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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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