Hello Morsonians and welcome to my review of the FIRST episode of the new FIRST series, The Dead of Jericho. This was one of my first posts so it is not as comprehensive as my later posts. But, I am returning every so often to add more information to this post.
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So boring bits out of the way first.
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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.
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):
The times are based on the British DVDs. The times stated are not exact but are within the minute the location appears.
Morse is walking along the High Street.
John Thaw looking at Colin Dexter.
This is Magdalen College.
Morse parks his car on Longwall Street.
The large building in the background is New Building, Magdalen College.
However, the interior scenes of Alan Richards lecture were apparently filmed at the Royal Holloway Sanatorium, Virginia Water, Surrey, England. The Sanatorium and surrounding land is now a large, expensive, gated community.
1 hour and 17m –
Morse visits Magdalen College to talk to a don.
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
(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.
BY HENRY VAUGHAN
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.’
The next piece is playing on the radio in Morse’s office at the Police Station Thanks to A.B. one of my blog readers who sent me an identification. 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‘
The music 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).
On Anne Stavely’s living wall to the right.
Thank you to Nancy who identified it as a drawing by Jean Cocteau titled, Orphee.
At around the 25 minute mark with Morse at home we see this drawing.
Thank you to Nancy who identified this as a Giovanni Battista Piranesi, a Venetian born in 1720. The picture is titled “View of Villa Maecenas in Tivoli.”
The painting on the left is another by Piranesi.
Again a big thank you to Nancy who identified it. The picture is titled “Avanzi di un Antico Sepulc’ro”.”
Also identified by Nancy is the picture in Morse’s hall.
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.
Julian Walkers’s photographs and others can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/wirewiping/
During filming of The Dead of Jericho.
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)
Reblogged this on the harsh light of day….
Hi: I’m late to the party but love everything Morse so thank you! I also wanted to say how sorry I am to hear about your mom:(
Thank you Avital for your lovely comment and your condolences regarding my mum.
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”.
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. 😉
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.
Hi Stuart. The location is Dorney Common which is somewhere between Slough and Maidenhead. Hope this helps.
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
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.
I thought that, but Jackson also says “you got my letter?” He may be saying it in confusion rather than confirmation though I suppose
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….!
“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.
“Tubular Bells” was the soundtrack to the “Exorcist”. And an extraordinary one it is.
I have a question. Did you recognize the pictures on the wall in Morse’ appartment? I think there are two prints, perhaps of Piranesi?
Hi. I never was able to identify them. I will a look at Piranesi. Thanks.
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”.
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….
I think Morse was a rather miserable man. He had no friends, was terrible with women, treated Lewis like a go -fer and was always fighting with Strange. He drank to excess, thought himself an expert on music and art and was always preachy to Lewis about ‘art.’ While he himself had dropped out of Oxford and had no degree, he was arrogantly nasty about people with degrees. His work was really the only thing he had. And that ridiculous car, which no real detective could have afforded. It was always being taken to the shop for repairs or to have the paint restored. I liked the series but I never liked Morse.
Were he not fictional, I bet that Morse would have liked you.
Patricia, I agree Morse is arrogant and has faults but that’s what makes him unique. I don’t understand how one can like the series but not Morse. For me the series is Morse and another character would just not work. I like him for who he is and deep down he has many redeeming qualities.
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.
Thank you Nicolas for that kind comment. Welcome.
Artwork in Morse’s apartment (corner of his front room) includes two etchings by G. B. Piranesi., on the left “The Tomb Called La Conocchia on the Via Appia near Capua” (https://flintarts.org/art/objects/9105)
on the right “AVANZI DELLA VILLA DI MECENATE A TIVOLI”
Thanks Jeffrey. When I get a minute I will update the post.
“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).
I doubt the art was original – not on a detective’s salary.
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 (?)
Kat, that was a pregnancy test.
She sighs, but not in relief, for the pregnancy test was positive, I suppose? Correct me, if I’m wrong.
That’s correct, it was positive.
It wasn’t a look of relief but of despair. It was a pregnancy test which was positive. At the inquest it was stated that she was pregnant when she hanged herself.
One thing is still puzzling me. We know Anne Stavely became pregnant at 18 and married the father. So why did she have the child adopted? And also when are we told that Anne’s husband was killed in a car crash. Anne’s mother tells us about the marriage and the adoption but mentions nothing about the husband being killed. Yet Morse refers to it as an established fact and tells Lewis to check who was driving the other car, suggesting that the other driver might have been Ned Murdoch. I think this is a major plot hole but would love to hear if someone has the answer.
