Jonathan Creek s03e05 Miracle in Crooked Lane (1999) – 7/10 black comedy crime mystery TV drama review

AmazonBuy Miracle in Crooked Lane at Amazon

Cast / crew
Jonathan Creek: Alan Davies
Maddy Magellan: Caroline Quentin
Executive Producer and Writer: David Renwick
Benjamin Whitrow: Rupert Clifford-Wright
Dinah Sheridan: Kathleen Gilmore
Nicholas Ball: Vincent Rees
Hetty Baynes: Jacqui
Tom Goodman-Hill: Jeff
Emma Kennedy: Christine
Producer: Verity Lambert
Director: Richard Holthouse

Jonathan Creek s03e05 Miracle in Crooked Lane (1999)

Still reeling from meeting the Jonathan Creek fan club, Jonathan looks into the miraculous appearance of a woman having a chat with a neighbour; only the woman was in a coma in hospital at the time.

7/10

Quickly dismissing the idea of a doppelganger, this solution falls into the genre of trick that takes a huge amount of work to produce the desired effect. As such, the solution is pretty difficult to predict and, indeed, the misdirection regarding the crime impressively complete. Creek gets to meet his terrifying fan club while the best scene is him disappearing from in front of someone’s eyes in the middle of a field (a trick that only works on TV, though, as in real-life we have ears). Maddy and Creek also wind up having sex (off-screen, thankfully) which is, as the characters themselves acknowledge, all wrong.

This Jonathan Creek episode contains mild swear words, adult dialogue, nudity, gun violence

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Links

Jonathan Creek s03e04 Ghost’s Forge (1999) – 6/10 black comedy crime mystery drama TV review

AmazonBuy Ghost’s Forge at Amazon

Cast / crew
Jonathan Creek: Alan Davies
Maddy Magellan: Caroline Quentin
Writer: David Renwick
Lysette Anthony: Mimi Tranter
Gina Bellman: Samantha
Stuart Milligan: Adam Klaus
Producer: Verity Lambert
Director: Richard Holthouse
Executive Producer: David Renwick

Jonathan Creek s03e04 Ghost’s Forge (1999)

Creek looks into the 18-month-old case of the death of Ezra Carr, found knifed in the back in his mansion Ghosts Forge. The motive of burglary had been dismissed as all Carr’s valuables were still intact but, to be honest, Jonathan’s only investigating because Maddy’s charming and beautiful friend Mimi Tranter fluttered her eyelashes and asked him.

6/10

Two mysteries for the price of one this week as Creek investigates an 18-month-old murder and the mysterious disappearance of Maddy in an empty upstairs bedroom. The latter is more convincing while the former comes up with a simple enough explanation of the crime itself but a fearsomely complicated and unconvincing explanation for the aftermath. Lysette Anthony’s big eyes and lovely legs provide much for Maddy to entertainingly seeth over and Renwick delivers a before-it’s-time gag regarding giving someone who doesn’t understand the language a gift with an insulting Japanese phrase on it. Curious to note that the title card of the show is spelt wrong, i.e., with an apostrophe.

This Jonathan Creek episode contains adult dialogue, sexuality, sexual violence, knife violence

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Links

Jonathan Creek 3.03 The Omega Man (1999) – 7/10 black comedy crime drama TV review

Cast / crew
Alan Davies: Jonathan Creek
Caroline Quentin: Maddy Magellan
Writer: David Renwick
John Shrapnel: Prof. Lance Graumann
Michael Brandon: Captain Frank Candy
Producer: Verity Lambert
Director: Keith Washington
Executive Producer: David Renwick

Jonathan Creek 3.03 Omega Man, The (1999)

Maddy gets a scoop on the discovery of an extra-terrestrial skeleton but the U.S. Army swoops in and takes the evidence for themselves. When they return to the base, however, and open the truck, the skeleton has disappeared.

7/10

There are some nice jokes and you’ll never guess precisely how the alien skeleton disappeared but your first thought won’t be too far off the mark. (SPOILER You’ll probably think of an ice statue that melts but it’s clearly not ice; it is frozen mercury which becomes liquid at room temperature.)

