London’s Fictional Characters
London has inspired many fictional creations over the centuries, from private detectives and spies to subterranean experts in waste management. Here is our guide to these characters, how to pronounce them and what they are famous for saying:
Oliver Twist /ˈɒlɪvə ˈtwɪst/
Who? The boy in Charles Dickens’ book of the same name about an orphan who becomes mixed up in a world of criminals. “Oliver” is now the most common name for an English boy.
Where? Farringdon (very near to Pronunciation Studio!)
Famous line: “Please sir, I want some more”.
Mr Bean /ˈmɪstə ˈbiːn/
Who? A childish loner who can’t understand how the world works. A man of very few words.
Where? 12 Arbour Road, Highbury (Islington)
Famous line: “mmmmmm”
Del Boy /ˈdeɫ bɔɪ/
Who? Derek Trotter is the lead character in English sitcom ‘Only Fools & Horses’, a “wheeler dealer” who is keen to get rich and isn’t always honest in order to get there.
When? 80s and 90s
Where? Flat 127 Nelson Mandela House, Peckham
Famous line: “This time next year we’ll be millionaires!”
Who? Ebenezer Scrooge is the main character in Dickens’ novel “A Christmas Carol” – he’s a miserable miser who hates Christmas, giving and sharing, but who later reforms.
When? 19th Century
Where? Lime Street – the City of London
Famous line: “Bah! Humbug!”
Eliza Doolittle /ɪˈlaɪzə ˈduːlɪtɫ/
Who? A cockney flower girl who takes speech lessons to pass as a ‘lady’. Originally in George Bernard Shaw’s play ‘Pygmalion’ and later converted to the musical ‘My Fair Lady’.
When? Early 20th Century
Where? 27A Wimpole Street, The West End (is the setting of the play, Eliza is from the East End)
Famous line: “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain”
Paddington Bear /ˈpædɪŋtən ˈbeə/
Who? A polite, hat wearing, marmalade loving bear who arrives in Paddington Station from Peru looking for a home.
When? 1950s to present.
Where? 32 Windsor Gardens, near Notting Hill
Famous line: “Please look after this bear, thank you”
James Bond /ˈdʒeɪmz ˈbɒnd/
Who? A promiscuous secret service agent.
When? 1950s to present.
Where? 61 Horsen Ferry Road, Pimlico
Famous line: “The name’s Bond, James Bond”.
Who? A retired Belgian police man, who becomes a private detective, based in London – Agatha Christie’s most famous creation is an endearing moral intellectual.
When? From the 1920s
Where? When he’s not travelling the world: Flat 203 at 56B Whitehaven Mansions, Barbican
Famous line: “One must seek the truth within-not without.”
The Wombles /ðə ˈwɒmbɫz/
Who? Small, furry animals with pointy noses who live underground and recycle rubbish in creative ways.
When? 1960s and 70s
Where? Wimbledon Common
Famous line: “Make good use of bad rubbish”
Sherlock Holmes /ˈʃɜːlɒk ˈhəʊmz/
Who? A private detective with a breathtaking grasp of logic and observation.
When? 1880s to present.
Where? 221B Baker Street
Famous line: “Elementary, my dear Watson” – though Holmes never says these exact words in any of the novels.