"All right, pick me up at six. Literally!"― Humphrey to The Captain[src]
Humphrey Bone or Headless Humphrey was a Catholic Tudor nobleman who died after being accidentally beheaded. His body spends most of the time searching for his head rather unsuccessfully. His head is portrayed by Laurence Rickard, who also plays Robin, while his body is portrayed by Yani Xander.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 History
- 1.2 Death
- 2 Appearance
- 3 Personality
- 4 Quotes
- 5 Trivia
- 6 Behind the scenes
- 7 Notes
When Humphrey was fourteen, he entered into an arranged marriage to a twelve year old girl called Sophie from a French noble family. Sadly, they did not love each other and due to her being French there was something of a language barrier between them; she did not laugh at his jokes either. They had absolutely nothing in common and would have much rather had nothing to do with one another, meaning their marriage was simply for the union of their families and brought neither of them any joy.
At some point of the Tudor reign Henry VIII visited the house and dined there. The feast included swan and hog, though Humphrey mostly remembers that he 'stank out the privy', It is not mentioned if Henry was king or prince during his visit but it's more likely he'd have already been crowned, as Humphrey was around in the Elizabethan era in his late 30s or early 40s, suggesting Henry was in his last years of his reign, and he was likely a young child at the time. Humphrey reveals this to Alison when the television crew arrives to film 'The Life of Byron' at Button House in Free Pass; this so amazes her that she actually says 'wow' aloud.
Near the end of Humphrey's marriage and life, it was evident that no matter his wife's opinion of him he still wished to keep her happy, or at least entertained. This is evident from him asking her if there was anything she'd like to do, such as tapestry or archery. It is also clear that he had a wish to better communicate with her as he brings up the idea of her learning English thrice while suggesting hobbies for her, as well as attempting to talk to her by combining French and English words in his sentences. However, Sophie declined to learn English due to it being an 'ugly language'. She stated she wanted to begin a reading group though, which Humphrey encouraged by offering his chartroom for her group (it was implied that they mainly resided in their own 'end' of their house).
Humphrey did not attend the reading group. When the group arrived at night, Humphrey went out of his way to greet each of the attendees, doing so in French which none of them replied to. The attendees are shown to be English and did not trust Humphrey at first as during their meeting they asked Sophie about him: she told them he knew nothing to which a group goer replied, "Famously". Sophie showed some rare affection for her husband at that moment by affirming to her guests that Humphrey was a good man. Sophie also displayed a better grasp of the English language to her visitors than when she communicated with Humphrey. During the group meeting, it was quickly revealed that Sophie and her club were actually plotters against Elizabeth I - their meeting was to arrange an assassination of Elizabeth to place her Catholic cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots, on the throne. Once the meeting was over, Humphrey said goodbye to them all and went to tidy up his chartroom. In the process of doing so, he found a forgotten book but as he went to return it a letter fell out. Humphrey read this letter and immediately discovered the plot that had been secretly planned within his home by his wife. Before he could fully confront Sophie over it Her Majesty's Guard arrived to either arrest or kill the plotters. Sophie told Humphrey they had to leave immediately to escape, but Humphrey remained to block the door while she escaped, telling her to go and have the life that she actually asked for. Originally, Humphrey blocked the door with his body while Sophie fled but he eventually obstructed it with furniture while he looked for weapons. After ditching the idea of fighting with a candle and plates he tried for two swords hanging above a fireplace, but they did not shift. Instead, Humphrey hid within the chimney as the guards searched the house. Once he got out he purposefully bumped the fireplace which resulted in the swords swinging down and decapitating him. Two of the guards came across his body and one of them stated he was going to claim to have been the one to kill Humphrey.
In the present day, it's thought that Humphrey was the mastermind behind the plot, most likely due to the alleged fact that he died holding the letter of the plan in his hand. He is considered to have been a 'martyr' and 'hero' to the Catholic plot as well but whether he's aware of this is unclear, as when he's told he's famous he asks if it's for painting. A documentary was made about him at Button House.