This Jonathan Creek episode contains mild swear words.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

Jonathan Creek s03e02 The Eyes of Tiresias (1999) – 8/10 black comedy crime drama TV review

AmazonBuy The Eyes of Tiresias at Amazon

Cast / crew
Jonathan Creek: Alan Davies
Maddy Magellan: Caroline Quentin
Writer: David Renwick
Margery Mason: Audrey Panguitch
Rebecca Front: Heidi
Diana Weston: Delia Masson
Producer: Verity Lambert
Director: Keith Washington
Executive Producer: David Renwick

Jonathan Creek s03e02 The Eyes of Tiresias (1999)

An elderly woman has a dream that eerily and exactly predicts the circumstances and sounds of a man’s death. This is shortly followed by another dream and similar death. Now thoroughly unnerved, her next dream causes real terror: it is her own bloody death by a one-eyed man.

8/10

This is one of those mysteries with a remarkably convoluted but plausible solution (that you’ll never guess, naturally). That’s not to condemn it, however; it is gleefully unlikely and coincidental but makes perfect sense (though Creek does rather gloss over breaking into an old woman’s house and hopes no-one noticed). Aside from that, this episode has some wonderful side story lines for both Creek (who manages to expose himself in front of a film camera – "there’s still some wobble") and Maddy (who gets a brilliantly unexpected gag; will you notice before the reveal?).

This Jonathan Creek episode contains non-sexual nudity, sensuality, gory gun violence, gory and unpleasant scenes

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Links

Jonathan Creek 3.01 The Curious Tale of Mr Spearfish (1999) – 8/10 black comedy crime drama TV review

Cast / crew
Alan Davies: Jonathan Creek
Caroline Quentin: Maddy Magellan
Writer: David Renwick
Andrew Tiernan: Lenny Spearfish
Rachel Power: Alice Spearfish
Griff Rhys Jones: Jeremy Sangster
Stuart Milligan: Adam Klaus
Producer: Verity Lambert
Director: Keith Washington
Executive Producer: David Renwick

Jonathan Creek 3.01 Curious Tale of Mr Spearfish, The (1999)

Jonathan and Maddy meet the Spearfish’s who have recently had a remarkably turn of luck and come into a fortune. Lenny Spearfish reveals why: he signed his soul over to the Devil. Putting it down as creepy but coincidental, Jonathan and Maddy are astonished when shortly afterward Lenny survives being shot twice in the chest as the bullets bounced off him leaving only burn marks on his flesh and holes in his shirt. Is he under satanic protection?

8/10

This is a thoroughly intriguing mystery but the explanation, though it works, is just ever so slightly unconvincing (and there’s a definite bit of cheating going on with the air taser). The side plot featuring Adam Klaus defending a salacious accusation of improper conduct is fun and even has a cunning punchline. Content-wise, this is a bit more troublesome than a lot of the previous episodes as it features an unexpectedly bloody murder and some sado-masochistic sexuality; the former used as an unnecessary visual shortcut to show the murder was real (it doesn’t convince us of that at all; a couple of lines later on do that) and the latter is used as a clever explanation of part of the mystery.

This Jonathan Creek episode contains adult dialogue, mild swear words and unexpectedly gory gun violence, gory and unpleasant scenes and brief sado-masochistic sexuality.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Links

Jonathan Creek 1998 Christmas Special Black Canary (1998) – 7/10 black comedy crime drama TV review

Cast / crew
Alan Davies: Jonathan Creek
Caroline Quentin: Maddy Magellan
Writer: David Renwick
Rik Mayall: D.I. Gideon Pryke
Hannah Gordon: Marella Carney
Kate Isitt: Charlotte
Francis Matthews: Jerry Bellinitus
Murray Melvin: Lionel Prekopp
Stuart Milligan: Adam Klaus
Producer: Verity Lambert
Director: Sandy Johnson

Jonathan Creek Xmas 1998 Black Canary (1998)

Maddy and Creek investigate the suicide of the mother of an old flame of Jonathan’s but there are complications. First of all the last person to be seen talking to her left no footprints in 4-inch deep snow, secondly the fatal shotgun wound to the head, according to pathology reports, happened five hours before it was witnessed happening and third, she was already dead from an overdose of drugs. Fortunately, the police detective assigned, D.I. Gideon Pryke, appears to have a bit of savvy and may not even need Jonathan’s help in solving the mystery.

