Jonathan Creek Special.3 The Grinning Man (2008, TV) – 5/10 TV review

Cast / crew
Alan Davies: Jonathan Creek
Sheridan Smith: Joey Ross
Writer: David Renwick
Naomi Bentley: Mina
Nicholas Boulton: Lance Gessler
Jenna Harrison: Elodie
Ciarán McMenamin: Glen
Judy Parfitt: Constance Gessler
Katherine Parkinson: Nicola
Stuart Milligan: Adam Klaus
Producer: Nerys Evans
Director: David Renwick

Jonathan Creek Special.3 Grinning Man, The (2008)

Jonathan Creek teams up with paranormal debunker Joey Ross to solve a locked room mystery where one of her friends disappeared and is presumed dead. The room has a terrible history having dealt similarly with several previous overnight occupants and so Creek, not the police, bizarrely, is brought in by the house’s owner.


Writer David Renwick directs better than expected and manages to supply some decent nightmare-inducing atmosphere which makes you wish that you hadn’t watched this immediately before going to bed at 2:30 in the morning (which I did, gulp; he nearly does for baths what Hitchcock did for showers and a spooky painting doesn’t help matters). However, his complete loss of good taste, horribly exposed in Love Soup, is delivered here with an unnecessary and unpleasant 3D-porn ‘comic-relief’ plot and a two scenes of very unpleasantly graphic violence (a throat-cutting – insultingly passed off for a time as an emergency tracheotomy – and a clubbing). It may not sound like much spread over the gargantuan two-hour length but, as I’ve noted before about this show, Jonathan Creek should be the kind of thing that earns worldwide repeat fees on a Sunday afternoon for ever and a day like Columbo, Poirot or even the BBC’s own Doctor Who. Writer David Renwick appears to have run out of wit and so supplies the desperate-writer standbys of sex and violence (for example see all serial dramas ever made) to provide his garnishes.

This Jonathan Creek episode contains mild swear words, strong adult dialogue and graphic and gory violence and sexuality, inferred pornographic scene.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.


2 thoughts on “Jonathan Creek Special.3 The Grinning Man (2008, TV) – 5/10 TV review

  1. What really irked me was that nobody seemed particularily bothered when people died. One fellow’s wife dies then the next day he’s out cleaning the gutters and getting on as normal and Joey Ross didn’t seem to give two craps about her friend’s dissapearance after the first 5 minutes, even going to the theatre with Jonathan and his missus.

  2. Loved watching this! Great to see the addition of the versatile, young actress Sheridan Smith, whose convincing portrayal of the feisty Joey Ross, complemented the laid-back sleuthing skills of Alan Davies’s Creek. Possibly a bit too long, because of the inclusion of too many unnecessary characters, such as the respective lovers of the two leads, and also even Stuart Milligan and his strange ladyfriend. However, I thought that the opening sequences set the scene very well for the storyline, and David Renwick created a suitably scary, suspenseful atmosphere set in an ideal ‘Gothic’ mansion. Nine million people watched this episode, and I hope that the very many positive reviews from Jonathan Creek’s army of fans, will inspire the writer to continue with a new series.

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