WHEN Peter Pan was first created in the mind of author JM Barrie in the 1800s, he did not have his nemisis Captain Hook in his thoughts – but bizarrely theatre stagehands then changed history.
It has been discovered in the Scot’s notes that he originally saw no need for a villain in his story.
He considered Peter as a “demon boy” who could create his own chaos, without the need for a villain.
But when Barrie took the original show to theatre he had to give stagehands more time to switch scenery. He created a scene that could be performed at the front of the stage.
This scene featured a pirate ship and Captain Hook. The role soon expanded and the rest is history.
James Matthew Barrie was born at Kirriemuir in Forfarshire. He was the seventh child to David Barrie, a hand-loom weaver, and Margaret Ogilvie, the daughter of a stone-mason.
The death of Barrie’s elder brother David, was to have an effect of his life and work.
When he graduated in Scotland he was already writing theatrical reviews, and this led him to London in 1885 where he would produce his first plays.
Barrie produced numerous works featuring Peter Pan and in 1929, he allocated the rights to Peter Pan to Britain’s Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Dr Rosalind Ridley, Fellow Emerita at Newnham College, University of Cambridge, said that the Scots writer, who died almost 80 years ago had “an almost uncanny grasp” of human cognitive development four to eight decades before modern psychologists.
She said Barrie invented Peter Pan, first published in 1904, “to make some sense of his own emotional difficulties, to investigate the interplay between the world of facts and the world of imagination, and to rediscover the heightened experiences of infancy”.