TV Review: Jonathan Creek Specials (2009–2013)

The Jonathan Creek specials from 2009–2013 undo much of the damage from Series 4, with Sheridan Smith largely to thank for that

“I’ve got a very important presentation to Weetabix in five minutes”

After the horror show that was the fourth series, Jonathan Creek disappeared from our TV screens for five years and for the subsequent five, returned only intermittently for three feature-length specials from 2009–2013. And I think the break did everyone a world of good as these episodes rival some of the show’s best in recapturing the sense of investigative fun that lay at its heart.

Chief in this is the casting of Sheridan Smith as wise-cracking paranormal investigator Joey Ross. Their buddy relationship is well drawn, wisely kept clear of any romantic entanglement and yet still deeply affectionate at its heart. Complex, multi-faceted mysteries are allowed to unfold more effectively in the longer format, although Renwick can’t help himself with women as porn stars and clod-hopping trans jokes. For the most part, everything just hangs together  better – until Jonathan get a wife that is…More of that in Series 5.

Top 5 cameos

  • Katherine Parkinson is too good for the role she has here, Jonathan would be lucky to have her with her neuroses, never mind without
  • But there’s some poetic justice in how things play out with Adam James, who is Joey’s boyfriend, oddly only ever seen on video calls
  •  A smoudlering Paul McGann is good fun in ‘The Judas Tree’ 
  • And I love Sasha Behar so it is great to see her in the mix too, even if she shouldn’t stand too close to windows
  • Lastly, I’m not sure if it counts as acting, or maybe Joanna Lumley isn’t really like that (!), but her presence grounds ‘The Clue of the Savant’s Thumb’ well

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