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ARE RUNAWAY DOGS CARRYING BUBONIC PLAGUE? The tranquil inhabitants of Lakeland, England's celebrated rural area of natural beauty, got a shock yesterday. The reason? It has now at last been revealed that, contrary to the bureaucratic silence hitherto preserved by Whitehall's Animal Research Station at Lawson Park, near Coniston, the mystery dogs who for some days past have been playing cops-and-robbers among the sheep and hens of local farmers, are in fact escapees from the Station's experimental pens. An official statement, issued two days ago by Animal Research, typically concealing as much as it informs the public, now says that on a date last month two dogs escaped. That tells little enough. But would they have told the public that much without the Orator? There are, therefore, THREE dogs involved, the third being--yes, you've guessed it! The public's watchdog, the London Orator, Britain's highest-selling daily paper.
~ Digby Driver posting a news article about Rowf and Snitter carrying the plague.

Digby Driver (born Kevin Gumm) is the central antagonist turned anti-hero of Richard Adams' 1978 novel The Plague Dogs, and a minor character in its 1982 animated film adaptation, where he is a female reporter named Lynn Driver. He is an unscrupulous journalist who works at the London Orator and is responsible for publishing articles about Rowf and Snitter carrying the bubonic plague. However, he eventually redeems himself and helped rescue the dogs when he learned the truth about Alan Wood being the owner of Snitter and how Ann Moss sold him to ARSE.

She was voiced by Penelope Lee in the film.

Personality

If anyone is being irresponsible, it's popular news media worrying the public with totally unfound tales about bubonic plague.
~ Dr. Boycott arguing with Digby Driver about his incompetence.
When he was a kid, Kevin wasn't raised properly by his parents and he would often misbehave, even going as far as to break into an old widow's shop and threaten her with violence. Instead of learning from his mistakes, he only wanted to avoid getting caught by the police. As he grew up, he learned of a terrible incident that recently happened and decided to become a journalist as he adopted the name of Digby Driver.

Digby Driver is presented as a greedy, amoral, and self-centered man who only posts headlines to advance his career, rather than telling the truth. When he met with Stephen Powell and learned about Rowf and Snitter's escape as well as Dr. Goodner's defense work on bubonic plague, he decided to come up with a plan to write an interesting story. When he blackmailed Dr. Goodner to reveal his details about his defense work, the ex-Nazi scientist informed him that his area is secured and that there is no way the dogs could have contracted the plague.

However, despite Goodner's advice, he went on to lie to the public by publishing an article about the two dogs carrying the plague, causing the public to go into a massive panic mode and want to kill the dogs. As he meets with Dr. Boycott and learns his motives for trying to ingore the fact that the dogs have escaped from their research station, he lashes out at him for being grossly irresponsible and reminds Stephen about what he told him about Goodner's work.

After recieving a letter from Alan Wood about his loss of Snitter, he redeems himself and confronts Ann Moss for selling the dog to the research station. He then shows Wood a photograph of Snitter and he helps him try to rescue Snitter as well as Rowf. After the two dogs were rescued, William Harbottle and the Under Secretary try to have the dogs killed, but he threatens to give them a bad reputation if they do so, showing how much he cares about the dogs.

History

Backstory

He was born in the late 1940s after World War II and was named Kevin by his mother Mavis Gumm. Despite his name not being christened as Kevin, he grew up with that name. Shortly after birth, his mother left him in care of his grandmother. Unfortunately, he never knew respect or fear from his parents or the school authorities. One day, he was sentenced to juvenile court at the age of 10 for breaking and entering an old widow's shop and threatening her with violence. This only taught him to avoid the police in order to avoid trouble, though. His parents have eventually decided to give up teaching him.

As he grew older, he became a dread against university authorities and eventually departed from his university to get a small job in journalism at the London Orator. After returning home, he heard about a Pakistani criminal who was arrested for violence and rape. This incident is what made him into the journalist he is known. He got material for special features on pornography and sexual night clubs, that he was given the new name of Digby Driver by the Orator's readers.

The Plague Dogs

After Snitter accidentally kills David Ephraim, the Government Department learn about the incident and argue over the situation. They suggest on sending Digby Driver to investigate and one of the civil servants named Desmond Simpson contacts him about the incident.

