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This is something I think may well become a regular feature of this blog, mainly because it seems to be something I do naturally whenever I watch something on TV. The basics are simple – take a non geek TV show or film and analyse the proportion of the cast who happen to have been involved in something else with geek credentials.

I have decided to name this concept the Geek Quotient. In fact, in the tradition of Mathematicians the world over, I would propose that it be dubbed the Lascelles Geek Quotient because my ego needs feeding. You can shorten it to LGQ if you like, or even GQ but with that option you risk both being confused with a popular fashion magazine and being glowered at by my ego.

The equation is rather simple:

Divide the number of actors in the cast who have been in geeky related shows by the total number of cast members.

So, why have I chosen Downton Abbey for the debut of this exciting new concept in geek mathematics? Well, I am of the opinion that this show will likely score high based on a rather cursory glance at the cast list.

For those who don’t know, Downton Abbey is an ITV period drama set in Yorkshire in a period (currently) between the sinking of the Titanic and the advent of the 1920s. It follows the inhabitants of the eponynmous stately home, both the noble family that owns it and their many servants, as they live through such horrific historical events as the first world war and the appearance of the telephone. As is normal for such period dramas, the cast is replete with quality British actors of the type who also often get roles in sci fi and fantasy both in the UK and Hollywood. Some are even rather better known for their geek roles than their involvement in this show…

Maggie Smith as Thetis in Clash of the Titans

Now, my calculation of Downton’s GQ is 0.633 based on examining the 49 cast members listed on ImdB and determining that 31 of them have a link to some geek TV show or film. This is assuming that ‘Geek TV show or film’ is defined as something with overt supernatural or science fiction elements. Pirates of the Carribean counts, for example, whereas Hornblower (which many of the cast do have roles in too) does not. This is not a surprising result given that the cast includes Maggie Smith (with credits as far back as the original Clash of Titans films and, of course, her recent geek cred from the Harry Potter films), Iain Glen (who is notable as Ser Jorah Mormont in Game of Thrones as well as Father Octavian in Doctor Who) and Penelope Wilton (excellent as Prime Minister Harriet Jones  in Doctor Who, not to mention Shaun’s mum in Shaun of the Dead) but also has

The beard makes him completely unrecognisable…

a number of people who have done one off guest appearances on various shows. For example, Jessica Brown Findlay, who plays the youngest daughter, was in one episode of Misfits and Hugh Bonneville, who plays Earl Grantham, was almost unrecognisable behind a massive beard as a pirate in a recent episode of Doctor Who. Out of all of these, many of which I spotted without recourse to the internet, one truly took me by surprise. For much of the series, I looked at the actor who played Sir Anthony Strallen (Robert Bathurst) and tried to work out where I had seen him before. Turns out he actually played the role of Todhunter in Red Dwarf as well as Prince Henry in the original series of Blackadder


Sir Anthony Strallen

So, there you have it. Do you think I have the calculation of this correct? Do you know of any other films or TV shows which might beat this score? Feel free to comment below…