7/10

Renwick’s ability to come up with small pieces of business that add flavour and interest to his already intriguing plots is unmatched. The first is the gender of a sergeant, the second being Rik Mayall as that most unusual of characters in the amateur-detective series, an intelligent police official. On top of these two main themes, there are many other things to enjoy; Jonathan Creek’s magician ogling a young costumier, his frog suit, his trip to hospital; Creek locking his car door when he sees an enormous ugly man walk up to the car next to him; a suitably horrific saw-the-woman-in-half trick that goes bloodily wrong. The spark of life that is supposed to be delivered by Caroline Quentin (and is not) has obviously been playing on the mind of writer / executive producer David Renwick and producer Verity Lambert and the solution proved to be the casting of Rik Mayall as an intelligent and as-clever-as-Creek police official. He pops up, smarms, charms and grins his way around the screen; an irrepressible ball of energy. Also of note in the cast is Sanjeev Bhasker as the doctor who has the pleasure of delivering the film’s final and, perhaps, best gag to round things off nicely.

This Jonathan Creek episode contains adult dialogue and gory and unpleasant scenes, extremely horrific scenes (more so than you’re expecting with a pg), very strong gun violence, attempted suicide.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

Jonathan Creek 4.05 The Chequered Box (2003) – 6/10 black comedy crime drama TV review

Cast / crew
Alan Davies: Jonathan Creek
Julia Sawalha: Carla Borrego
Writer: David Renwick
Adrian Edmondson: Brendan Baxter
Colin McFarlane: Inspector Fell
Stuart Milligan: Adam Klaus
Producer: Verity Lambert
Director: Sandy Johnson

Jonathan Creek 4.05 Chequered Box, The (2003)

As Adam Klaus tries to get in on the endurance magic craze, Creek ambles about his daily life and Carla is following a local police inspector around with her camera. Then Creek learns that a local journalist has taken photos of the inspector removing self-incriminating evidence from the scene of a murder.

6/10

This episode doesn’t start well with a broken gag involving a train vibrating a coffin with Adam Klaus inside and a macabre but lame joke involving decapitated motorcyclists. Macabre but clever, macabre but intriguing, macabre but funny are all fine. Macabre but lame is not. While the murder plots are clever, the contents of the chequered box are unconvincing and this episode appears to be where Renwick dumped all his weakest gags.

This Jonathan Creek episode contains mild swear words and extremely unpleasant scenes.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Links

Jonathan Creek s04e04 The Seer of the Sands (2003) – 7/10 black comedy crime drama TV review

AmazonBuy The Seer of the Sands at Amazon

Cast / crew
Jonathan Creek: Alan Davies
Carla Borrego: Julia Sawalha
Writer: David Renwick
Adrian Edmondson: Brendan Baxter
Lorelei King: Geraldine Vaccara
Jonathan Kydd: Mickey Daniels
Eve Polycarpou: Andonea
Producer: Verity Lambert
Director: Sandy Johnson

Jonathan Creek s04e04 The Seer of the Sands (2003)

(from official web site)

Justin Mallory – “ghost hunter” and investigator into the spirit world – is a man dedicated to exposing fraud and exploitation in all its forms. But when he dies in a tragic boating accident and his body mysteriously disappears, is it possible that he has been wrong, and that his spirit is desperately trying to communicate with his lover Geraldine? Once again, Jonathan Creek and Carla Borrego try to solve the mystery.

7/10

The plot and gags are fiendishly imaginative and unpredictable but one wonders why we had to have an F-word, courtesy of the inexplicable source of most of this series’ unpleasantness, Adam Klaus. Yet the mix of the incredibly macabre and the very funny is probably at it’s apex in this episode. The SPOILER dwarf bodyguard is a great gag in itself but it leads to a gag so macabre, so unexpected, so grimly funny, it really is awesome. Additionally, revelations about how street magicians do their business and the difference between the reality and the edited television presentation are enlightening.

