Roundup: Daleks and Poputchiks

–The BBC has announced plans to issue a print version of a 1980s Dr Who episode that contains a plot line inspired by Waugh’s novel The Loved One. This is explained on a website that tracks this sort of thing ( which writes that there are:

… only two stories left from the show’s original run that haven’t gotten a novel adaptation – until now. That situation will be remedied this year when BBC Books publishes former script editor Eric Saward’s novelization of those stories […] Saward was the script editor of the show from 1982 to 1986, covering a large part of Peter Davison’s era as the Doctor and Colin Baker’s entire run. He also wrote Revelation of the Daleks [which features] a satire of the funeral business inspired by Evelyn Waugh’s novel The Loved One. [See previous post.] Many fans regard Revelation of the Daleks to be the best script Saward wrote during his tenure on the show.

The novelized version of Revelation of the Daleks (Story 142) will appear in November and, according to, includes this as its major story line:

The Doctor and Peri land on the planet Necros to visit the funerary home Tranquil Repose – where the dead are interred and the near-dead placed in suspended animation until such time as their conditions can be cured.

–In the San Diego Reader (a free-distribution print newspaper) Matthew Lickona recalls several:

… instances when comedy has led me to culture though the back door, so that I know the funny reference before the serious referent. […] I only recently discovered the humor in novelist Evelyn Waugh’s use of “Change and decay in all around I see” as the darkly gleeful declaration of a ruined paterfamilias in Boot [sic]. I read that twenty years before learning that it’s part of a hymn: Change and decay in all around I see/ O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Lickona remembered the quote from the hymn “Abide With Me” but confused the title of the novel Scoop with the name of its hero and his home in Somerset.

–The Guardian reports the death late last year of veteran actor Hugh Dickson (1927-2018). Among his early successes was an appearance in the BBC’s radio adaptation of a Waugh novel:

Regularly in demand for leading or major roles on radio, he will be remembered especially for his Guy Crouchback in the 1974 dramatisation of Evelyn Waugh’s Sword of Honour, Sunny Farebrother in Frederick Bradnum’s adaptation of Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time (four series, 1979-82) and as Elrond in Lord of the Rings (1981).

The 1974 adaptation was written for BBC by Barry Campbell and stretched over 11 episodes.  It had earlier been adapted in 1967 for BBC TV by Giles Cooper in a three-episode series starring Edward Woodward as Guy Crouchback.

–Finally, in yesterday’s round of the BBC’s University Challenge quiz program, the moderator Jeremy Paxman posed this question to the University of Warwick’s team: In a 1942 novel Evelyn Waugh used the phrase “horrible jargon” to apply to what two-word term based on the Russian word Попутчик (“Poputchik“) used from the 1920s to describe people who sympathized with the Communist Party but were not members? The Warwick team answered correctly “fellow traveller” for 5 points but lost to University of Bristol.

The reference comes from Put Out More Flags where Ambrose Silk refers to himself as what the Communists “call in their horrible jargon, a fellow traveller” (London, 1967 ed., p. 118). What the Russian word has to do with the derivation of the English term is not something Ambrose discussed or cared about. He was employed at the time by the Ministry of Information as “the representative of Atheism in the religious department” (p. 116). The BBC’s question writers probably picked up this attribution from John Ayto, Movers and Shakers: A Chronology of Words that Shaped our Age (New York: OUP, 1999) p. 93, where POMF is quoted in support of the meaning and origin of “Fellow Traveler” and dates its useage to 1936. Others attribute it to Leon Trotsky.

UPDATE (22 January 2019): Transliteration of Russian word Попутчик (Poputchik) meaning “Fellow Traveler” corrected. A reference to John Ayto book added.

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