When the hero/heroine smashes their way into the baddy’s stronghold, the first people he/she encounters are those employed to guard the place. These anonymous workers are mown down in hails of bullets, have their necks broken in silent karate moves, they’re stabbed, blown to pieces by expertly thrown grenades, spread-eagled by crossbow bolts. In films they’re played by cheap Eastern European extras and nobody gives a second thought to the characters they play.
Only occasionally I consider their back stories. When the baddy built his base, as always in a faraway backwater of economic deprivation, our typical bloke and his family were probably starving. Now with his wages paying for breakfast cereal, his wife probably wished him another good day at work that morning, little knowing that by the evening he would be lying dead by his master’s gate. The master of course will have had time to make his incredible escape to ensure parts 2,3,4 of the franchise. But with his departure, our bloke’s wife and children will die of some poverty disease and be buried in unmarked graves.
What passing bells for these who die as cattle
The prank carried out on Kate Middleton’s nurse reminds us that in real life as in films there are folk destined to be circumstantial casualties. As the DJs pointed out in their defence, they could never have foreseen that the intermediary that they fooled would go on to hang herself. Like the baddy’s guards the nurse was just a fence to jump over – not a human being with family and feelings.
We don’t need I’m a celebrity: get me out of here ritual humiliations to grasp the underlying truth that all celebrities are baddies. Those Ozzie DJs must have been as cock-a-hoop as Bruce Willis to have penetrated the inner sanctum of the British Royal Family. Kate Middleton with her acute morning sickness was no more human than Blofeld.
But then the Serf gatekeeper goes and commits suicide. She’s left a distraught husband and children and those DJs who imagined golden careers in the future have had to go into hiding.
In Disney’s cartoon version of Robin Hood, the expendables were rhinos and generally they weren’t killed but made to look extremely stupid. I am sure Good King Richard kept them employed.
In BBC’s family orientated Merlin, there was some tiny consideration given to a young pretty druidess killing an old guard in cold blood. She shrugged her shoulders and called him a casualty of war. Nice Arthur condemned her to die, not because she’d killed a serf but she’d tried to kill him and wouldn’t say sorry.
She was duly hanged off camera. It’s good that the BBC has introduced the topic of Capital Punishment to the family Saturday night supper table.