Agatha Christie’s Poirot s02e04 The Lost Mine (1990) – 6/10 period crime detective drama TV review

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Cast / crew
Writer: Agatha Christie
Hercule Poirot: David Suchet
Captain Hastings: Hugh Fraser
Chief Inspector Japp: Philip Jackson
Miss Lemon: Pauline Moran
Writer (Dramatisation): Michael Baker
Writer (Dramatisation): David Renwick
Anthony Bate: Lord Pearson
Colin Stinton: Charles Lester
Producer: Brian Eastman
Director: Edward Bennett

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s02e04 The Lost Mine (1990)

Poirot’s struggles in the early running of a game of Monopoly versus Hastings is mirrored in the real world with financial problems with his bank account (he’s £60 overdrawn, much to his fury and protestations). Meanwhile, he is engaged by his bank to find the owner of a map to a lost mine who failed to arrive at a crucial business meeting.

6/10

You don’t often see Poirot get the wrong end of the stick but writers Michael Baker and David Renwick deliver a delightful scene early on when Lord Pearson arrives to ask for Poirot’s help while Poirot thinks he’s come to apologise for a mistake in his account balance. It’s also great to see characters doing something other than their principle activity; in this case, Hastings and Poirot are playing Monopoly. It doesn’t really have anything to do with the plot but it is a tremendous amount of fun and reinforces the friendship between our two heroes. Sadly, the mystery aspect of the episode is uninvolving.

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains mild gory and unpleasant scenes, opium abuse

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot S03E04 Wasps’ Nest (1991) – 7/10 period murder mystery drama TV review

Cast / crew
Writer: Agatha Christie
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Hugh Fraser: Captain Hastings
Philip Jackson: Chief Inspector Japp
Pauline Moran: Miss Lemon
Writer (Dramatisation): David Renwick
Martin Turner: John Harrison
Melanie Jessop: Molly Deane
Peter Capaldi: Claude Langton
Producer: Brian Eastman
Director: Brian Farnham
Executive Producer: Nick Elliott

Poirot, Agatha Christie’s S03E04 Wasps’ Nest (1991)

Buzzing, crawling creatures are low on Poirot’s list of favourites things at the best of times but he has even more for his little grey cells to worry about when he becomes convinced that a murder is in the air. If he can solve the crime that has not yet been committed, maybe he can prevent a murder instead of merely catching the culprit. Hastings has taken up photography (and taken over Poirot’s bathroom), Japp has a nasty stomach problem and Miss Lemon is advocating the goodness of her fitness class to Poirot.

7/10

"Good god; this is England. Jealous suitors don’t go around murdering people."

A career high for Poirot as he attempts to solve a murder before it happens. Both the plot and the murder that Poirot attempts to foil are cleverer than they first appear, writer David Renwick gives Poirot and Hastings some choice comedy moments (Poirot trying to move a box and Hastings engaging a pharmacist in conversation) and Poirot’s traditional summation rounds things off nicely.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot 3.05 The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor (1991) – 6/10 period murder mystery TV review

Cast / crew
Writer: Agatha Christie
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Hugh Fraser: Captain Hastings
Philip Jackson: Chief Inspector Japp
Writer (Dramatisation): David Renwick
Ian McCulloch: Jonathan Maltravers
Geraldine Alexander: Susan Maltravers
Producer: Brian Eastman
Director: Renny Rye
Executive Producer: Nick Elliott

Poirot, Agatha Christie’s 3.05 Tragedy at Marsdon Manor, The (1991)

Poirot is called by a hotelier to solve a case where every person has a perfect alibi. When he arrives, however, another, more urgent case, grabs his attention as a wealthy but sick man is found dead. Poirot immediately suspects murder and the young widow finds herself the next target. With Poirot’s little grey cells up to full speed maybe he can solve both cases.

6/10

A bit of a weak episode thanks to some variable pacing and the deliberately difficult-to-believe supernatural elements (which are portrayed amateurishly) but there are still items of note including the reason for Poirot’s presence in the town, Poirot’s waxwork (both added by writer David Renwick) and a particularly horrible murder (not shown graphically but still a nasty one; the victim sleepily opening his eyes to behold his fate was a quality touch). Renwick also supplies a healthy number of lovely incidental gags ("Doctor? There’s a gentlemen outside suffering from Hercule Poirot. He seems to think it’s quite serious.") and bits of business which Suchet and Fraser take full advantage of.

This Poirot, Agatha Christie’s episode contains one scene of strong, impactful gun violence.

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

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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

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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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