Alumni Services

Edinburgh's Fictional Alumni

Over the past couple of weeks we have been asking our online community of alumni to suggest their fictional counterparts. Some fantastic examples emerged and so here are our pick of our fictional Edinburgh alumni.

One Day

Edinburgh’s most famous fictional graduates, in terms of how often they were suggested, appear to be Dexter and Emma, the couple who encounter each other at graduation and whose lives and relationship are chronicled by David Nicholls in his 2009 novel ‘One Day’. The fact that the novel was made into a film, starring recent Oscar winner Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, means that this alumni romance is hard to miss and dominated our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Beyond One Day

There are more understated and less obvious examples including Gideon Mack - suggested by alumnus Aran Ward Sell via Twitter. The Testament of Gideon Mack is a novel written by the Scottish author James Robertson. First published in 2006, it tells the story of a contemporary minister of the Church of Scotland, Gideon Mack, whose relatively liberated university days in Edinburgh are a precursor to trials and turmoil as the character battles with inner and outer demons and the nature and perception of belief.

Medical School inspiration

Professor Challenger

The medical school appears to provide a rich source of inspiration with fictional graduates ranging from Giles Foden’s young Scottish doctor, Nicholas Garrigan in his novel ‘The Last King of Scotland’, to Donald "Ducky" Mallard the Medical Examiner portrayed by David McCallum in the US television drama NCIS.

Another example from a non-fictional alumnus Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is his Zoology graduate Professor Challenger. Unlike Conan Doyle’s more famous and more cerebral creation Sherlock Holmes, George Edward Challenger is a barrel chested adventurer who first appears in the 1912 novel ‘The Lost World’. Like Holmes, Challenger has been portrayed several times on screen including by Claude Rains, John Rhys-Davies and, most recently, Bob Hoskins in a 2001 television film.

Other suggestions

Other suggestions included Alex, geology and engineering graduate from Iain Banks’ 'The Bridge', Mitch Laidlaw, a recurring character in Quintin Jardine's crime series and, most randomly, the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) who claims to have gained a PhD in psychiatry from the University.

Who have we missed?

We have probably missed some really great examples so please email us with your fictional alumni and we will report back in next month's newsletter.

Pretty sure, for example, that there has to be a character in the novels of Ian Rankin. Someone from Strip Jack is our nearest identification. Are there any Rebus aficionados out there?

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