Thanks. It’s an older version pregnancy test, not the stick type. That’s why I didnt make the connection.
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.
Hi Diana. If I remember correctly, the autopsy confirmed her pregnancy.
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.
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.
It’s easy enough to check if you are a genealogist! John Edward Thaw’s birth was registered in the January quarter of 1942 in Manchester.
Right. My wife was really shocked last night when I told her John Thaw was actually 2 years younger than we are now at that time.
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.
I’ve wondered this as well every time I watch this episode. Any thoughts on this, Chris?
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.
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?
You’re right in regard to the adoption Kathleen.
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.
I never liked Gemma Jones. She always talked as if her teeth didn’t fit properly. And I didn’t like her in the tv adaptation of P.D. James’ “Devices and Desires.’
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.
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’.
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.
Thank you Trevor and welcome to my website.
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?
Murdoch sent the letter (remember the fact that Morse sees through the fact that the errors are intentional). Jackson phones in his blackmail
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.
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?
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
Hi Betty. Welcome to my website. Barrington did write the music for the first episode, The Dead of Jericho.
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.
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.
She had bad taste in men.
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?
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.
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
So relieved to find this website. I have just watched The Dead of Jericho for the first time in about twenty years. I was convinced that Anne Staveley had been murdered and then hanged. Of course, I was wrong but, as a result, I could not understand the motive for the murder of George Jackson. Mrs Richards already knew her husband was having an affair so why was the blackmail money paid and Jackson subsequently murdered. Congratulations on giving such a comprehensive explanation. However, I think it was a major failing on the part of Anthony Minghella not to clarify the complexity of the motives as you have. A very strange opening episode but, thankfully, they improved immeasurably.
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?
The suicide letter is shown upside down clearly in one scene. My tv is not hi def enough to read it but one character did quote some of it, “he broke my heart”. Has anyone deciphered all of the note? I wonder if it has names at all. If not, perhaps it’s not even conclusive.
I was confused about the two Richards brothers. Chris wrote on May 25 that the father is Tony. But on June 7 he says that Alan may be the father. There must be an absolute way to figure it out. For me it’s obvious that Alan killed for his brother Tony, but that Tony was the father. Just looking at them, Alan is a sleazy, unpleasant guy with a sneering face. And Tony had alibis while Alan did not. And Alan runs at the end. I am sure Tony was the one having the affair who got her pregnant, and didn’t love her, so she killed herself.
I found the Oedipus reference almost seemed like a trick for the audience. If it wasn’t true, it was just put in for shock. Anyone who studied this in high school would recognize the story and the author but I guess Lewis didn’t have that in school. The confusing part is that Morse was so sure it was an oedipal situation where the mother and her son both realized the truth and that is why she killed herself and he tried to gouge out his eyes. But as it unfolded, it was plain that neither one of them thought anything of the sort. There was a hint by someone that she probably slept with him and he could be the father. But he said to someone else that he was gay and didn’t sleep with any female. Or did they deliberately want us to wonder if he might have been lying about it? I didn’t see any explanation for his gouging out the eyes. I’m sure they never clarified it. Except that the suicide note pointed to her broken heart – not at any guilt at sleeping with her own son. So it had to be a mistake on Morse’s part (though I wonder why she’d be even reading the book).
I agree. The last minute switch-around of the Richards brothers was very confusing and Tony was much more attractive than Alan, probably with the intention of making him more believable as the lover. Also, the name Tony is short for Anthony so he could have been to A at the start of Anne’s letter informing him about the pregnancy. The Oedipus line was a giant red herring and it should have had a rational explanation. Clues to Ned Murdoch’s sexuality was a Gay LIb symbol on the wall of the stairs where he asks his friend for money. Also, the college room he shared with the friend were full of gay images eg James Dean, (a gay icon as well as a rebel) and the photograph of the nude male dancers. His referring to Anne as a ‘mother’ was meant to mislead. That is how he thought of her not as someone he was sexually attracted to. As you say, why was she reading the book? – that at least should have been explained.
I think that Ned was buying (or begging for) drugs from that guy he spoke to in the stairwell, not asking him for money.
(Or did that guy give him the fake prescription that Ned took to the pharmacy, where it was refused? I forget which scene happened first.)
I always thought it was a fake prescription
I was revisiting Morse after discussing some of the music with a friend and listening to the albums of music from the series, when I discovered your splendid site, with all its detail of the musical, literary and artistic references as well as details of the actors and locations. It’ a true labour of love. I’ve so much enjoyed looking through these pages after watching each episode.