This Jonathan Creek episode contains a single sexual swear word, bad language, unpleasant scenes, macabre scenes

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

Links

Jonathan Creek 4.03 The Tailor’s Dummy (2003) – 7/10 black comedy crime drama TV review

Cast / crew
Alan Davies: Jonathan Creek
Julia Sawalha: Carla Borrego
Writer: David Renwick
Adrian Edmondson: Brendan Baxter
Maureen Lipman: Louise Bergman
Nicholas Jones: Claude Bergman
Jill Baker: Donna Henry
Victoria Shalet: Carrie Bergman
Bill Bailey: Kenny Starkiss
Producer: Verity Lambert
Director: Christine Gernon

Jonathan Creek 4.03 Tailor’s Dummy, The (2003)

When a leading but aging fashion designer throws himself out of an upper storey window to his death, presumably after reading an extremely harsh review, it is viewed as a tragedy. The grieving family, however, take matters into their own hands and force the journalist to literally eat her own words at gunpoint. At one point, the gunman has to remove his mask after an allergic reaction to some flowers in her room and can be clearly identified as Claude Bergman, the designer’s son. When the gunman is apprehended leaving the room, however, the mask is removed to reveal not Claude but an unknown black man.

7/10

A couple of sweet gags are icing on the cake of a really solid episode with two mysteries, both wonderfully ingenious, with one serving as an audience misdirection for the other. He presents the audience with all the same clues as Creek but you’re not going to determine all the answers. However, Renwick does include a slightly odd white slavery subplot (featuring Bill Bailey) to fill the time and, most oddly, he resolves it in favour of the baddies.

This Jonathan Creek episode contains mild swear words and repeated graphic suicide jump including impact and some genuinely world class décolletage.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Links

Jonathan Creek 4.02 Angel Hair (2003) – 7/10 black comedy crime drama TV review

Cast / crew
Alan Davies: Jonathan Creek
Julia Sawalha: Carla Borrego
Writer: David Renwick
Adrian Edmondson: Brendan Baxter
Jack Dee: Dudley Houseman
Sophie Thompson: Dorothy Moon
Tamsin Greig: Pam
Caroline Carver: Sally Ellen Oakley
Producer: Verity Lambert
Director: Christine Gernon

Jonathan Creek 4.02 Angel Hair (2003)

When a jealous wife drags her love rival across the lawn by her long, blonde hair it makes the discovery of a video tape of her own faked kidnapping utterly baffling. It was clearly recorded just a day or two earlier and she has all her beautiful long, blonde hair shorn off.

7/10

Rather more fun than the previous episode, this is decent entertainment. The unexpected gags this time are really, really good (SPOILER they both involve ventriloquist’s dummies) while the kidnapping plot is good enough and the sideplot with a woman (Tamsin Greig) on the rebound from losing her dog is excellent fun. Jack Dee struggles as a morose adulterous husband who married a musical sex icon but doesn’t get to see that when she gets home and takes her make-up off and puts her baggy clothes on. It’s a really interesting topic but Dee’s unconvincing performance overwhelms the thought-provoking reality.

This Jonathan Creek episode contains strong adult dialogue, mild swear words and violence and sexuality.

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

Links

Jonathan Creek 4.01 The Coonskin Cap (2003) – 5/10 black comedy crime drama TV review

Cast / crew
Alan Davies: Jonathan Creek
Julia Sawalha: Carla Borrego
Writer: David Renwick
Adrian Edmondson: Brendan Baxter
Terence Hillyer: Inspector Ted Parnevik
Anna Wilson Jones: Sergeant Heather Davey
Stuart Milligan: Adam Klaus
Producer: Verity Lambert
Director: Christine Gernon

Jonathan Creek 4.01 Coonskin Cap, The (2003)

Jonathan is hired by a real-crime television show where an invisible gunman takes shots at the filming of a recreation at a murder victim’s last steps. The show’s presenter is Carla Borrego, an old flame whom he managed to alienate by saying something horrible to her father.

5/10

Feeling tired, this episode gets the fourth series off to a weak start. New star Julia Sawalha convinces as the irritated ex but not as much else and there’s rather more swearing than before. However, the murder itself is still cunningly conceived. There are also some brilliantly unexpected gags including being told about Adam Klaus’ date picking Bryan Ferry’s nose and, particularly, an airbag but the streaker is remarkably unfunny and the explanation for Jonathan’s perceived insult of Carla’s father is weak.

