The Dead of Jericho S1EP1: Review + Locations, Literary References, Music etc. SPOILERS


Hello Morsonians and welcome to my review of the FIRST episode of the new FIRST series, The Dead of Jericho.  .

I hope this post finds you all well.

So boring bits out of the way first.

Please subscribe to to my website. Subscribing to this website can be done in two ways.

If you have a WordPress account then click the ‘following’ button. If you don’t have a WordPress account then enter your email and click the subscribe button. Entering the email only means subscribing to my website you will NOT be creating a WordPress account. (WordPress are the company that I pay to use their platform).

To help run my website I have set up a Paypal account for donations. Thank you to all those who have made donations.

My Twitter,

My Twitch Channel;

My Youtube Channel,

I have started my own Facebook page. It is primarily an extension of this website. I decided to start the Facebook page as there has been times when I have an update to a review post or some interesting news or information but it was all to small to make into a full blown post here on my website. So, come and join and keep up-to-date with all that happens in the Morse universe.

My Facebook Page;


Originally aired in the UK on the 6th January 1987.

Book published in 1981

Directed by Alistair Reid.

Written by Anthony Minghella.


Anne Stavely is a music teacher, (she proves the theory of nominative determinism), and sings in a local Choral Society as does our hero, Inspector Morse. Morse is attracted to Anne but unfortunately for Morse she is in love with her former employer. When Anne is found hanged in her kitchen, Morse is determined to discover the truth of why she committed suicide and what drove her to it.

Where’s Colin?

This is at around 45 minutes.

(warning, this review will contain some spoilers)

Here it is , the first episode of a series that would captivate me to this very day. With a great actor in the leading role and being ably supported by the British institution that is Kevin Whately. Throw in some great British character actors like Patrick Troughton and Gemma Jones and with hindsight it is difficult to imagine the show failing.

I have to admit that this particular episode doesn’t feature in my top ten all time favourite episodes. However, when the episode is put into context, i.e. the first episode of the first series and taking on a new format of a two hour show, then it can be seen as a fabulous episode that sets up Morse’s character for future episodes. Thankfully, Morse’s leather jacket and hat combination never resurfaced in future episodes.


The episode starts off like an episode of The Sweeney (the section about the raid on the garage at least) and one wonders if this intentional by the writer Anthony Minghella. Is it possible he was trying to  wrong-foot the audience? Before that scene we have the incongruous Vivaldi music playing from Morse’s car as he drives to the garage and then of course the cut scenes of the Choral Society. The audience must have wondered what kind of detective show they were watching. I love the incongruity of the typical police show scene with a raid on a crooked garage and the sound of Vivaldi and Parry. How many of the audience were waiting for John Thaw to jump out of the car and shout, ‘You’re nicked’?

There are two small problems I have with the episode. Firstly, is the Agatha Christie style gathering of the suspects at Anne Stavely’s house. This scene just doesn’t work in relation to the rest of the episode. Thankfully, there was no such scenes in future episodes that I can remember. Secondly, the blackmail letter received by Alan Richards. Whose letter did he receive? George Jackson sent a blackmail letter as did Ned Murdoch. Was this a mistake in the script or am I missing something.

A great cast with a solid performance from all concerned. The interaction between Morse and Lewis is excellent and sets us up nicely for forthcoming episodes.

Memorable Line – “You’re a clever sod but you don’t say the right things to the right people.” Spoken by Strange to Morse.

Jag Rating (out of ten): 



Anne Stavely – Gemma Jones (B. Dec. 4th 1942 – D. -)


George Jackson – Patrick Troughton (B. march 25th, 1920 – D. March 28th 1987)


Tony Richards – James Laurenson (B. Feb. 17th 1940 – D. – )


Max – Peter Woodthorpe (B. Sep. 25th 1931 – D. Aug. 12th 2004)


Chief Inspector Bell – Norman Jones (B. June 16th, 1932 – D.April 23rd 2013)


Ned Murdock – Spencer Leigh (B. 1963 – D. )


Adele Richards – Annie Lambert (B. Jan. 3rd 1946 – D. – )


Alan Richards – Richard Durden (B. Feb 8th 1944 – D. – )


Chief Superintendent Strange – James Grout (B. Oct, 22nd 1927 – D. June 24th 2012)


Pete (Ned’s room-mate) – David Michaels ( born in 1964 ) Best known to fans of the excellent TV sitcom ‘As Time Goes By’. He played the policeman, sport loving boyfriend of Sandy.


