Kate Stone

Kate Stone

Why Maddy Magellan is a Comedy Icon

When it comes to female characters there appears to be an odd belief that there are few examples of them in comedy, specifically examples who could be held up as comedic role models. I seem to have some extra time on my hands right now and rather than rearrange my wardrobe I have decided to dedicate an essay each to the fictional girls and women who deserve more recognition for their comedy.

Last week I wrote about being the straight man and how Elizabeth Cronin filled that role in Drop Dead Fred, this week I want to write about a character who is the driving force of a series and the best example I can think of is investigative journalist Maddy Magellan of Jonathan Creek.

I’m an absolute sucker for murder mysteries, combine it with my other love comedy and I am in. Which is why you won’t be surprised to learn that I was (and am) a massive Jonathan Creek fan. Like, one Christmas I got a Jonathan Creek book and… I was not mad.

The reason for this fandom was Caroline Quentin’s character Maddy Magellan. She was everything I wanted to be, assertive, quick-witted, brave and the owner of hundreds of books – some of which were hers. I can be sure that what made the show work was Maddy Magellans presence because when Caroline Quentin left the show and was replaced by the equally talented Saffy Monsoon Julia Sawalha the spark went.

You see there was something about Maddy. She wasn’t plain gobby. She was nuanced and we don’t see a lot of women characters who are simultaneously confident, funny and sensitive. Women like Maddy are usually doomed to being reduced to ‘gobby’ and punished with slapstick revenge. Not that Maddy doesn’t occasionally suffer the odd humiliation for an audience laugh, but she was allowed a dignity and her counterpart, the magician’s…consultant Jonathan Creek, whom she effectively goads into helping her solve mysteries suffers just as much.

Maddy was brilliantly human, we see her get jealous due to the raging and reciprocated crush on Creek, we see her go with her gut and get it brilliantly wrong or right. We share her bafflement over the mysteries and her squeamishness in one episode when a victim is sawn in half FROM THE VULVA UP. She brings the heat to balance out Creek’s cool logic and the show would never have worked without her.

So this week we are hailing Maddy Magellan as a comedy icon.

If you have a character you’d like to suggest for this, then tweet me @funnywomened

Read why Elizabeth Cronin is a comedy icon here!

Read why Jane Lane is a comedy icon here!

Read why Lisa Landry is a comedy icon here!

Read why Dorothy Zbornak is a comedy icon here!

Read why Anne Shirley is a comedy icon here!

Read why Wednesday Addams is a comedy icon here! 

Read why Marmalade Atkins is a comedy icon here! 

Read why Tracy Beaker is a comedy icon here! 

Read why Daria Morgendorffer is a comedy icon here! 

Read why Anastasia Krupnik is a comedy icon here! 

Read why Helga Pataki is a comedy icon here! 

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