This Jonathan Creek episode contains a sexual swear word, mild swear words and unpleasant scenes and sensual scenes, full non-sexual male nudity.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Links

Jonathan Creek s02e06 Mother Redcap (1998) – 8/10 black comedy crime drama TV review

AmazonBuy Mother Redcap at Amazon

Cast / crew
Jonathan Creek: Alan Davies
Maddy Magellan: Caroline Quentin
Writer: David Renwick
Brian Murphy: Ken Speed
Nicola Walker: WPC Fay Radnor
Producer: Verity Lambert
Director: Keith Washington
Executive Producer: David Renwick

Jonathan Creek s02e06 Mother Redcap (1998)

A judge is precisely stabbed to death inside his bedroom while guarded outside the door by two police officers. Bars on the windows prevent any other way in and the police are seriously investigating an assassin who can disappear into thin air.

8/10

With two fun baffling cases to sort out squished into a single episode, this Creek is a good one. Renwick still finds time for the unusual gag as one of the characters is a nudist (and apparently they like to live half-a-dozen to a house) and another sticks her tongue out when she eats which freaks Jonathan out. The two cases turn out to be related which works well as it allows the murder of the judge (which felt pretty obvious as to who dun-it) to have a completely baffling clue (a broken finger nail). I’m not entirely sure about the extra death at the end (SPOILER Brian Murphy’s detective); it adds a bit of character for Creek (who sidesteps the credit for the solution), but it’s a rather odd moment.

This Jonathan Creek episode contains gory and unpleasant scenes, violence and really gross scenes of a broken finger nail

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Links

Jonathan Creek s02e04,05 The Problem at Gallows Gate (1998) – 7/10 black comedy crime drama TV review

AmazonBuy The Problem at Gallows Gate at Amazon

Cast / crew
Jonathan Creek: Alan Davies
Maddy Magellan: Caroline Quentin
Executive Producer and Writer: David Renwick
Clarke Peters: Hewie Harper
Jennifer Piercey: Kitty
Stuart Milligan: Adam Klaus
Producer: Verity Lambert
Director: Keith Washington

Jonathan Creek s02e04,05 The Problem at Gallows Gate (1998)

Adam Klaus’s sister witnesses a woman being strangled and is certain she can identify the killer if she sees him again. Except the man she identifies committed suicide three weeks earlier.

7/10

This double episode takes ages to deliver the mystery, the whole of the first episode, in fact, but keeps things bubbling with some useful comedy including a jazz trumpeter who was blind but secretly had corrective surgery (a good laugh when he walks in on a naked Jennifer Pearcey on a sunbed) and a good gag for Caroline Quentin after her flat is burgled ("it took me ages to get it straight again"). There’s not quite enough mystery for a double-episode (SPOILER we never believed the suicide was real) and the how-dun-it reveal in someone’s kitchen feels completely wrong. That said, the solution certainly turns out more interesting than expected as what we saw wasn’t what we thought we saw; very clever (SPOILER trying to make someone vomit, not trying to strangle them).

This Jonathan Creek episode contains nudity, suicide, violence

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Links

Jonathan Creek s02e03 The Scented Room (1998) – 8/10 black comedy crime mystery TV review

AmazonBuy The Scented Room at Amazon

Cast / crew
Jonathan Creek: Alan Davies
Maddy Magellan: Caroline Quentin
Writer: David Renwick
Bob Monkhouse: Sylvester Le Fley
Christine Kavanagh: Lady Theresa Cutler
Stuart Milligan: Adam Klaus
Producer: Verity Lambert
Director: Sandy Johnson
Executive Producer: David Renwick

Jonathan Creek s02e03 The Scented Room (1998)

Hated theatre critic Sylvester Le Fley is not on Jonathan’s list of favourite people but even he can’t resist a good mystery when a very valuable painting of Le Fley’s is stolen in broad daylight from a sealed room in a matter of seconds.

8/10

There’s just enough to pad out the highly entertaining little mystery but the series’ weak point, Caroline Quentin, gets a backstory sideplot to absolutely no positive effect. She even gets a dreadfully supercilious barb to a rich parent ("maybe you can buy him something he really wants: like a life") which really goes contrary to her dreadfully shallow and unconvincing portrayal of her character. You can see her acting constantly. While we instantly believed Alan Davies to be Jonathan Creek we have never and will never believe Caroline Quentin to be an investigative journalist or, indeed, any of her characters. She always appears to be an actress playing a role. Still, the mystery’s great (if a bit tricky to pull off, surely the painting wouldn’t behave and would just roll up and get stuck) and it finishes with a good gag.