Charlotte Mitchell played Anne Staveley’s mother (Born: July 23, 1926 – Died: May 2, 2012)


(The times are set as hh/mm/ss, i.e. hours, minutes and seconds).


Music by Hubert Parry (1848-1918) and lyrics by Henry Vaughan (1622-1695) ‘My Soul there is a Country‘. Sung by the choir at the very beginning of the episode. The lyrics were actually a poem by the Englishman Henry Vaughan titled ‘Peace’ and put to music by the Englishman Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry.


My Soul, there is a country
Afar beyond the stars,
Where stands a winged sentry
All skillful in the wars;

There, above noise and danger
Sweet Peace sits, crown’d with smiles,
And One born in a manger
Commands the beauteous files.

He is thy gracious friend
And (O my Soul awake!)
Did in pure love descend,
To die here for thy sake.

If thou canst get but thither,
There grows the flow’r of peace,
The rose that cannot wither,
Thy fortress, and thy ease.

Leave then thy foolish ranges,
For none can thee secure,
But One, who never changes,
Thy God, thy life, thy cure.


Music by the Italian Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)

The piece is ‘Gloria in Excelsis Deo’ and is played over the scene when Morse is visiting the dodgy garage while in his Jag.


The next piece is being played by Anne Stavely’s pupil (badly) in her house.

The piece is by the Polish composer Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849); ‘Prelude in E-Minor (op.28 no. 4)’.


Here we return to the Hubert Parry (1848-1918) and Henry Vaughan (1622-1695) piece ‘My Soul there is a Country’. Again being sung by the Choir.


The next piece of music is heard while Morse is driving to collect Anne Stavely. It’s by the Austrian Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791). The piece is ‘Concerto No. 14 in E-flat major, K. 449’. (Köchel catalogue. … The Köchel-Verzeichnis or Köchelverzeichnis is an inclusive, chronological catalogue of compositions by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, which was originally created by Ludwig von Köchel. It is abbreviated K. or KV).


We return to the Hubert Parry (1848-1918) composition ‘My Soul there is a Country’ This time the piece is played with the choir now singing during their concert for which they were previously rehearsing for.


We now find Morse at home listening to Mozart’s, ‘Le Nozze di Figaro K492 act 2, Porgi Amor (The Marriage of Figaro)’.


I am unable to identify the next piece. It is being played in Ned’s room when Morse visits him and is assumed to be Ned’s uncle by Ned’s roommate. I think it is possibly one of the American minimalist modern composers Philip Glass or Steve Reich.


We are back in Morse’s house when Chief Inspector Strange arrives unexpectedly. The piece is by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and is ‘Don Giovanni, K.527, Act 1: Ah, Chi Mi Dice Mai.’


I’m afraid I couldn’t identify this piece which is playing on the radio in Morse’s office at the Police Station. I think it is Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750) but damned if I can recognise it, sorry.

Update: Thanks to A.B. one of my blog readers who sent me an identification for the above piece. It is from ‘Mozart’s Quartet No. 12 in B flat major, K. 172‘


The next piece is again when Morse is at home and Lewis arrives. The piece is by Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) and is ‘Fantasie Impromptu Opus 66 in C sharp minor‘. An interesting factoid about this piece is that it was adapted by Harry Carroll for his song ‘I’m Always Chasing Rainbows’ the lyrics were written by Joseph McCarthy. Both versions are below and the lyrical version is sung by the wonderful Judy Garland.


