to her, and most of the villains they tend to come across get pretty turned on, too. There are times when you could cut the sexual tension inside the airship with a knife.

Captain Nemo

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Captain Stanislas Nemo is a Polish aristocrat in his fifties whose family was killed and whose estates were destroyed during the Russian suppression of the insurrection of 1863.

Long a student of marine biology and engineering, Nemo devoted those parts of his fortune invested overseas to the construction of an extraordinary submarine, inspired by certain mysterious plans which had fallen into his hands, whose ultimate origin, we are to learn, was the imaginative genius of Jules Verne.

As the submarine was nearing completion, Nemo learnt that the Tsar was transporting a giant gun to the Polish frontier and devised a brilliant scheme (revealed in "The Gun Goes West") to hijack it and melt it down, using the resultant metal to complete the superstructure of the Nautilus.

Although his original plan had been to revenge himself on the Russian fleet with his submarine, his daughter Laura persuaded him to devote the amazing machine to the study of the sea itself, and with a company of faithful retainers from his estates, Nemo set out to do just this.

With Laura's encouragement, he sometimes returns to Paris, mooring the submarine in the Seine by night, to consult Verne or Fogg about some mystery he has discovered beneath the sea, and they will sometimes accompany him on the subsequent journey. A brooding, saturnine man of great natural authority, Nemo is lightened by Verne's presence, and knows that in bringing him and Laura together he is relieving her of the otherwise sometimes oppressive atmosphere of the submarine.

Laura Nemo

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Nemo's daughter Laura is in her early twenties, a gentle, kindly soul who feels her duty is by her father's   side   after   the   tragedies   that   have overtaken   the   rest   of  his   family.   Generally     ; speaking,   she   travels   with   him   aboard   the      ; Nautilus, but sometimes she will come ashore to meet or assist Jules in one of his adventures, or to bring him, Fogg and Rebecca to her father's aid

She has a tendency to underestimate herself and to accept her father's authority too unquestioningly, but beneath her amenable exterior, as the series develops,   she   develops   a   more   inner-directed personality - the origins of which we see in the adventure "The Overlord".

She and Jules are in love almost from their first meeting: what keeps them apart is her loyalty to her   father   and   his   endless  journeyings   in   the Nautilus. But one day we feel, when circumstances are right, these two should come together

The League of Darkness

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The League of Darkness is an organisation created far back in the mists of time with an agenda which may or may not have been perverted during the course of its long history - and which our heroes will only gradually uncover during their battles with it. There are suggestions that in the time of Plato it was dedicated to ensuring that only the wise and good ruled human societies. Democracy represented chaos and degeneration, and this at all costs the League was determined to prevent. At some point in its development the wise and good came to mean the nobly born; and as the middle ages came to an end the League's objectives seemed to be maintaining the status quo.

The Renaissance was a time of great peril for the League, but as a result of their efforts the progressive genius of men like Leonardo da Vinci was suppressed, technological development halted in its tracks and kings and princes confirmed in their authority. The League played a crucial role in the development of absolute monarchy in the seventeenth century, backing men like Richelieu and helping Louis XIV become the ruler he was.

So things might have continued, with the masses  firmly   shackled to their workbenches and ploughs, and royal houses presiding over cultivated nobility, had not the French king Louis XVI ignored the advice of the  League   and  made  the  fatal errors which provoked the French revolution - a revolution which threw up the League's most formidable foe, Napoleon Bonaparte.

For  more   than   two   decades the League was in the forefront of the battle to restore the Anciens Regimes of Europe after their overthrow by the Corsican   -   though   there were some among the League who favoured the policy of converting  Napoleon to their own ends by having him form a royal dynasty of his own. But in the end, Napoleon was crushed and the descendants of the old royal houses were back on their thrones.


The League found, however, that nothing was ever to be the same again. The people knew their own power, and were determined to reclaim it. Again and again - as in 1830, 1848 (and 1870 which is to come) - the League helped the powers that be crush the masses whenever they reached out for power.

Worse, the proponents of change now had technology on their side: the sheer accumulation of technical knowledge in the centuries after the Renaissance had generated an industrial revolution and a scientific revolution which was undermining established authority at every turn.

At the time when the League encounters Jules Verne for  the   first   time   it  is   facing   its   greatest   challenge: industrialisation, urbanisation, democracy and liberalism are on the march.

The League will do  anything to prevent ordinary people from determining their own fate. Ordinary people, the members of the League believe, should not have control over their own destiny, because otherwise chaos will come again. They have their own version of the Bell Curve hypothesis: only ten per cent of the population are fit to rule, and they are   best  represented   by  the   nobility  -   so   the League must protect the power of the nobility at all costs.

In the context of our episodes, this means they must support kings even when they have become despots, persecute and thwart those who are trying to  free  serfs  or slaves  or give  the vote  to  those without property; encourage wars when they serve those ends and use assassination and kidnapping to achieve their goals.

Where new technologies appear that threaten their plans, they will suppress them, and possibly, having done so, use versions or modifications of them for their own ends without allowing anyone else to know these technologies   exist.   Under  the   stress   of extraordinary times, the League will take its greatest risks.

Count Gregory of Orthanc

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Behind this group of more or less ordinary mortals lies the Grand Master of the League, Count Gregory of Orthanc, himself once a chivalric knight doing battle with the forces of Islam, but converted into half man, half machine after being torn apart by wild horses outside Hagia Sofia in Istanbul during the fourteenth century and rescued by a secret order of monks living in the catacombs beneath the city.

This is a description of the Count on his first appearance in the series: "At the end of the chamber is a huge bell-jar. Piled inside the bell-jar is what appears to be a human body that has been torn into pieces, and each separate part grafted onto a primitive mechanical device to enable it to function - so that the lungs, for example, are operated by a huge pair of bellows, and the hands emerge from a tangle of cogwheels. A kind of distillery feeds coloured liquids into the various organs in a constant, bubbling stream. But most horrifying of all is the Head, a mixture of brass and bone, the lips of which move with mechanical slowness, powered by compressed air."

Count Gregory has lived for centuries, and will continue to do so: he uses all the resources of science to keep his disassembled body parts functioning, and, on certain occasions, to reassemble himself into a terrifying Terminator-like creature with the strength of ten men. There is also the possibility he might have discovered and made use of cloning technology to ensure his survival and even create multiple versions of himself.

Generally, however, he uses the strength and mobility of others to pursue the League's objectives, using a network of informants and messengers to gather and disseminate information - as well as devices created by ancient alchemists to pass messages directly between the castles and palaces of Europe. Each of the great aristocrats who has been recruited to the League has at some point been to see Count Gregory, and may find themselves working alongside him on some particular mission, but generally speaking he is a feared and shadowy presence who is at one degree removed from direct operations.

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Continued on Page 6

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