Humphrey spends most of his time laying on either the floor or a table waiting for his body to finally stumble upon him and pick him up. Occasionally the other ghosts will move him upon request - though Thomas has then punted him for various reasons - but mostly is ignored and left on the floor. In Gorilla War he is discovered in Alison's bathroom cabinet though precisely how he gets there is never revealed. During Getting Out he is accidentally kicked by Kitty - who apologises - and comes to rest beside the large hole where Toby Nightingale had fallen through, he later asks Cap to move him but The Captain ignores him and walks off. Eventually Humphrey spots his body on the floor below and manages to throw himself through the hole into his body's lap where he is put back in his rightful place again; this is a short lived celebration for him though as the pigeon flutters around his face as he leaves the front door and knocks him off again.
While the ghosts discuss the day of Thomas' death in The Thomas Thorne Affair Humphrey mostly remembers it all by shoes since that's all he could see, this doesn't appear to have bothered him as he seems to have come to enjoy shoes and their styles. He spent the entirety of the day laying on the stairs where he saw almost everybody come passed Humphrey also witnessed Francis Button - Thomas' cousin - pen the fraudulent letters to Thomas and Isabelle Higham. Without him seeing this crucial detail it is unlikely Thomas would have ever known the true extent of his cousin's treachery.
When burglars break into Button House to steal the wedding equipment in Bump In The Night, Humphrey notices right away as the Captain has placed him on night look out duty; having been perched on the roof he had a perfect view of their van. Humphrey remarks 'ooh visitors' before questioning himself as to whether they're actually intruders, he reaches the conclusion they are intruders quickly and starts to shout out to his fellow ghosts, unfortunately Humphrey goes unheard due to the others having music club and Cap performing his rendition of 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary'. After the burglars have made their getaway he manages to throw himself off the roof where he lands outside the front door only to go completely ignored by everybody once again.
In Perfect Day Humphrey is forced to listen to Fanny's tirade regarding the sanctity of marriage since he physically can't leave. Once she's done he explains to her about his own marriage and how it was arranged for him, that they didn't love one another didn’t even like each other, this is what has Fanny rethinking her stance on the subject and helps her to realise that change and marring for love are improvements to marriage rather than a mockery. She decides to attend the wedding of two brides after all and returns Humphrey's head to his body so he can take part in the ceremony along with the other ghosts.
Humphrey's head is rather unremarkable, he has a goatee and moustache but otherwise has no identifying features. His body wears a fur lined, red coat over traditional Tudor dress, white stockings and black shoes as well as a ruff.
Humphrey is a very down to earth person who takes things as they come, he's kind to everybody and offers words of encouragement when possible. He usually doesn't take much part in the plots of the other ghosts though more because he is often left on the floor or a table and can't actively participate. He is the only one of the dead residents of Button House not to take any part in trying to get rid of Alison and Mike.
Humphrey's body and head appear to have begun to act independently of one another, including developing separate personalities (the body is shown to punch the head off after having it's relationship with Fanny ruined, for example).
- "Left a bit." (Getting Out)
- "Not just a pretty face." (The Thomas Thorne Affair)
- "Intruders!" (Bump In The Night)
- "There are burglars … but you know that." (Bump In The Night)
- "Oh, this is happening." (Perfect Day)
- "She was French, so..." (Perfect Day)
- "You gotta' love this house..." (The Bone Plot)
- In Free Pass when he is picked up by Thomas, he says 'whee' after telling Alison about Henry VIII.
- Due to him being just a head The Captain often puts him on night lookout duty which Humphrey begrudgingly agrees to. This is most notable in Bump In The Night.
- Seeing as his surname was Bone, it is presumed Button house was called Bone house before the Bone dynasty ended. This means Humphrey and Sophie either died childless, their descendants died childless or their descendants changed the name of the house after marrying, like with Isabelle Higham and Francis Button.
- Seeing as his wife was a devout Catholic who plotted against the Protestant Queen, it can be presumed Humphrey was Catholic as well. Mary seems to have been Catholic as well, which would imply if she was a servant that the family she served were Catholic. So it’s possible that after Humphrey died Bone House was given to a Catholic family (possibly the offspring of Humphrey and Sophie if they had any) and then belonged to Catholics until when the House became occupied by a group of Puritans.
Behind the scenes
- ↑ He reveals the details of the marriage to Fanny while she is trying to avoid the lesbian wedding in Perfect Day
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