Up next this piece is heard in Morse’s car when he is going to talk to Ned’s tutor. The piece is by the German composer George Frideric Handel (1685 – 1759): ‘Concerto grosso Op.3 No.1


Another unknown piece for me i’m afraid. The piece is playing on Morse’s radio at the Police Station.

Again a huge thank you to A.B. who sent me an identification for the this piece on the radio as  ‘Mozart’s “Haffner” Symphony

A.B. also pointed out that the piece Morse plays while tinkering on Anne’s piano is  Morse plays the opening of the ‘Prelude to Wagner’s _Tristan und Isolde‘ on Anne’s piano in a couple of scenes.



The scenes with the choir that Morse is a part of rehearsing for their concert was filmed at the Royal Holloway Sanatorium, Virginia Water, Surrey. The paintings on the walls are by James Imrie and other unknown people.


The next piece of art in the episode can be seen on Anne Stavely’s living room wall;


Behind Morse is ‘Nighthawks‘ (1942) by the wonderful American painter Edward Hopper (1882- 1967). Below is the painting in all its glory;



We now have two pieces of art to look at and again we are in Anne’s house but this time in the kitchen.


On the left we can see Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s (1828-1882) ‘Proserpine‘ (1874).


And on the right or on Anne’s left we have a poster advertising an exhibition of 1986 at the Ashmolean. The painting being used to advertise the exhibition is by Camille Pissarro (1830-1903). The painting is ‘Peasant Women Planting Stakes‘, (1891).



The main and probably only literary reference if you discount Henry Vaughan’s poem is Sophocles’s ‘Oedipus and the King’.


The book is seen lying on Anne’s bedside table and Morse is reading it later in the episode. All information on this play can be found by clicking here.


Jericho, Oxford as it is today:


Canal Street © Julian Walker


Canal in Jericho © Julian Walker


Canal Street with St Barnabus Church in the background. © Julian Walker

canal street

Here is a perfect view of where the episode was filmed. Anne Stavely’s house is on the left and George Jackson’s is on the right. © Julian Walker.

The episode was filmed on Combe Road above in the picture but they renamed it Canal Street for the episode. You can see The Old Bookbinder pub in the background where Morse lays out his theory to Lewis on why Sophocles did it. 

Julian Walkers’s photographs and others can be found at


During filming of The Dead of Jericho.

Author: Chris Sullivan

After having looked after my mum for some 11 years she is now unfortunately in a nursing home. I'm afraid her dementia worsened as did her physical capabilities. So, for the first time in 21 years I find myself no longer caring for anyone. Apart from my mum I was also a single parent to two children and also looked after my dad who had Alzheimers, (he died in 2005). So, I have decided to return to University to try and get another degree this time in English Literature. (My other degree I got some 30 years ago is one in Ecological Science). After a year at college I have passed all grades and now will start Edinburgh University in September 2019. A busy time ahead made even busier by my writing a book on the TV series, Lewis.

53 thoughts

  1. The letter mystified me too, but I think I have the explanation. There was only one letter, sent by Murdoch. Jackson’s first contact with the Richards was the phone call. He rang them to blackmail them, but was surprised when they’d already received a blackmail letter. That’s why he asks them how much they can give, then says “I know what I said, I’m just asking if you know”.

    1. Hi Ian and thanks for commenting. I think you are spot on regarding their being only one letter. That makes complete sense; George was phoning to blackmail to them, he hadn’t written to them. Thanks Ian the case is solved. 😉

      1. Hi Chris. I came upon this quite by accident. However I do have a question regarding a location. At around 50 mins in, George Jackson collects the payoff from a bin next to a telephone box. Have you any idea where this location might be? Strange request I know but it’s bugging me. My name is Stuart.

      2. I believe George sent a letter initially that was never seen by Morse. If you remember Tony Richards was reading it out to Alan Richards and commented on the terrible grammar and spelling. I don’t think Ed Murdoch being so educated would have written a letter like that. The one found when Morse raided the Richards office was the one that Morse found and returned to him. So definitely 2 letters

      3. In the book, Jackson is illiterate. This is alluded to in the TV episode with the comment on the phone to Richards by Jackson saying ‘yeah I know how much but how much are you saying?’