This Jonathan Creek episode contains mild swear words, mild adult dialogue and innuendo

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Links

Jonathan Creek s02e02 Time Waits for Norman (1998) – 8/10 black comedy crime mystery TV review

Cast / crew
Jonathan Creek: Alan Davies
Maddy Magellan: Caroline Quentin
Executive Producer and Writer: David Renwick
Dermot Crowley: Norman Stangerson
Deborah Grant: Antonia Stangerson
Producer: Verity Lambert
Director: Sandy Johnson

Jonathan Creek s02e02 Time Waits for Norman (1998)

Another mystery for Jonathan Creek when the husband of Maddy’s publisher appears to have been on two continents at the same time.

8/10

Imaginative and entertaining mystery. We love it when writers are cleverer than and surprise us and this is one of Renwick’s strengths. Renwick manages a couple of goodies in this episode. First is the comedy reveal regarding Creek’s amorous encounter with a tax inspector (SPOILER “Didn’t you get suspicious when you were running your fingers through her hair and she wasn’t even in the room?”) while the crime mystery features a note (“Oh, when I know to free hate, to sever no one”) whose meaning is brilliantly simple and ingenious (SPOILER it’s a phone number, read it out: 0190 238 2701). The explanation of the whole mystery is also delightfully impressive.

This Jonathan Creek episode contains mild unpleasant scenes of a burned foot, substance abuse (methylated spirits)

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

Jonathan Creek 2.01 Danse Macabre (1998, Black Comedy Crime Mystery) – 7/10 TV review

Cast / crew
Alan Davies: Jonathan Creek
Caroline Quentin: Maddy Magellan
Writer: David Renwick
Peter Davison: Stephen Claithorne
Pippa Haywood: Lorna Claithorne
Stuart Milligan: Adam Klaus
Producer: Verity Lambert
Director: Sandy Johnson
Executive Producer: David Renwick

Jonathan Creek 2.01 Danse Macabre (1998)

A murderer and his hostage are cornered in a free-standing stone-walled garage with automatic security lights on all sides. He closes the garage doors and the area is almost immediately surrounded by police. Fifteen minutes later, the police open the doors… and only the hostage remains. The murderer has vanished.

7/10

I discerned the central plot mechanic almost immediately but I can’t decide whether that’s good or bad. It was so impossible that there could only be one explanation (something Renwick highlights when he reveals the original plan didn’t feature it). There’s the satisfaction of getting the solution right with the mild disappointment of not being outwitted by the writer. However, Renwick does keep one macabre twist up his sleeve with the victim’s head and another ethical twist with the reason for the murder. I dislike Pippa Haywood as an actress and this is a near-intolerably unconvincing performance from her, especially when she’s being emotional. Director Sandy Johnson keeps it crisp but doesn’t successfully distract the audience from the fact that Creek worked out the solution as soon as he heard the scenario but didn’t get around to telling anyone else for a couple of days to pad out the running time.

This Jonathan Creek episode contains adult dialogue and extremely unpleasant scene and non-sexual nudity.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

Jonathan Creek s01e06 The House of Monkeys (1997) – 6/10 black comedy murder mystery TV review

AmazonBuy The House of Monkeys at Amazon

Cast / crew
Jonathan Creek: Alan Davies
Maddy Magellan: Caroline Quentin
Writer: David Renwick
Director: Sandy Johnson
Annette Crosbie: Ingrid Strange
Executive Producer: David Renwick
Producer: Susan Belbin

Jonathan Creek s01e06 The House of Monkeys (1997)

A family friend of Jonathan’s is found dead in a room locked from the inside. While that indicates suicide, the samurai sword impaled through his back rather indicates murder.

6/10

The big problem with having gorillas in your story is that the audience immediately thinks ‘why have they got someone in a gorilla suit walking around the place?’ Even if it’s a terrific suit and performance, and this is, it still never feels like a gorilla. It appears to exist largely for a great bathroom gag (SPOILER) though the gorilla does also provide a clue in the death. While the episode uses an impressive misdirection to confound matters the murder eventually feels horribly straight-forward and plausible (SPOILER poison on the lickable gum of a self-addressed envelope).

