The Adventures of Stoke Mandeville

A web-site in support of the play which celebrates the extraordinary achievements both of the fine fellow Mr. Mandeville himself, and the parallel dimension from which he visited our world.


It is down to a remarkable set of events that this play has come about. The performances intend to instruct the public in the basic facts regarding the experiences of one man, Graham Pennyworth. The reason that it is so important that his experiences are brought to general notice, is that tremendous changes to the world may come about, all of them for the better, were the facts to be better known.

Graham Pennyworth was a man ill at ease with his world. Though he himself was caught up in its immorality and drabness, some deep-seated inner grain of decency in him caused him to feel an admirable self-loathing. He was, after all, a lawyer. What Graham did not know, was that in other worlds, he was a man of merit and distinction.

It has long been known that there are countless parallel dimensions, and that in each, history has taken a different turn at one point or another. In some dimensions, people for the main part live good and contented lives, whereas in others, such as this one, lives are wasted in squalor and torment. Fortunately, into this world crashed (quite literally) the excellent Carstairs Macdonald, adventurous companion of Stoke Mandeville himself, and Carstairs was quick to recognise the improperness of this dimension, and its potential to be quite liveable, if only certain essential alterations could be made.

More remarkable yet, was that by an extraordinary turn of events, Graham Pennyworth found himself in the parallel world of Carstairs Macdonald. The marvellous fittingness of this was that Graham Pennyworth was in truth the parallel equivalent of Carstairs. They were, if you like, parallel brothers, though they had never been introduced. Graham was able to discover for himself, at the side of Stoke Mandeville, the veritable wonders of the world of Carstairs Macdonald, and to observe the great Mandeville himself at work. The grain of decency in Graham was cultivated, until he too could play a useful part in Stoke's mission of the moment: to unmask the most devious and villainous French spy yet to threaten the Empire. By the end of this adventure, Graham's innate good character was awakened, and he had a tale which had to be told.

In the course of his adventure, Graham visited some of the marvels of the parallel world, notably the Babbage Moon, the incredibly splendid Royal Wolverhampton Palace, and The Arndale Centre in New Basingstoke, fifth moon of Jupiter - the architectural wonder of its age. All of these feature in the play.

For more details of the parallel world of Stoke Mandeville and Carstairs Macdonald, see the section entitled "About the parallel world" (below). In it, you will learn of how great your own world could be.

This page was sponsored by the generosity of the makers of

Top of the page


There was a time in the past of your own dimension, Dear Reader, when matters were improving. There was a time when decency, respect, order, and tremendous fun were being delivered to the world, albeit in a haphazard and imperfect manner. A lso, and at the same time, your technology was improving by bounds, and the world was being opened up by such marvels as the breakneck speed of steam railways. Alas, the way to greatness was lost.

In the world blessed by men such as Stoke Mandeville, British culture continued to bloom and to be refined. The work of many lifetimes was devoted to perfecting culture, such that everyone could enjoy life to the full. Research at universities all round the world brought about many discoveries and improvements in such fields as hat doffing and tea drinking. This knowledge was shared with the world, for the benefit of all.

As a natural consequence of these improvements, people began to become universally contented. Every man knew how to behave, and if he found himself in circumstances outside his experience, there were many manuals and experts he could consult to learn the proper behaviour. Society flourished as never before, and in due course, nations all round the globe implored the British to allow them to join The Empire. Once certain minimum standards of cutlery use and self-deprecation had been met, they were admitted, until the entire globe basked under one flag, and was happy.

In documenting Mankind's steady rise to greatness of culture, many heroes could be mentioned. Here are listed just a very few, for the purpose of illustration:

  • Sir Hubert Fotherington - who in 1926 came up with the final mathematical proof that deep leather armchairs are the best type of chair.
  • Colonel Abbiballa Abbabatunde - who in the Sudan in 1942 invented five different types of fish knife and four revolutionary designs of cake fork.
  • Lord Daniel Van Haarlan - who in 1948 was awarded the Nobel Prize for Manners, after his discovery of a new basic form of waving.
  • Sir Jasper Hartford-Trump - who in 1955 patented the first steam-powered journalist.
  • Capt. Ivan Rodriguez - who in 1973 organised three huzzas for Their Majesties the King and Queen at Moscow, involving over two and a half billion people, and creating a sound which could be heard from Venus.