After Stephen Powell failed to retrieve Snitter from the Dawsons when the Tod helped him escape, Driver comes to their house and they explain the whole story to him. Driver and Powell then head to Gerald's bar and Powell explains the experiments that were performed on Rowf and Snitter. Powell chats with him about Dr. Goodner's history and defense work on bubonic plague.

After publishing an article about the incident at Dawson's, the barman directs him to the Research Station and he heads over there. He meets up with Tyson and he directs him to Dr. Goodner's office. He comes across Goodner and asks him about his defense work. Goodner explains the work on the plague and Driver claims that he won't publish any articles about the plague. However, he posted an article about the dogs carrying the plague, much to Dr. Boycott's shock.

Later, he has a conversation with farmer Dennis Williamson and he explains that the Research Station wouldn't tell him anything about the lost dogs. He calls Mary Longmire and decides to head to the Research Station. He then posts another news article about the A.R.S.E. keeping a secret about their dogs.

Later, he meets up with Ann Moss, the same woman who sold Snitter to the Research Station. He asks her about Snitter and she denies it. She then reveals Snitter's name, who was owned by her brother and claims that he had an aggressive nature. He asks her why she sold him to the A.R.S.E. and she claims that it was her brother-in-law's idea. The next day, he posts an article about Moss and how she sold Snitter to the Research Station.

After the two dogs raided Geoffrey Westcott's car, he calls Driver and reports about the incident. Westcott took photographs of the dogs and Driver agrees to meet him. He then posts an article about the dogs robbing Westcott's groceries with the photographs Westcott took as he does an interview with him. He then learns that Stephen Powell fell ill and is upset to learn about it. He eventually pays a visit to the Research Station and learns from Boycott that Stephen is still sick and leaves.

Stephen recovers and goes back to work. The next day, Driver comes to the Research Station and chats with Boycott about his experiments and the missing dogs wreaking havoc across the Lake District. He then lashes out at Boycott for being grossly irresponsible and Boycott and Stephen confront him for posting false information about the dogs. Driver reminds Stephen that he told him about Dr. Goodner's defense work and Stephen denies it. Boycott receives a call and Stephen picks up the phone. Stephen learns about the incident of Geoffrey Westcott's death and puts down the receiver. He then convinces Boycott that they should have a talk outside and they leave the room. Driver then leaves the laboratory and heads to the police station. He eventually posts a news article about Westcott's death and how Boycott refused to comment about the dogs.

He receives a call from a civil servant named Quilliam Skillicorn and learns that William Harbottle sent the military of the 3rd Battalion to hunt down and kill the dogs. While the two dogs are being hunted by the army, Driver receives a call from Ted Springer and tells him to come to Eskdale. Driver gets up and heads over to Eskdale. Upon arrival, he meets up with William Williamson and he tells him that Major Awdry and his army are on the fells.

Driver notices a letter that was written six days ago and reads it. He is shocked to see that it was written by Alan Wood, the man who adopted Snitter and that he didn't die in the accident. He then heads over to Ann Moss' house and confronts her for her deceitful actions. He interrogates her about why she sold Snitter to the Research Station and she explains that she hated the dog. He leaves the house and heads to the hospital where Wood is. He sees Wood and hands him the photograph of Snitter. Wood recognizes him and Driver agrees to help him find Snitter. They head out of the hospital and they come across the warden of the Drigg nature reserve, Major Rose. He directs them to Ravenglass and they head over there. However, upon arrival, Major Awdry tells them that the dogs are swimming out to sea and they spot them with his binoculars and he can do nothing, but watch the dogs drown.

However, two naturalists named Peter Scott and Ronald Lockley rescue the two dogs and haul them on the boat. They head over to the Drigg nature reserve, where they are happily reunited with Wood. Hot Bottle Bill and the Under Secretary arrive with guns and tell them to have the dogs shot. Major Awdry informs them that Wood is their lawful owner. Hot Bottle Bill is surprised, but insists on shooting the dogs. Major Awdry is reluctant to do so, but Major Rose confronts him and forces him to leave, telling him he has no right to be here and that it's illegal to use guns in his nature reserve. Harbottle begins to lose his patience, but Driver appears and threatens to have him sued, forcing him to leave. Harbottle orders the Under Secretary to deal with the matter, but Rowf chases him away and they flee in their motorcar as Driver takes photos, while shouting with joy. Wood and the two dogs leave the beach as Driver and Rose help him on the way. He explains that he hasn't felt on anyone's side in years and that Harbottle will look sillier than Boycott as he gazes at the beach.

