Lord John Roxton
Lord John Roxton (a fictional title derived from the English parish of Roxton, Bedfordshire) is a supporting character in the Professor Challenger series of stories by Arthur Conan Doyle. He makes his initial appearance in the first entry of this series, The Lost World, wherein he is a member of the expedition to the eponymous land of the title, and is a prominent character in some of the subsequent stories as well, specifically The Poison Belt and The Land of Mist. The narrator of The Lost World, Edward D. Malone, describes him as being tall and thin, with peculiarly rounded shoulders, skin which is "a rich flower-pot red from sun and wind" and cool, masterful blue eyes. Malone compares him to Don Quixote and Napoleon III as well as to the quintessential English sporting gentleman. Roxton greets the prospect of visiting the Lost World with delight, largely because of the prospect of bringing home a dinosaur as a hunting trophy:
...a sportin' risk, young fellah, that's the salt of existence. Then it's worth livin' again. We're all gettin' a deal too soft and dull and comfy. Give me the great waste lands and the wide spaces, with a gun in my fist and somethin' to look for that's worth findin'. I've tried war and steeplechasin' and aeroplanes, but this huntin' of beasts that look like a lobster-supper dream is a brand-new sensation.—The Lost World, ch. 6
Roxton has travelled the world, as a hunter in addition to his pursuits as an explorer in the main bodies of the novels. Being an enemy of slavery, he made enemies in Brazil in his campaign against that institution, a fact which comes into play over the course of the plot of The Lost World.
The titular "lost world" is located on a remote South American plateau, accessed by using a felled tree as a bridge across a vast sheer drop. When Lord John Roxton and the other members of his expedition use this makeshift bridge to enter the Lost World, Roxton is the only one who takes the easier but more dangerous option of walking across it; all the others sit astride the tree trunk and inch their way across.
- John Roxton is also the name of a character used by the late Michael Crichton in his book The Lost World. Roxton is mentioned on page 19 as an "enthusiastic fund-raiser" looking for fossils in Mongolia.
- Roxton features in Philip Jose Farmer's fictional biography of Tarzan, Tarzan Alive, where it is claimed that he is a descendant of Lord Byron.
- Roxton is a supporting character in the novelette The Found World in the collection Miss Wildthyme and Friends Investigate by Jim Smith.
- Roxton appears briefly as a supporting character in the Doctor Who New Adventures novel All-Consuming Fire by Andy Lane
All film/TV depictions of Roxton have been in adaptations of The Lost World.
- In the first, silent film version, Roxton, a knight instead of a lord, was played by Lewis Stone.
- The 1960 remake featured Michael Rennie as Lord John Roxton.
- In 1997, a radio-style drama of The Lost World was produced for audio cassette/compact disc release by Alien Voices, with John de Lancie as Lord John Roxton.
- A direct-to-video adaptation of 1998 saw Lord John Roxton embodied by David Nerman.
- In a 1999 made-for-cable movie and the syndicated television series which followed it, William Snow portrayed Lord John Richard Roxton.
- A 2001 BBC miniseries adaptation had Tom Ward as John Roxton.
- Another direct-to-video film, the unrecognizably loose (but for Conan Doyle's character names) King of the Lost World, included actor Rhett Giles as a man called John Roxton.
- Surprisingly, the 1992 adaptation and its simultaneously filmed sequel, Return to the Lost World, left Roxton out of their plots.