        Without checking, I think the camera pans over some leaflets for helping those with poor literacy in Jackson’s house earlier in the episode, but I might be making that up. Either way, it’s one of those elements of the plot that makes limited sense in the TV version if not familiar with the book.

    2. I thought that, but Jackson also says “you got my letter?” He may be saying it in confusion rather than confirmation though I suppose

  2. Youve done it again Lewis…er…Christopher….! Glad the blackmail letter bit was sorted…Ive seen this story the most I reckon, along with Masonic Mysteries and Way Through the Woods….Call the Fashion Police for that hat and jacket….!

  3. “It is being played in Ned’s room when Morse visits him and is assumed to be Ned’s uncle by Ned’s roommate.” Ooh, I know this because I had the subtitles on my dvd. It is Tubular Bells by Mike Oldfield.
    I love the Handel piece.
    The hat really surprised me (even though I’ve seen the episode at least three times). I don’t think Morse ever wore another hat, did he?
    It was so much fun to come read this after I finished watching the episode. I did this with the Bishop book the last time I watched the whole series.

  4. I have a question. Did you recognize the pictures on the wall in Morse’ appartment? I think there are two prints, perhaps of Piranesi?

    1. The first painting I see in his appartment is perhaps painted by Egon Schiele(??). Both of the other prints (around 01:00) are in fact etchings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778). They belong to the famous series “Vedute di Roma”. The first one is called “Remains of the Villa of Maecenas at Tivoli”, the second one “Remains of an ancient tomb, called La Conocchia”.

  5. I remember watching “Inspector Morse” back when it first came out, but not since. I’ve been looking for it on Netflix and Amazon Prime without any luck, but, lo and behold, the ITV website has the first few episodes up for streaming! So I watched “The Dead of Jericho” last night, watching it this times through the eyes of an “Endeavour” fan.

    The main thing that struck me is how the Morse I saw here was not quite like the Morse people have chatted about. From those descriptions, I expected an almost morose, rather moody and gloomy and depressed man, weighed down by his loneliness. But while I could see a bit of the loneliness, especially at the end, he actually seemed rather chipper to me, certainly a man who enjoyed his work. He also had a life outside of work, as evidenced by his participation in the choir, was on a friendly and familiar basis with his boss, and generally seemed to get on well enough with people. Not the sad sack I had come to expect! I am wondering a bit at how he got from “here” to “there,” so to speak, especially with his relationship with Strange and with what seemed to be flat-out heavy drinking. And then there’s the house….

  6. This is an excellent website. I just found it last week and passed it along to a friend. I just finished watching the first five seasons of Endeavour and now am re-watching all the Inspector Morse episodes before I venture back into Lewis. I plan to use this site as my definitive viewing guide. Thank you.

    1. “AVANZI DELLA VILLA DI MECENATE A TIVOLI” – That’s what I called (March 4, 2018 at 8:42 pm) with the English name: “Remains of the Villa of Maecenas at Tivoli” (Ficacci 383).

  7. Early in this episode, when Morse has come over to Anne’s house for a second time to drink tea, she excuses herself from the kitchen to go upstairs. She goes to her bathroom, opens the medicine cabinet and looks at a tiny vial in a clear box on the middle shelf, shuts the cabinet door and sighs, in relief.

    Does anyone know if that vial was poison? I’m wondering if at one point she might have considered drinking the vial to end her life (?)


    1. She sighs, but not in relief, for the pregnancy test was positive, I suppose? Correct me, if I’m wrong.

  8. Thanks. It’s an older version pregnancy test, not the stick type. That’s why I didnt make the connection.

    1. Not as old as the rabbit test. You have to be an old coot (cootess?) to remember the expression, “The rabbit died”, meaning the test was positive. The rabbit test was performed from the late 1920s to the early ’60s, though the expression hung on for years after that. Chris, how do you know the test was positive? Did the subject arise later in the episode? Haven’t seen this one yet.