Quotes

(Phyllis Dawson: I'm so sorry to keep you waiting.) No, it's alright-o. Fill it up, please. (Phyllis Dawson: As a matter of fact we've had a bit of a rumpus. Quite a to-do, while it lasted.) Really? (Phyllis Dawson: Early this morning some stray dogs broke in and upset our dustbins. Both the dogs had green collars. And they say that means they come from the Coniston research place. We had one of them shut up in the shed, and a young gentleman come over from Coniston, with a policeman. Positive identification, aight. But he got away.) Yes, of course. (Phyllis Dawson: The dog I mean.) Say though, won't the dogs come back? (Police Officer: We'll try to see that they don't. Their sheep-killing's a nasty business.) Could've read about that in the paper. Something to do with a man being killed, wasn't there? (Stephen Powell: I still need to get a proper look at him.) (Phyllis Dawson: They both had green collars on.) (Vera Dawson: Did you not see that one, as it was pushing itself through the drain hole? Kind of a terrier, it was. With that terrible gash.) (Phyllis Dawson: And I don't know where a dog could come by such a cut-across head as that terrier had... except by... well, by vivisection, if that's the right word. It was a terrible sight!) (Stephen Powell: Well it had just about got away by the time we got there, so I really didn't get a good look.)
~ Digby (Lynn) Driver being told by Phyllis and Stephen about the incident of Snitter's escape.
I'm heading towards Coniston, Mr. Powell. I'd be happy to give you a lift. (Stephen Powell: Oh well, uh... that's most kind of you. Thank you very much, Miss...) Driver, Lynn Driver.
~ Digby (Lynn) Driver offering Stephen Powell a ride back to the Research Station.
But if the dogs were from the lab, they couldn't have been in good enough physical condition to kill sheep, could they? (Stephen Powell: Well, I'm not so sure about that. 732 was a biggish labrador, and strong. We were doing some survival endurance tests with it. Doing fantastic times.) And the other dog? (Stephen Powell: Um well I... I wouldn't think it's likely to be alive, much less out killing sheep. It had a pretty drastic operation a short while before it escaped.) What sort of operation? (Stephen Powell: A brain operation. Something quite new, I think. Confusing the subjective with the objective in the animal's mind. I think that's right. I wasn't all that involved in it. Terrible waste, you know. All that work down the drain. Now we'll never know if it was successful.) I suppose there are compensations, defense contrasts, hush-hush stuff? (Stephen Powell: No I don't get that sort of work. Goodner's the chap for that.)
~ Digby (Lynn) Driver discussing Rowf and Snitter's experiments with Stephen Powell.
Lakeland shopkeeper Phyllis Dawson was awakened early yesterday by two dogs, which have recently been causing havoc with farmers around Dunnerdale, in the heart of the Lake District. Scientist Stephen Powell, hastening 18 miles from the Lawson Park Animal Research Station, arrived too late to... (Robert Lindsay: Accidental death? Aw, well that's all he could've found. Couldn't have found nothin' else, Dennis, could he?) (Dennis Williamson: He never said nothin' about a dog though, did he? But it was a bloody dog, brought it about.) (Robert Lindsay: Well, Coroner couldn't bring that up. No evidence. And even if he had, they'd still call it accidental death, wouldn't they?) (Dennis Williamson: Aye, but if the Coroner had pinned blame fair and square on the dogs, then the police should have sommit. Go out, find 'em and shoot 'em. The way it's been left now, we could lose a couple more sheep tonight, and three next week, an' nobody'd give a damn.) ...Are these dogs indeed a public danger, as local farmers haughtily maintain, or are they wrongly blamed? This is Lynn Driver, reporting from Coniston.
~ Digby (Lynn) Driver broadcasting on TV about the incident of Snitter's escape.
(Harry Tyson: I don't have nothing to do with it. It's secret, like I told ya.) Do you have any idea what he does? (Harry Tyson: He works in a special place, like, an' it's kept locked. But I do know it's got to do with rats. Dr. Goodner were talking to me about dispose of the beasts' bodies, and I've seen a letter at his office. It were from government, and marked "secret".)
~ Digby (Lynn) Driver asking Harry Tyson about Dr. Goodner's defense work.
(Editor: There have been new developments in the plague dogs over the Lake District. Here, from the scene, is our reporter, Lynn Driver.) We have with us Geoffrey Westcott, who was attacked by the dogs, which have been terrifying Lakeland for the past four weeks. Mr. Westcott, can you tell us exactly what happened? (Geoffrey Westcott: I'd just got out of the car, for a minute, about five miles north of Dunmail Raise, when all of the sudden, I saw these dogs. Mad dogs, and that's what they were. There were two of them, both wild and ferocious as wolves! I don't know if plague sends its victims mad, but I wouldn't be surprised.) And did these dogs attack you? (Geoffrey Westcott: Not me exactly, but my car. They took everything edible. I happened to have my pocket camera with me, so I was able to get some photos.) These are the photos Mr. Westcott took. You can just make out the numbers on the collars. With the help of these photos, we've been able to verify that these are indeed the dogs accused of killing sheep and other livestock in the Lake District. But are these the dogs from Lawson Park research station, as these collars appear to confirm? And if so, what's so secret that for nearly three weeks the authorities there denied these animals escaped? This is Lynn Driver reporting from the Lake District.
~ Digby (Lynn) Driver interviewing with Geoffrey Westcott after the two dogs raided his groceries and showing the photos he took.
(Dr. Boycott: We're certainly not denying that two dogs got out. We said as much in an early press release, but, what happened to them after that, I'm afraid I can't tell you.) You'll forgive me, Dr. Boycott, if I can't help feeling that that's just a shade lacking in... well, frankness. (Dr. Boycott: Now, when we say something here, it's always 100% reliable. But, for all practical purposes...) Would you care to amplify that a little? (Dr. Boycott: No, I don't think I would. It's really a matter between the local hill authority and the responsible government. If they're not bothered...) Not bothered? (Dr. Boycott: They're not bothered that any risk of bubonic plague exists. Now, if you want to know more than that... [telephone rings] Excuse me, please. Dr. Boycott. You're sure it was one of ours? The green collar? Um, yes, I'll... I'll ring you back. Yes, immediately. And someone will be down the station straight away.)
~ Digby (Lynn) Driver discussing with Dr. Boycott about the dogs.