The advances in steam power allowed Man to colonise the solar system, and soon other species were enquiring about joining The Empire. From this, Dear Reader, you may infer that the world of Stoke was one of perfection, in which everyone was content, and all was bounteous and rich. Alas, one menace remains to plague all those in The Empire.

Only one nation remained apart from The Empire. Populated by scoundrels, it could not bring itself to look upon The Empire without loathing and fierce envy. For generations now, it seems that every man, lady, and child in that horrendous corner of the world has laboured to mar the pleasantry of The Empire. This nation is of course France. The French for the main part demonstrate little more than their insatiable capacity for spite, but their greatest agents are able to do The Empire real harm, and it is these foes with whom Stoke Mandeville and Carstairs Macdonald do battle.

To find out more, you need to see the play.

This page was sponsored by those fine tobacconists who created

Top of the page


Here you see an engraver's impression of Stoke Mandeville himself. The determined set of the chin and the steely glint in the eye speak volumes. Stoke was educated in only the very harshest of public schools on Pluto. As a result, this man is impervious to hardships of all sorts, and his feats of will are legion. It is said that he once grew a pair of sideboards overnight to win a bet with the young Sir Anthony Blair. The next week, he discovered the source of the Tyne. Bayesian, Platonist, neo-Platonist, post-neo-Platonist, oxymath, Mesmerist, erumite, brick-layer, he is a true Renaissance Man. Though perhaps a little stern at times, his sterness has always been applied where fitting, and he has a kindly fondness for humour of all sorts, except rude.

It is to this man that so many times members of His Majesty's general public, and even on occasion His Majesty himself, have turned in times of peril. No man has proven stouter in resolve and ability in dealing with the ever-present foe: the French.

Although tremendously famous for his astonishing exploits, he lives a life without any entourage or pomp, simply serving the public good as he sees fit. He is the stiff-upper-lipped icon of pipe smokers everywhere.

Top of the page


Carstairs Macdonald is a stout man of action. His name is, in his home dimension, now nearly as famous as that of Stoke Mandeville. From an early age, he worked to serve the public good. He first came to public notice when he was widely reported in the papers for his saving the day, when Princess Ling Yee of Thailand very nearly attended a military ceremony wearing a green hat (it was a Wednesday). Carstairs was quick to spot the impending calamity, and was able to find the princess a hat of the correct colour in time. He has since then enjoyed the freedom of Bangkok. This though, was the work of moments, and today he is better known for his five years of prodigious toil at the Ministry of Jocularity. Humour, being perhaps the greatest binding force of the Empire, benefited immensely from his comical talents, and he is today sadly but fondly missed by the chaps of Corridor B, Whimsy Section.

More recently, Carstairs has joined Stoke in more risk-filled endeavours. His technical know-how, and his flawless eye for detail have aided Stoke in apprehending a series of appalling French agents, each it seems more dastardly than the last. It was on such a mission, that the French agent known only as "Titchmarsh" sabotaged Carstairs' astral carriage, and consequently caused Carstairs to find himself in a parallel dimension. Though he is now restored to his own world, Carstairs quickly recognised that there was much work to be done to put things to rights, and it was Carstairs who engaged Mssrs. Charlton and Lloyd to produce a play for the instruction of the people of that blighted world. The world was sick at heart. In it, Carol Vorderman was a television presenter of all things, many people wore baseball caps in public, and coffee was freely available in shops, even to children. This was the world inhabited by the poor readers of this web-site. Fortunately, he also recognised that the world needn't be that way, and so he instigated the play "The Adventures of Stoke Mandeville, Astronaut and Gentleman" to allow the natives a means of instruction in all that is good and proper. He had the perfect role model for this purpose: Stoke himself.

For more details, including the part played by a man called Graham Pennyworth, see the section entitled "The remarkable story."

This page was kindly sponsored by the generosity of the makers of

Top of the page