  9. I find it crazy in these early episodes that John Thaw is actually only 5-6 years older than Shaun Evans is now, yet there’s meant to be 17-18 years between this episode and Endeavour series 6. To be fair though, Shaun looks young for his age and John always looked a good deal older than he was.

    1. Michael:
      I may anger some other John Thaw fans, but unless I see a birth certificate (which is not going to happen), I simply cannot believe Thaw’s age as listed in his bio’s. He looks to be in his late 50’s in the early Morse’s, and yet we’re to believe he’s in his mid 40’s (supposed birth date of 1942). By the time Thaw was doing “Kavanaugh Q.C.,” he looked well into his 70’s, and yet we’re told that several years later he was only 60 when he died?? Some people do indeed look older than their real age, but not THAT much older. I am convinced he shaved at least 10 years off his real birthday.

  10. Very interesting site. Thank you for it.

    I have a BIG question about “The Dead of Jericho.” I don’t understand the nature of the relationship between Ann Stavely and the very troubled young student/heroin addict, Murdoch. I get that there are intimations (and Morse’s suspicion) that she thinks he is her son, references to Oedipus etc., but it seems that is disproven by Lewis’ investigation (Lewis finds that Ann’s adopted son is a mailman in Wales). So why does she indulge and “mother” this unpleasant boy? I must’ve missed something.

      1. Hi Kathleen. In the episode it is never fully explained as to why Anne Stavely and Ned are so close. I’ve always assumed that since Ned writes music that he was a former pupil of Anne who as we know gives piano lessons in her home. During his time as a pupil of Anne they became close and she began to mother him as a substitute for her lack of children. She did miscarry earlier in her life.

      2. Chris, That does make sense but he is such a disagreeable guy who steals from her and is a druggie. I would think she would rethink the situation. Maybe she would have tired of it had she continued on. I think she also gave a child up for adoption?

  11. This episode is structured a little more intricately than some of the others, but I agree with you that the Agatha Christie-style denouement seems to walk all over the heretofore carefully fragmented plot development. It feels a little forced and, as a rare instance in Morse of spectacle over story, could potentially leave confusion over a few smaller plot details, as other comments have shown.

    Gemma Jones is always brilliant, however, and I probably enjoy Spencer Leigh slightly more than I should.

  12. So happy to have found your site Chris. I just rewatched this Inspector Morse episode and loved seeing the start of the Morse – Lewis collaboration. The character development is wonderful, but the plot in this first episode is quite muddled, especially the behaviour of the Richards – Alan, Tony and Adele. Nothing about their actions makes any sense.

  13. In the Lewis episode ‘The Lions of Nemea’, Lewis and Hathaway are walking along the canal bank towards the scene where Rose Anderson has been murdered. Lewis refers to this case and mentions a woman having ‘hanged herself’ in a house nearby. In a very Morse-like way Hathaway muses on the word usage and how ‘pictures are hung and people are hanged’.

  14. Brilliant website- great insight, terrific detail and thoughtful reader comments. Perfect for someone like me who loves all three series and is intrigued by the plot connections. Agree that the plot in this episode was relatively weak and convoluted , but so interesting to watch the character development.

  15. I think the street is called Canal Reach, not Canal Street, in the Tv episode.
    Also, it seems to me that Morse goes to a lecture by someone he thinks is Alan, who turns out to be Tony.
    Is it possible the the publicity got yje names wrong and none of the audience caught on?

  16. Murdoch sent the letter (remember the fact that Morse sees through the fact that the errors are intentional). Jackson phones in his blackmail

  17. One or two thoughts and some trivia which followers may find interesting or helpful. I wondered if Ned wrote the badly written letter to throw people off the scent that he was an educated man.

    The music played by Peter, Ned’s room mate, does not sound like Tubular Bells to me at all despite what the subtitles might say on Nan’s DVD. I don’t think it is Steve Reich either as Chris suggests but it could be by another minimalist composer like Phillip Glass or Terry Riley.