This Jonathan Creek episode contains adult dialogue, bad language, sexuality, very unpleasant and slightly gory scenes

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Links

Jonathan Creek 1.05 No Trace of Tracy (1997, BLack Comedy Crime Mystery) – 6/10 TV review

Cast / crew
Alan Davies: Jonathan Creek
Caroline Quentin: Maddy Magellan
Writer: David Renwick
Director: Sandy Johnson
Ralph Brown: Roy Pilgrim
Executive Producer: David Renwick
Producer: Susan Belbin
Sandy Johnson: Policeman

Jonathan Creek 1.05 No Trace of Tracy (1997)

A 16-year-old girl, Tracy Cook, calls round to visit her hero, rock star Roy Pilgrim. Half a dozen schoolboys see her walk in through the French windows at the back of the house, into the white room. At the exact same time, four o’clock, Pilgrim swears he was in the room, fully conscious, handcuffed to the radiator, and saw no one come in.

6/10

This is an example of the kind of illusion that takes an mammoth amount of work that the audience wouldn’t consider viable ‘just for a magic trick.’ All the time, your brain is screaming to you the obvious solution but you might easily dismiss it because it would take so much effort to pull off. The sexual tension side of things is needlessly played up; needless because the central crime mystery is more than interesting enough by itself. It would take a long time for Renwick and his producer to get off that particular crutch. Director Sandy Johnson cameos as the beautifully moustachioed policeman.

This Jonathan Creek episode contains a mild swear word and frog abuse and very unpleasant scenes and arboreal fondling.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Links

Jonathan Creek s01e04 The Reconstituted Corpse (1997) – 7/10 black comedy crime mystery TV review

AmazonBuy The Reconstituted Corpse at Amazon

Cast / crew
Jonathan Creek: Alan Davies
Maddy Magellan: Caroline Quentin
Executive Producer and Writer: David Renwick
Director: Marcus Mortimer
Kika Mirylees: Zola Zhzewski
Producer: Susan Belbin

Jonathan Creek s01e04 The Reconstituted Corpse (1997)

A woman is accused of killing her plastic surgeon after she wrote a tell-all book that he wasn’t happy about. Maddy investigates and manages to stumble across an alibi for her but then things take an unexpected twist and the mind of Jonathan Creek is required to unbaffle the impossible.

7/10

There’s no reason for Caroline Quentin’s Maddy Magellan to be involved in the investigation and it takes half-an-hour before the hook kicks in but when it does (SPOILER a body miraculously appears in a wardrobe) it’s, as Creek himself says, "a good one, isn’t it?" and the remaining twenty minutes fly by. The solution is impressively / distressingly mundane which is frequently the case with ‘impossible’ scenarios. Because the outcome is so astounding, you assume the cause must be astounding. This episode also contains one of the most unusual scenes ever filmed: a taxi driver giving change to a passenger.

This Jonathan Creek episode contains adult dialogue, mild sexual nudity, gun violence, unpleasant scenes

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Links

Jonathan Creek s01e03 Jack in the Box (1997) – 8/10 black comedy crime mystery TV review

AmazonBuy Jack in the Box at Amazon

Cast / crew
Jonathan Creek: Alan Davies
Maddy Magellan: Caroline Quentin
Executive Producer and Writer: David Renwick
Director: Marcus Mortimer
John Bluthal: Jack Holiday
Maureen O’Brien: Kirsten Holiday
Robin Soans: Alan Rokesmith
Producer: Susan Belbin

Jonathan Creek s01e03 Jack in the Box (1997)

Just days after Alan Rokesmith – the man wrongfully imprisoned for killing his young wife – is released after nine years, aged movie star Jack Holliday is found shot dead inside his nuclear bunker in a impenetrable room locked from the inside. Clearly suicide, except Jack Holliday had crippling arthritis and couldn’t even peel a banana, let alone hold a gun to his head and pull the trigger.

8/10

After the feature-length opening double-episode, Jonathan Creek immediately settles into the fifty-minute slot that, I think, is perfect for this kind of show. It keeps things brisk and forces a tight focus on the matter at hand. It ensures that additional pieces of flavour are incorporated into the flow of the story instead of being allowed to bloat into their own irrelevant subplot (so no Adam Claus this time). This episode features a terrific locked room mystery where the viewer is given all the same clues as Jonathan. Alan Davies gets the how-dun-it at the end which thankfully reduces the amount of screen time for Caroline Quentin’s charmless Maddy Magellan.

