TV Review: Jonathan Creek, Series 1

I turn to a rewatch of Jonathan Creek to get me through Week 2 of Lockdown #2 and enjoy the freshness of the first series

“No one could have killed your husband and then left this room”

Starting in 1997 and memorably co-opting Saint-Saëns’ renowned ‘Danse Macabre’ for its theme tune, mystery crime thriller Jonathan Creek occupies a happy place in my TV memories, so I was a little hesitant at first in case it didn’t match up to how I remembered.

From cracking seemingly impenetrable alibis, to working out how to escape a nuclear bunker, to locked room mysteries of all sorts, it turns out David Renwick’s writing holds up rather well. The plotting is sufficiently twisty that it is nigh on impossible to figure out who and certainly howdunnit and I remembered none of the important details so it was like watching it anew.

With Alan Davies’ hapless magician’s consultant and Caroline Quentin’s investigative journalist sharing a growing chemistry, these are five highly entertaining episodes, with a weird late focus on animals, aided by a nice who’s who of supporting performers.

Top 5 cameos

  • Colin Baker, playing ponytailed sleaze, has the honour of being the first murder victim
  • And the wonderful Jane Hazelgrove gets to do her best horrified face as she discovers that first corpse
  • I’d completely forgotten that Anthony Head originally played Adam Klaus, Jonathan’s boss, but he booked another job at the same time so had to leave. A small show called Buffy or something…
  • Also only in that first episode is a youthful Alistair McGowan as Maddy’s boyfriend-on-the-outs
  • They don’t get a whole lot to do but I enjoyed Selina Cadell and Barnaby Kay as the detectives investigating the monkeying around of the final episode.

Jonathan Creek is available on the BBC iPlayer

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