Saturday 3 April 2010

Jonathan Creek and David Renwick

It’s hard to believe, but Jonathan Creek first aired as long ago as 1997. I watched that initial episode, and soon the series took over from Taggart as my favourite television crime show. The way in which classic ‘impossible crime’ plots were blended with humour and contemporary characterisation struck me as quite splendid.

And now there is to be a new episode, fifteen months after the last (The Grinning Man, which I thought was excellent.)  The Judas Tree is to be screened tomorrow, and I shall do a review. The only question is whether my expectations are so high that I’m likely to be disappointed. I hope not.

Jonathan Creek was created by David Renwick, who is also celebrated as the writer of One Foot in the Grave, and the creator of that grumpiest of old men, Victor (‘I don’t believe it!’) Meldrew. There are occasional references to detective fiction in One Foot in the Grave, and Renwick’s other works include some adaptations for Agatha Christie’s Poirot.

I’ve never met David Renwick, and the only slight link between us is that he wrote the introduction to Mike Ashley’s collection, The Mammoth Book of Locked-Room Mysteries and Impossible Crimes, in which my story ‘Waiting for Godstow’ appeared. ‘Waiting for Godstow’ was an enormously enjoyable story to write, and I’m rather sorry that it’s never attracted as much attention as some of my other work.

Here’s the closing sentence of that Renwick intro: ‘Like the spectral assassin who has miraculously vanished from the scene of the crime it’s comforting occasionally to give reality the slip and retreat into the more fantastical world of our imagination’.

 Couldn’t agree more!


Astrid (Mrs.B) said...

I've never seen Jonathan Creek though I've heard of it of course. I love the BBC mystery shows so I really should check out this one. Thanks for this post.

Hannah Stoneham said...

Gosh. I was a real devotee of Jonathan Creek when it was on the Tv in the late ninetes. I now live in France with an internet connection but no TV - so I will be looking forward to your review! If I remember rightly, my view was that the Jonathan Creek mysteries deteriorated rather as they went one - but I hope that that this one is good!

Great post - thanks for sharing

Paul D Brazill said...

Yes, I liked J.Creek a lot too. We used to get it here in Poland on BBC Prime but the beeb have stopped that in this country for some reason.

Renwick wrote a very dark series with Richard Bryars.The opening scene had kids playing football in the park- with a dead swan! Was a flop,of course.

Ann Elle Altman said...

OH, I'm so glad you told me there is a new episode. I've seen all of his episodes and love the humor. I actually liked the character played by Caroline Quentin who now does Blue Murder. I found her funny and less whiny than the second.

Great update. Thank you.


Dorte H said...

Better than Taggart? I wouldn´t mind that they sent that series our way!

One of the few really good British series we have watched recently is Midsomer Murders.

Martin Edwards said...

Mrs B, I am sure you will enjoy Jonathan Creek. Classic detection brought up to date.

Martin Edwards said...

Hannah, I think the law of diminishing returns does apply, which is why Renwick writes so few of them nowadays. But The Grinning Man was terrific.

Martin Edwards said...

Ann, I agree that Caroline Quentin was the best sidekick Jonathan has had.

Martin Edwards said...

Dorte - the early Taggarts were truly brilliant, but I feel it has declined into a relatively ordinary series since Mark McManus died.
I've watched some of the Midsomer shows, but not too many. I did like the early Midsomer books a lot.