Easter Monday in the UK and the BBC has treated us to a very welcome gift – the first new episode of Jonathan Creek in two and a half years. Now just to make it clear to non-UK readers of the blog, I’m going to make this totally spoiler-free, because I think you’re going to want to watch this. And I think you’re going to enjoy it.
And by spoiler-free, I mean everything, even the odd circumstances we find Jonathan in at the start of the story. All I will say is that the story involves a dead body inside a locked room – viewed through the keyhole – only when the door is finally broken down, guess what isn’t there anymore?
As with the previous two specials, this features Alan Davies as Jonathan teaming up with Sheridan Smith’s journalist, Joey Ross. For your money, you also get Joanna Lumley (playing it straight), Nigel Planer and the return of Rik Mayall as Inspector Pryke (from “Black Widow”) who seems to have learned a thing or two since last we saw him.
You also get a clever mystery with the disappearing corpse – it does have echoes of something else that I’m not going to mention for want of even giving a hint, but there is something extremely original about it as well. There are clues (for this part of the story) all over the shop and yet I doubt anyone would piece them together properly.
Add in a couple of mysteries from the past, and you’ve got a real treat on your hands. Admittedly, part of the overall solution did seem to come a bit out of nowhere, but given how many hits writer David Renwick achieved with the rest of the story (and the little puzzles, like the code and the texts), I’m perfectly happy.
So, well acted, well scripted, well plotted and well shot (the last three all by Renwick). The best episode of Jonathan Creek since (at least) Satan’s Chimney. If you’re in the UK and missed it, that’s what the iPlayer is for. If you’re elsewhere, start nagging your local TV station now…
Sorry this is a bit rushed, but I’m off to New York in the morning and wanted to ensure my UK readers didn’t miss the chance to watch it while they can.
UPDATE: I seem to be getting a lot of visitors to this review – hello! – so if you’re new to the site, can I recommend taking a look at the John Dickson Carr pages, in particular the top fives for Gideon Fell, Henry Merrivale and other books. They’re chock full of locked room mysteries in the Jonathan Creek vein. Other locked room and impossible masterpieces include
- The Seven Wonders of Crime by Paul Halter
- The Demon of Dartmoor by Paul Halter
- Rim Of The Pit by Hake Talbot – good luck finding it though
- DVD Extras Include: Murder by Nev Fountain
- The Nightingale Gallery by Paul Doherty (and many others)