All of this depends on the biographies of the main characters, which haven't been published. Writers need some kind of biographical outline of their characters but unless they're writing a complex novel it doesn't make sense to make them too detailed. In fact too much detail could stifle creative possibilities. What we need is to get an idea of the age of the characters to see if they could have fit into early Scouting. So let's see if we can read between the lines ...
We know Gordon is 17, born in 1924, and his involvement in Scouting is alluded to in "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?" and firmly established in "Royal Visit". But the facts about the other characters are not so well established.
- My first thought was that Charles was probably too old to be in Scouting. We know from "Careless Talk" that he had travelled to the Balkans in 1914. However, assuming he was at least 18 and probably in his early twenties at the time, that would make his birth before 1897 and leaves him about the right age (11-16) to become a Scout in 1907. Charles might be older, but he could still have been involved even if he was born as early as about 1890. That would put him between 44 and 51 in 1941. My guess is that he was born in 1892. This leaves the possibility of a 50th birthday party in 1942 and that he could have been one of the first Scouts at Brownsea Island! Both possibilities could provide fertile ground. Where would he sew on all those language strips?
- We know Josh is a Capricorn, but beyond that we have few clues as to how old he is. We know he's younger than Charles who was a professor when Josh attended school. We know a bit about his military family and father, the General, all of whom got to their positions without merit. I'll guess the General is very close to retirement age and that Josh was born in the few years just before WW I, say around 1911-1912. We know from "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?" that Josh is familiar with the Jungle Book; although, this is meager evidence. In any event, his Scouting experiences could be hilarious. Besides the series really could use a variety of other Josh gaffs.
- When Archie applied to Cambridge, he was rejected by Charles. I seem to recall this was given as
1927 (but I could be imagining it)1928 (as we find out in "Where Boffins Dare"). This would put Archie's birth around 1907 or later which would give him ample time to be a Scout. There is the issue of Archie's atheistic or agnostic non-belief and if it would have been a problem in early Scouting. However; he could easily have come to that after he started Scouting.
- We know virtually nothing about Winstanley's background. In fact, have we seen him since series one?
- Mrs. Best must be close to Charles in age. But is she younger or older? We know she was in Berlin in WW I and in Paris in the twenties. An early date for her birth would be about 1890. Girl Scouts came in 1909 but there was experimentation with (or at least debate around) girls in Scouting during the early years. I'd guess her birth was between 1890 and 1898. For her to be involved in the Girl Scouts, she'd need to have been born later in this time frame. Somehow, part of me wants to see that she and Charles share a birthday. While there are hilarious possibilities here, we've already had a reference to Mrs.B and BP.
- Lastly we have Minka. On one hand she doesn't seem all that familiar with Scouting having seen them as a junior defence league. But that could just be her tilted perspective. We know that Poland had a healthy pre-war Scouting movement. And there is a possible heroic role model for her in Olga Malkowskamay. Again, frighteningly hilarious possibilities exist.
I hope that James Cary will further explore Scouting connections in season three. I think there are some very funny possibilities here.