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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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.

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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.

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