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 3.01 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 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

Doctor Who 33.01 The Impossible Astronaut / Day of the Moon (2011) – 8/10 science fiction adventure TV review

Cast / crew
Matt Smith: The Doctor
Karen Gillan: Amy Pond
Arthur Darvill: Rory Williams
Writer: Steven Moffat
Producer: Marcus Wilson
Director: Toby Haynes
Alex Kingston: River Song
Mark Sheppard: Canton Delaware
Marnix Van Den Broeke: The Silent
Stuart Milligan: President Richard Nixon
Sydney Wade: Little Girl
Frances Barber: Eye Patch Lady

Doctor Who 33.01,02 Impossible Astronaut, The / Day of the Moon (2011)

Amy, Rory, River Song, and former FBI agent Canton Delaware are all called to Utah, America by messages contained in dark blue envelopes. When they arrive, it’s not a huge surprise that it is the Doctor that called them but an unexpected astronaut and the belated arrival of another invitee will be.

8/10

While I suppose we should be grateful that this isn’t an end-of-the-world plot for a change, it certainly feels like it’s getting too serious in it’s urge to have high stakes. Nevertheless, it’s a joy to have Matt Smith back as the Doctor (asking President Nixon for a fez!) and we’ve got River Song back making absolutely no sense as usual, Amy Pond and Rory the Roman providing stronger support than ever and yet more impressively designed man-in-a-literal-suit monsters. This is also an uncommonly good-looking episode with an opening sequence utilising some spectacular American scenery, nicely photographed and well used by the director. That said, he does bungle the entrance of the Doctor (he’s lying on an Edsel wearing a Stetson; Stetson’s are cool) by giving it less time in the scene than the travelogue shots of the scenery. The second part is stronger, more intriguing, more fun and more brilliant than the first with the importance of Neil Armstrong’s ankle revealed and a great final visual hook that, along with the plethora of other questions we’d forgotten had been raised over these two weeks, will hopefully be resolved later this year.

This Doctor Who episode contains one scene of strong fantasy violence, gun violence, unpleasant scenes.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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