Murder most strange

The month comedian Alan Davies chooses to come to Dunedin on tour seems a good one to also broadcast the latest in his Jonathan Creek series.

Jonathan Creek is the British mystery crime drama series produced by the BBC, in which Davies, as Creek, is a creative consultant for a magician, while solving apparently unsolvable mysteries through his talent for logical deduction and creating illusions.

Episode one of series five begins on July 6 on Sky's Vibe channel, and has Creek trying to retire from his former hobby (did he ever get paid for his crime-solving? I honestly don't know), and moving to the country with his stunningly attractive wife Polly.

Polly is played by Sarah Alexander, whose good taste in comedy has seen her feature in Armstrong and Miller, Smack the Pony, The Worst Week of My Life and the very good Green Wing.

The first episode, The Letters of Septimus Noone, begins with a trip to the theatre, a fracas between Creek and a fellow theatre-goer over a mobile phone, and our hero ending up with a black eye and a bite on the neck.

But worse crime, of course, is afoot, and it is not long before the lead actress in the play (a play based, I think, on an Edgar Allan Poe story The Murders in the Rue Morgue) finds herself stabbed and bleeding profusely in a dressing room nobody could have entered.

Television watchers have the edge on Creek in this one - they know exactly how the strange crime came about.

Polly is dead keen for her husband to no longer get involved in strange murder cases (maybe she wants him to have a proper job).

''They are things we're trying to put behind us, Sharon,'' she tells her friend Sharon.

There are plenty of amusing aspects to the latest Jonathan Creek.

Polly's father dies, and there is an unfortunate attempt to make him look more cheerful postmortem.

''Why is everything so hard?'' Polly asks.

''I think it's rigor mortis, you'll find,'' the undertaker responds.


Then there's the amusing addition of a young would-be Sherlock Holmes character - the son of a friend - who comes up with brilliant scenarios based on his deductions, all of which turn out to be wrong.

There's a very familiar face from the early 1970s, with Paula Wilcox, whom the elderly will remember as the fabulous Chrissy in Man about the House, turning up.

If you're going to Alan Davies' Little Victories show late next month, it might be a good idea to yell out ''Hey! You're that Jonathan Creek''.

I'm sure he'd enjoy the recognition.

- Charles Loughrey 

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