This Jonathan Creek episode contains bad language, unpleasant scenes

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Links

Jonathan Creek 1.01,02 The Wrestler’s Tomb (1997, Mystery Black Crime Comedy) – 7/10 TV review

AmazonBuy The Wrestler’s Tomb at Amazon

Cast / crew
Jonathan Creek: Alan Davies
Maddy Magellan: Caroline Quentin
Executive Producer and Writer: David Renwick
Anthony Stewart Head: Adam Klaus
Director: Marcus Mortimer
Colin Baker: Hedley Shale
Saskia Mulder: Francesca Boutron
Sheila Gish: Serena Shale
Producer: Susan Belbin

Jonathan Creek s01e01-02 The Wrestler’s Tomb (1997)

A burglar seeks the help of an investigative journalist (!) to help him get out of a murder he didn’t commit. The problem is that the person with the most obvious motive, the wife of the adulterous victim, was inside a thirteenth-floor office at the time of the murder and hadn’t left all morning.

7/10

Unfortunately filmed as a star vehicle for the irritating Caroline Quentin (meaning she get’s the Poirot how-dun-it speech at the end and is bafflingly portrayed as romantically enticing), this opening episode for classic murder mystery show Jonathan Creek also features one of its weaker solutions. Not that you’ll guess it, despite your best efforts, and that’s critical. Much more discussion of the plot would be a giant spoiler but the important thing is your mind is invested in trying to work out how someone shoots her husband without leaving a thirteenth floor office. Director Marcus Mortimer employs a naughty false flashback but otherwise does an efficient job. Writer David Renwick gifts Alan Davies a character that ticks all the maverick cop cliché boxes (without making him a cop) and crafts a number of tidy gags including a great Steadicam joke ("It gets rid of jerks." "So does Clint Eastwood but I don’t want to strap him to my chest.") and an irate husband hoovering Jonathan’s face.

This Jonathan Creek episode contains mild adult dialogue, sexuality, nudity in paintings, unpleasant scenes

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Links

Jonathan Creek The Judas Tree (2010) – 8/10 crime detective murder mystery TV review

Cast / crew
Alan Davies: Jonathan Creek
Sheridan Smith: Joey Ross
Writer: David Renwick
Paul McGann: Hugo Dore
Sasha Behar: Harriet Dore
Doreen Mantle: Mrs. Gantry
Ian McNeice: Father Roderick Alberic
Natalie Walter: Emily
Stuart Milligan: Adam Klaus
Producer: Rosemary McGowan
Director: David Renwick

Jonathan Creek Special.4 Judas Tree, The (2010)

Joey Ross has managed to get herself employed as Klaus’s stage assistant but her old job as a self-styled psychic debunker provides Jonathan Creek with two mysteries to comprehend. One is from a hundred-and-twenty years ago when an adulterous husband dies at a time prophesied by his spurned lover with no sign of foul play while the other, in the same location but present day, sees the suspected murderess manifesting herself to Joey’s friend, a housekeeper’s assistant.

8/10

What David Renwick does better than any contemporary television writer is come up with the unexpected, usually funny, and imaginative sight gag. This time he delivers a great scene with cat litter, some fun race-related gags at the expense of Stuart Milligan’s Adam Klaus, a disappearing house and numerous other splendid bits and pieces dotted here and there (the approach of ISIS). However, Renwick really comes through with this episode by playing with audience expectations (SPOILER Paul McGann’s author states: “The trick, of course, is to fool the reader into trusting the wrong people.”), telling you everything Jonathan Creek knows and then wrapping it up for a thought-provoking finalé. He also manages to avoid his recent penchant for unpleasant sexuality and unnecessary sexual swear words and adult dialogue. This, with a tiny edit for violence, could be shown again on a Sunday afternoon without any problem (though it is bafflingly rated 15 by the BBFC for strong sex; of which there was none when shown on television). A bit of a welcome return to form for Renwick, then.

This Jonathan Creek episode contains mild swear words and unpleasant scenes, violence and brief sexuality.

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

Links

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.

5/10

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.

Links