    Dorney Common where George Jackson collected the blackmail money is next to the rowing course built for the 2012 Olympics and on the opposite side of the Thames to Windsor racecourse. The next village to Dorney is Bray and the Morse series was shot at Bray Studios so it was very conveniently located.

    Annie Lambert who played Adele Richards appeared with John Thaw in an episode of the Sweeney called Selected Target, series 3 episode 1 which aired in 1976

    Charlotte Mitchell who played Anne Staveley’s mother as well as being a prolific actor in her own right (often it seemed playing nervous women) was a member of an acting dynasty. Her husband was stage actor Phillip Guard with whom she had two sons Dominic and Christopher Guard and her niece was Pippa Guard and all three had successful careers in films and on stage and TV.

    1. Robert. Thanks for this. I messaged Chris some while ago about Dorney common. In vain I tries to find the exact spot where the telephone box stood. Alas it’s nowhere to be found but a house adjacent to the common does have one in its front garden! I guess they could have used a portable version for authenticity?

  18. Hi I am the (non-blood) sister of Barrington Pheloung who died last August and I wanted to get close to him by watching the first ever episode. But Barry did not do the very first episode or series did he? Please let me know if I am right or wrong. Thanks

    1. Hi Betty. Welcome to my website. Barrington did write the music for the first episode, The Dead of Jericho.

  19. I also have a great quirky modern version of Barry’s incredible morse theme music and wondered where to send it and how to air it. Any ideas? Finally I am hoping to do his biography and am in contact with his wife Heather who is in Australia – we are expecting her back after the lockdown with the family at the Essex home in Dunmow. I’ve known Barry since I was 16 and he is a very special brother – was a very special brother with an incredible appetite for life. An Aussie Anglophile that truly loved all his work on Morse, Lewis and Endeavour. Feel free to email me. But I have to say I’m still confused? Though a fantastic episode in establishing Morse’s enigmatic and Rottweiler-like character – I’m still not exactly sure of who killed Jackson and why? And Anne didn’t commit suicide yes I think I get that? But again why? Do I need to read Colin Dexter to find out? Thanks.

    1. Hi Betty. If you wish to write to me personally rather than via the website, click on the ‘contact me’ option at the top right hand side of the page. Jackson was murdered by Alan Richards played by Richard Durden. Anne Stavely did commit suicide. Anne was pregnant and the father Tony Richards was not willing to take part in the child’s life. The whole situation became to much for Anne.

  20. Hi Chris

    Congratulations on the website, you really have shown considerable endeavour in compiling and cataloguing the music, the paintings and the comment section makes for a pleasant read. Morse introduced me to the world of classical music for which I am grateful. I felt the killing of Jackson and the reasons behind it needed a lot more development. Surely, the embarassment of an affair being made public to a wife ( who already knew) through blackmail seems an insufficent reason for Jacksons murder. What do you think?


    1. Hi Joe and welcome to my website. I believe that the reasons for killing Jackson are threefold: To stop the affair becoming public knowledge. (It’s also possible the Richards’ brothers were aware that Jackson had Anne Stavely’s suicide note and needed to retrieve that. It may be that is why Jackson was killed because he wouldn’t tell Richards where it was). Anne was pregnant and this may not have been known to Adele Richards. (Again the pregnancy may have been mentioned in the suicide note). Thirdly, it is possible that if the media became aware that Anne Stavely was having an affair with Alan Richards and that she was pregnant then this information could have destroyed their company. I hope that helps.

      1. Chris, You’ve explained more facets to this story than I thought of, especially that his wife would not have known about Anne’s pregnancy and the consequences that story would have on the business. Thanks

  21. Just watched this again. Regarding Chris’s question about the blackmail note, isn’t it the case that Murdoch typed it but jackson found it and sent it? It was part of that thing of everyone who went into the house coming out not empty handed, except morse. It is a bit confused, I agree. But also, I’m wondering if there is a mistake in the story. Which Richards was anne having the affair with? Alan is the one who runs away, and it’s alan that the blackmail note is addressed to, but surely it was tony who was having the affair, as it’s him who Adele grills about it?

Leave a Reply