The Real-Life Inspirations For Bryant & May Characters

Bryant and May

I’ve been meaning to do this for ages, after someone suggested I couldn’t possibly know anyone as strange as some of my characters, so here are a few of the real-life figures who got re-invented as characters in the Bryant & May novels. At the moment I’m limited to people I have photos of, but perhaps I’ll create a gallery of real-life matches.

The funny thing is realising just how much I use from real people.

First, here’s Bryan, who plays Raymond Kirkpatrick, heavy metal rocker and academic librarian.


This is John, who plays the sinister Mr Merry – that’s his own beard, which is about 4 feet long, and he’s been known to go full-piratical for photo shoots.

Mr Merry


Next, Maggie Armitage, of whom I have millions of photos but cannot find the ones I wanted, thanks to our deranged method of e-storage. She models too, and she’s also seen here in a spoof calendar created for an airline.


Aer Lingus

I don’t really have a single friend in mind for John May – I tend to amalgamate several other figures into one. But my pal Jim was 100 per cent Arthur Bryant, and modelled for him in the graphic novel version.


7 comments on “The Real-Life Inspirations For Bryant & May Characters”

  1. Dan Terrell says:

    Thanks for those.
    Currently reading Darkest Day, so the photos are timely: Bryan looks like he might have some “glistening black spiders” from that novel tucked around and about him somewhere.
    I think a lot of people have a deranged method of e-storage. I do and it takes such a vast amount of time for most – except for Snowy I bet – to sort it all out, or give up. It is worse than cataloguing an old, dry book of postage stamps in a light breeze – although those you can actually tweezer back into place with infinite patience. But no hands on the paper bits.

  2. admin says:

    Being a certain type of annoying male I spend far too much time cataloguing things, Dan – a friend just found a whole bunch of rare comedy shows for me, and now I have to burn them onto lasting storage discs, which will take about a month. Sick, sick, sick.

  3. snowy says:

    I was going to keep schtum, but it’s too tempting. 😀

    A computer only contains two things ‘Files’ and ‘Folders’.

    The only possible arrangements are; ‘Files’ in ‘Folders’ and ‘Folders’ in ‘Folders’ and that is it, no other configurations exist.

    So it is exactly the same as using a physical filing cabinet, have a system and stick with in.

    [Only a bit more then I’ll shut up]

    Almost everything on a computer can be replaced, iTunes library, downloads, software etc. What can’t be replaced are photos, home videos, home recordings [and possibly manuscripts]. Those need to be copied to discs or ‘The Cloud’ so if your computer goes up in a puff of smoke you can recover them. The rest is the insurance companies problem. Don’t fancy ‘The Cloud’? Then use a ‘Sneakernet’ most companies do.

    Transfering ‘video’ is a pain, I’ve still got the best part of a 1000 discs to do, take at tip? It’s all about work-flow! Set up a dedicated machine, [even if it’s slightly old], for the job, wherever you spend most time. Split the task into two distinct stages, data in and data out.

    Set up to copy data to hard drive.
    Insert disc 1, press go, walk away, disc ejects insert disc 2 press go, and so on till the hard drives gets to about 80% full.

    Set up to burn
    Insert disc 1, press go, walk away, disc ejects, insert disc 2, press go, and so on.

    [The exact process will vary slightly depending on ‘stuff’ but that’s the idea.]

    It’s great fun to see the who behind the character bt the way.

  4. Dan Terrell says:

    I knew Snowy would have the answer. However, I’ve been doing what he suggests – more or less – but my problem is I believe computer mix and match with the occasional “overlay.” Setting aside 30’s to 60’s jazz, some pop and various classical composers/artists, I specialize in just one composer, and two others, so much of what I have to put on the PC/Cloud, therefore, are the same compositions, played by differing musicians, recorded with, but mainly without embedded track sorting data. There is where the mix and match or overlay comes in. To prevent this happening, I turntable a platter, record and add my own sorting and ordering data. It’s all a bit overwhelming for a non-recording booth type. And frustration calls for “More wine, please” which can lead to discovering there are sound cul de sacs in the morning.

  5. snowy says:

    Know what you mean [I think}, ID3v1 tags, the normal method; does not quite do the job when you need to capture: Title, Composer, Lyricist, Conductor, Soloist/Vocalist, Orchestra, Date etc.

    ID3v2.3 does includes space for these and even BPM, but doesn’t handle Opus numbers! how strange. And it can be a bit hit and miss which bits of hardware and software recognize version 2.3. But ID3 editors are available free to change/add data however proceed with care if you choose this route.

    [Never used it in anger though, so if you have salt!, take a pinch bucketfull with the above.]

  6. Helen Martin says:

    Knew there was a reason I didn’t get involved in storing music. Firmly continuing not to store music. I have bought an i-pad, though, so who knows where that will take me.

  7. John De la Cruz says:

    Dear Admin,
    Always wondered about this chap:

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