For fans of hit TV show Improbable Island, when we hear the name "Ebenezer," we don't think Scrooge. We think of braces and brogues, a black necktie, spectacles, muttonchops, and a well-stuffed pocket protector. For the cameras and the audiences at home, the story began when Ebenezer landed on his naked arse in the grassy field outside of NewHome, along with all the other new contestants. But who was he before he was the stammering, neurotic accountant we've all come to love--or hate, as the case may be?
Immediately before his relocation to Improbable Island, Ebenezer lived in the upstairs of a London townhouse with a longhair ginger cat named Muffin as his roommate. His downstairs neighbour was one Eliza Pemberton, 96 years old this August. Mrs. Pemberton still occupies the downstairs of that townhouse, now surrounded in a tangle of weeds, tall grass, and overgrown shrubs. In a recent interview with Mrs. Pemberton, she said the following about her former neighbour: "[Ebenezer] was always such an obliging young man; cut the grass and trimmed the shrubs for me. I'm just too old to do it myself, nowadays. I loved to watch his bum as he pushed the trimmer. Such a handsome young man."
Muffin the cat, since relocated to the London home of Ebenezer's parents, has withheld comment.
It's been confirmed through Network sources that Ebenezer did, in fact, work as an accounting clerk, though the name of his employer remains undisclosed. Several former-coworkers of Ebenezer's have come forward to offer information. Among them is another long-term accountant, Mr. Biggersworth, aged 72. According to Mr. Biggersworth, he remembers Ebenezer as "A peculiar sort of bloke, with a real odd fixation on staplers, if you know what I mean....[Ebenezer] never did let me borrow his stapler. [He] said I'd jam it up or use it wrong or whatnot. He'd pack it up at night in his briefcase and take it home with him, I swear." Another employee of the financial department, who asked to be called Jessica, offered the following: "Ebenezer was a sub-par accountant who spent more time organizing his pencils than doing his job." Later in the interview, Jessica then admitted, "I did have a short fling with [Ebenezer], you might say, but that was before I was fully aware of his poor work ethic." When asked what she thinks of Ebenezer now, Jessica replied, "He does look rather good on telly, doesn't he? Better, perhaps, than he does in person."
Perhaps his professional performance can be explained further by an examination of his school days. In his youth, Ebenezer attended a private institution called Marcus and Barrister's School for Boys. Horace Osgood, a retired Headmaster from Marcus and Barrister's has said, "I don't remember anything about any boys named Ebenezer Anything. Are you sure he went to my school?" Current Marcus and Barrister's Headmaster, Bernard Spangler, confirmed through study of school records that Ebenezer did, in fact, attend Marcus and Barrister's during Osgood's days as Headmaster. Teacher notes found within these same school records describe a young Ebenezer as, "vastly better at calculations than he is at making friends," "intimidated by the brighter colours of crayons," and "a dismal failure [in physical education]." A chat with Edgar Pryce, one of Ebenezer's former maths teachers, yielded the following description of the young lad: "[Ebenezer] was incapable of sitting still in class and he always kept speaking out of turn. I had to tape his mouth, more than once, to keep him from blurting answers out prematurely in the middle of my lectures.... He often falsely claimed to have one illness or another, asking to go to the nurse. I remember, he claimed to have rickets one day, scarlet fever another. He'd say he was sure he had tuberculosis or appendicitis or hypochondria or Stockholm Syndrome. It would never end."
After leaving Marcus and Barrister's, Ebenezer gained what My Celebrity Fix Magazine has dubbed "The Most Boring Degree Known to Man:" BSc in Professional Accounting and Financial Management. A Professor Dervish came forward, claiming to have been one of Ebenezer's educators. When he spoke with me, he said, "I tell you, you never forget a student like that. He gave me a shiny red apple every day. He was top in my class and never got less than a hundred percent on every test. He was either exceptionally bright or he was cheating. Well, I'm not sure I want to think about which one is more likely. I've never had another student bring me an apple every day, you know. That's just unheard of."
I took to the streets in search of more information, whereupon I was confronted by a middle-aged homeless woman who wished to be called Stabbers. She had wild, unkempt hair and a wilder look in her unfocussed eyes and she would not relent until I promised to quote her in my article. Stabbers has informed me, "I robbed [Ebenezer] once, I did. I swears, it were him, it were. I says to him, I says, 'Give me your wallet, gov.' And he says something I don't understand none, for the stammering and all, and he gives me it, but it don't got no money in it, hardly. Were a big waste of time, it were."
At the end of the day, this reporter wonders if she knows any more about the alluring, impenetrable Ebenezer than she did before she began. There is so much left unexplained, unsaid, and unexplored. There is one thing I know for sure: I'll be keeping my eye on channel 11, eagerly waiting for the next episode of Improbable Island.
Felicity Dodderson, junior reporter for My Celebrity Fix Magazine.