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Basil Fotherington-Thomas is a classic fictional character in a series of books by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle starring the archetypal English prep school boy of the 1950s, Nigel Molesworth, who is the supposed author.
Nigel is a schoolboy at St Custard's, a fictional (and terrible) prep school located in a carefully unspecified part of England. Nigel's spelling is extremely uneven, a feature found endearing by fans. This extends to Fotherington-Thomas's name: Nigel always misspells it 'Fotherington-Tomas'.
Whilst Nigel epitomises the worthy inky and earthy school boy, Fotherington-Thomas is the opposite, being an effete and loathed sissy. Fotherington-Thomas is reported to bear a certain resemblance to Little Lord Fauntleroy; whilst he is also a student at St. Custard's school, he is regularly dismissed as a being a 'gurl' and a sissy by Molesworth due to his curly blond locks and his questionable tendency to skip around the school saying such things as "hullo clouds, hullo sky". In several footballing scenes in the books, Fotherington-Thomas plays in goal. He is a surprisingly talented tennis-player.
- Fotherington-Thomas also occasionally appears as a name in Private Eye magazine, usually as a pupil of the spoof public school St. Cake's.
- In the The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume III: Century part 2 Paint it Black we see Fotherington-Thomas in 1969. He is the Brian Jones of the League universe, and was in a band with Turner, the League's Mick Jagger. Basil engages in sexual acts with Wolfe from Villain shortly before being drowned in his swimming pool by occultists.
- In the short story collection Back in the USSA by Kim Newman and Eugene Byrne he appears in the story Teddy Bear's Picnic as the analogue of Colonel Kurtz from Apocalypse Now. "Hello clouds, hello sky, hello pile of severed human heads."
Books featuring Fotherington-Thomas
- Down with Skool (1953)
- How to be Topp (1954)
- Whizz for Atomms (1956)
- Back in the Jug Agane (1959)
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