Gallery

Images

Videos

Trivia

  • In the film, he was replaced by a female reporter named Lynn Driver and she was significantly less jerkish than her book counterpart.
  • In the book, Driver redeems himself and helps Wood rescue Rowf and Snitter. However, in the film, Driver didn't redeem herself and Wood was dead after the accident.
  • In the book, Digby confronts Boycott for being grossly irresponsible. However, in the film, Lynn does not do that and Powell was the one who received the call about the incident of the dogs eating the corpse of the hunter who fell to his death in Dow Crag.
  • In the film, Lynn has a dog. However, in the book, Digby never had a dog with him.
  • Although Dr. Boycott is the main antagonist, Digby drives the plot of the film as he was responsible for most of the dogs' predicaments and the belief of them carrying the plague.

See Also

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Animated Features
Blue Meanies (Chief Blue Meanie & Max) | Suckophant | Jenner | Dragon | NIMH | Dr. Boycott | Lynn Driver | Under Secretary | William Harbottle | Dr. Goodner | Ackland | Mok Swagger | The Demon | Schlepper Brothers | Mutants | Carface Carruthers | Killer | Hellhound | Grand Duke of Owls | Hunch | Pinky | Frog Bouncers | Drake | Red | Emperor Maltazard | King Malbert | Dr. Schadenfreude | Jaclyn | Monsters | Dr. Glickenstein | Moriarty | Reggie and Ronnie | Margaux Needler

Direct-To-Video Features
Martin Brisby | Dr. Valentine | Muriel and Floyd | Belladonna | Injurin' Joe

Live Action Films
India Wilkes | Roger Furness | Sergeant Bauer | Pawnee | Corporal Spivey | Corporal Edwards | Curley

Shorts
The Little Man | Blue Aardvark

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Animated Features
Watership Down: General Woundwort | Efrafa (Vervain and Campion) | Tab
The Plague Dogs: Dr. Boycott | Lynn Driver | Under Secretary | William Harbottle | Dr. Goodner | Ackland

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