I tend not to base my characters off actors. They pop to life in my head just as they are. Every now and again, I’m lucky enough to stumble across someone on the big or little screen who looks just as I imagined one of my characters– but it doesn’t happen with everyone.
Case in point: Turnip.
I have to confess, all these years later, I still haven’t found the perfect Turnip.
Who do you think should play Turnip in a hypothetical Mistletoe mini-series? (Can’t you just see it? “Mistletoe: the Hallmark Channel/BBC collaboration”.) Is there any actor who strikes you as having that essential Turnip-ness?
To help you out, here’s the first appearance of Turnip on the scene in The Masque of the Black Tulip, Turnip’s very first Pink Carnation appearance.
“Oh, look!” Henrietta leaned confidentially towards him, the embroidered hem of her dress lapping at the toes of his boots, “I do believe you’ve been saved. Mrs. Ponsonby has latched onto Reggie Fitzhugh.”
Miles followed the path of Henrietta’s fan and noted with some relief that the crazy woman had indeed honed in on Turnip Fitzhugh. Turnip wasn’t in the direct line for a title, but his uncle was an earl, and he did have an income of ten thousand pounds a year, enough to make Turnip a very attractive marital prospect for anyone who didn’t mind a complete absence of mental capacity. That, from what Miles had viewed of this year’s crop of debutantes, didn’t look to be a problem. Besides, Turnip was a good chap. Not the sort of man Miles would want to see marrying his sister (there was little danger of that, as Miles’ three half-sisters were all considerably older, and long since leg-shackled), but he had a good hand with his horses, a generous way with his port, and a winning habit of actually paying his gambling debts.
He also had a positive talent for sartorial disaster. He was, Miles noted with mingled amusement and disbelief, dressed entirely a la Carnation, with a huge pink flower in his buttonhole, wreaths of carnations embroidered on his silk stockings, and even—Miles winced—dozens of little carnations twining on vines along the sides of his knee breeches.
Miles groaned. “Someone needs to kidnap his tailor.”
Moving along to Mistletoe, I give you the scene where our heroine, Arabella, first meets Turnip– in all his Turnip-y glory.
It was highly unlikely that any gentlemen of large fortune and undiscriminating taste would rush forward to bowl her over.
And that was when a large form careened into her, sending her stumbling into the doorframe, while something small, round, and compact managed to land heavily on her left foot before rolling along its way.
“Oooof!” Arabella said cleverly, flailing her arms for balance.
This was not an auspicious beginning to her career as a dignified instructress of young ladies.
A pair of sturdy hands caught her by the shoulders before she could go over, hauling her back up to her feet. He overshot by a bit. Arabella found herself dangling in mid-air for a moment before her feet landed once again on the wooden floor.
“I say, frightfully sorry!” her unseen assailant and rescuer was babbling. “Deuced ungentlemanly of me—ought to have been watching where I was going.”
Arabella’s bonnet had been knocked askew in the fracas. She was above the average height, but this man was even taller. With her bonnet brim in the way, all she could see was a stretch of brightly patterned waistcoat, a masterpiece of fine fabric and poor taste.
Arabella didn’t know whether to laugh or bang her head against the elaborate carnations on her assailant’s waistcoat. Everyone knew about Turnip Fitzhugh’s waistcoats.
And to think, only a moment ago, she had complaining about not being bowled over by men of large fortune and undiscriminating taste.
She had just never meant it quite that literally.
And that’s our Turnip.
Name your top Turnip picks– and I’ll pick one person who comments to receive a copy of the UK edition of The Mischief of the Mistletoe.