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The Directors of the
An unbelievably spineless lot of yes-men and time servers, the sole function of the Directors is to agree with everything Sir Reginald proposes. They meet from time to time in the wood-panelled boardroom on the top floor, consume heavy lunches with plenty of alcohol, argue about who's next for the Gentlemen's Relish (thereby breaking the heart of the eaves-dropping master chef ) and then doze off in their offices until it is time to go home. Few seem to have any deep understanding of business.
Despite their apparent irrelevance, the Directors fascinate the rest of the staff. Everything that goes on in the boardroom should be confidential of course but not when the subject is the remuneration of the Directors themselves
Indeed, Bristow is obsessed with the Directors, watching them come and go and speculating about their drinks. In strip 1504 He names them for us - Colonel Holland, Mr Houghton, Mr Hacker, Mr Williams, Mr Mulroy, Mr MacDonald, Mr Jillings, Mr Breeze, Major Powell, Mr Gilmore and Mr Ffoulkes-Hummingby. All men, all with impeccable British names and two of them military. Fair enough for that era. But Breeze and Ffoulkes are also the surnames of two of Frank Dickens cartooning contemporaries,and I wonder how many more are concealed?
Three names missing from the list are Mr Smethwick, Mr Pettigrew and Mr McMurtry who appear at other times. If Smethwick's home life is anything to go by then the rewards of being a director are scant compensation for the pressure of their demanding wives.
But there are real dangers. Backstabbing and treachery lurk everywhere. Erroll, Sir Reginald's second son, is suspected of dirty work in the sacking of two directors. Bristow learns one day that Mr McMurtry, chief contender for Sales Director said something out of line and was shot down. "Funny sort of day, eh Mac" he comments to a man selling matches on the street corner that evening.
As for Pettigrew he features now and then, not so much for himself, but because he has a particularly attractive secretary. But in the arrangements for the 1970 dinner and dance he is fingered as guest of honour due to the unexpected non-availabilityof the firm's founder (and all of his family) which suggests he might be the MD. When he does finally make it, he does not however receive the respect due to one of his rank - strip 3965