The music from this first episode fills an entire album, which includes the Mozart String Quartet (K172) and the ‘Haffner’ Symphony finale. However while watching I didn’t hear these pieces on Morse’s radio. At 01h03m29s it appears to be the first movement of Haydn’s String Quartet in G, Op. 54, No. 1. I can’t identify the orchestral music at 01h23m33s, but it definitely doesn’t sound like the Haffner Symphony. A couple of minutes later Morse is listening to Mozart’s overture to his opera The Marriage of Figaro on the headphones in the Richards’ office.
Hi Will. I will rewatch the relevant parts of the episode and relisten to the music. Get back to you soon.
Jackson is probably not illiterate in the film version: he uses the telephone book to look up the numbers for the police and for Mr. Richards. He must have discovered Richards’ name in Anne’s letter.
I’ve just watched Endeavor and am now starting at the beginning of the Morse episodes. Your site is so comprehensive- thank you for compiling so much information about the episodes! Do you have any other favorite shows to recommend? I am in the US but have access to most of the BBC mysteries. I’ve completed Midsommer Murders, Frost, Father Brown, Miss Fisher, Agatha Raisin, Maigret, Grantchester, Inspector Lewis (before I realized I should start with Morse), and all of the Christie series/movies… any suggestions I’ve missed? Thanks!
You might enjoy the Inspector Lynley Mysteries and Foyle’s War. I certainly loved both these and think they fit the profile you have outlined.
Jessica, one caution I would have if you are watching the PBS (US Public Broadcasting System) version of any British tv show – they often chopped off several minutes (it might even have been about 10 minutes) from the episodes in order to fit them into the US show timeframes. I have lived in both the US and UK, and I didn’t realize this until I was watching Inspector Lewis on PBS in the US and realized that chunks of each episode were just gone, and they didn’t really hang together as I had remembered. This was quite a few years ago now and there weren’t many ways to access these shows – I ended up going to the Amazon listings of the dvds to compare the run times of the UK versions and US versions to understand what had happened to the PBS versions.
I guess now there are so many ways in the US to see these shows now, beyond buying a dvd or waiting for them to come on a regular tv channel, such as YouTube, and all the other free and paid streaming and cable options like BritBox and all that, and now the founder of this site’s Twitch channel (a site which I had never even heard of before tonight, so I’ll have to go look that up next!).
Before I found this current site this evening, I was trying on my own to re-watch all the Morse episodes from the beginning (on free YouTube via my Roku device on my tv), and when I looked up series 1 episode 3 on YouTube, I found 2 options, and the runtime of one of them was about 10 minutes shorter than the other — I am not sure why, as I didn’t compare them too closely (they seemed to start at different points and to have different-looking fonts in the title sequences, so they may have been aired in different countries — or maybe one of them has YouTube ad breaks in the middle of it, while the other doesn’t), and I just went with the longer one to watch.
I first found out about PBS butchering their shows when I started watching Endeavour. Some scenes didn’t make sense and there were large skips in continuity. So I bought the DVD’s from ITV and then realized what PBS was doing. Many minutes had been cut to allow for their commercials, especially Viking cruises. I had told Chris about it because I had questions about the episodes and that’s we realized what was going on. Someone later commented that PBS stopped doing it but I don’t know if that’s the case since I only stream PBS shows and those streams don’t have all the commercials that PBS always had.
Jessica, one suggestion would be the Sherlock Holmes series starring Jeremy Brett. (As an aside, I think that he was married to an American WGBH Boston/PBS producer who was integral to some of the classic PBS & UK channel co-productions.) A number of years ago, I rented the series via Netflix and read the original Holmes stories at the same time.
Jeremy Brett was the best Sherlock Holmes ever – he is simply GREAT. Also a very interesting man and human being.
I think he was married to Rebecca Eaton at WGBH, Boston.
Jeremy Brett was married to Anna Massey for four years, and Joan Wilson for nine years. The American WGBH Boston/PBS producer who was integral to some of the classic PBS & UK channel co-productions that you mention is Rebecca Eaton OBE – she is married to sculptor Paul Robert Cooper.
When Adele is confronting her husband, we don’t see his face – it may be that she is married to Alan. But she is pretending, in front of Morse, to be married to the person Morse things is Alan – really Tony Richards. Therefore, I think Anne had the affair with Alan, and Alan murdered Jackson – and the family were just circling the wagons trying to keep Morse from figuring it all out..
I got the impression that they made a mistake with the names Tony and Alan Richards. Am I the only one? I haven’t read all comments here, watched the episode last night and could not really figure it out.
Obviously Alan Richards is played by Richard Durden, you can read that everywhere. But when James Laurenson gives his speech to the group including Morse he is introduced as Alan Richards. Very unlikely to turn up under another name in front of so many people as the co-owner of an apparently well known company, isn’t it?
PBS doesn’t have commercials. PBS has ‘enhanced underwriting.’
And this pertains to The Dead of Jericho how ?
Because the comment was how PBS cuts off or edits some programming to accommodate commercials.
Patricia, you are a TROLL, aren’t you?
The painting at the end of the art works section is not identified. It looks like Egon Schiele’s work.
As I already mentioned on
March 4, 2018 at 8:42 pm
it does indeed look like Egon Schiele’s work.
Sorry, I saw only now that our Boss posted the picture. Of course IT IS a work by EGON SCHIELE.
Jokerin: Why did you feel the need to post an “I already posted this” complete with a date and time ? There are no prizes for who posted what first.
Of course not! Perhaps it’s only an old “scientific” habit to refer to something in the past. No offend or prize winning intended.
This first episode of the series, a series that changed the face of British drama, established some things that became a continuum. However, there were things such as the hat and leather jacket that only saw one outing.
This is far from my favourite episode and definitely not in my top 10.
Finished all of Endeavor and I’m now starting Morse on BritBox. I like this Morse SO much better than Endeavor’s Morse; I really couldn’t stand him, he was so stuck up and rude and awful to women.
In all fairness, women didn’t treat Endeavour very well either- Susan and the French reporter, for only two examples.
As a long standing Morse fan, I could never take to the Endeavour series at all. All style over substance. Russell Lewis couldn’t plot a smart murder mystery if his life depended on it. Anyway, you’re in for a treat with the original. The Dead of Jericho is just a very small taste of the classic episodes to come. Many hours of viewing pleasure await you
sorry for being thick but who was Adele richards married to?
Just watched “Dead of Jericho” today to kick off watching “Inspector Morse” through from the beginning. Never seen it before, but just watched “Endeavour” through Season 8 and am waiting for Season 9 to come to the States and wanted try “Morse” while waiting. OK, this episode is somewhat confusing and leaves some things unexplained, or at least inadequately explained, but I am used to that from “Endeavour”. That said, I can’t say this episode would have drawn me into the “Morse” universe if I hadn’t already been sucked in by “Endeavour” . “Dead of Jericho” is no more of a clever crime mystery than most of the “Endeavour” episodes. I hope the writing gets better as time goes on.
So, I bought “Morse” on DVDs to avoid having to buy yest one more subscription service. I hope the DVDs are the uncut BBC version. The missing scenes in the PBS versions of “Endeavour”, along with the substitute songs, were maddening.
Well, remember this dates from the mid 1980s and is a direct contemporary of Murder She Wrote. I think it is a rather better watch but that is my own personal opinion. The series was revolutionary in the UK at the time. I don’t know if back then the US had anything better to offer? Hill St Blues was a step change in its ow way but a different take on the police.
If you don’t know already some of the genius of Morse is in the adaptation of Colin’s novels by Kenny Bain. There are interviews with those involved who say similar.
Robert Stoker: You make very good points. “Murder She Wrote” doesn’t stand close examination, nor does “Matlock” and others of its ilk. I can’t really suggest a 1980’s US crime drama which really qualifies as a “clever crime mystery”. I need to watch “Morse” with a 1980’s mindset and remember it was revolutionary in its day. This is true of many art forms -cannot call something derivative or dated when it was the progenitor of its type.
My problem with “Dead of Jericho” is that, out of the gate, the first episode of “Morse” has a convoluted plotline that is hard to follow. I hope it gets better, because this is what drove me nuts with “Endeavour”. “Endeavour” is a modern show, so we can’t blame its hard-to-follow plotlines on being dated. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed “Endeavour” and enjoyed this first episode of “Morse”, but it’s tough when one can’t actually follow what’s going on, who killed whom and why, and so on.
Lawrence, you may be disappointed I’m afraid the plotlines are all convoluted IMO…That’s why Morsonians love the programme so much. Not only the plot but the locations, the music, the art and the comedy of manners between Morse and his intellectually inferior colleagues. Just for the record well before Morse was conceived one of my friends was awarded a first class degree at Cambridge rather than Oxford and he planned to join his local police force but sadly ended up working for our governments Department of Employment at a very high level…I just wonder what might have been