Originally aired in the UK on 8th March 1988.
Book published in the UK on the April 1976. (Above is the cover of the first edition)
Colin Dexter can be seen walking across the College quad at 1h09m.
Mr Dexter ambles nonchalantly across the quad.
Directed by Edward Bennet.
Screenplay by Thomas Ellis.
Here we are at the second episode of the second series and Inspector Morse goes from strength to strength.
A young schoolgirl, Valerie Craven, has went missing and despite the Police and Valerie’s father’s best efforts, a year later and she still hasn’t been found or made any contact with her family.
Morse and Lewis are given the case to bring the proverbial fresh pair of eyes to the case. Or as Morse so delicately puts it; “One file, anybody. Two files, Ainley or McKay. I’m the three file man. No, she’s dead.”
Morse has little interest in the case as he is convinced Valerie is dead. This lack of interest grates on Lewis and it comes to the fore when he snaps at Morse, “Well, you got your body, sir” when one of Valerie’s teachers dies by someone’s hand or possibly by accident.
However, Lewis was correct; the death has now piqued Morse’s interest in the missing schoolgirl’s disappearance. Questions begin to arise: Why did the French teacher at Valerie’s school, Homewood School for Girls, leave to work at an ordinary comprehensive school? Why did the headmaster of Hometown appoint Cheryl Baines as deputy when he obviously has nothing but contempt for her? Why is Valerie’s mother lying to the Police? Morse and Lewis attempt to not only to answer all these questions but to find Valerie.
John Thaw’s Morse is at his grumpiest and irascible in this episode but for me and other Morse fans this is part of the reason we love him. Far too many other detectives in the 1980s and 1990s were all sweet and light and never had a bad word to say about anyone. Morse changed that and I personally believe that thanks to Morse, TV detectives become more realistic, more human, and more like all of us. We all have bad days and so does Morse.
In this episode there is no love interest for Morse and though he does appear to have a little liking for Cheryl Baines he is proverbially barking up the wrong tree. In fact he is the wrong gender of ‘tree’.
The episode starts calmly, even sedately with Morse sitting at home reading Thomas Hardy’s novel, Jude the Obscure. The novel alludes in a small way to this episode in that the town of Christminster is based on Oxford and it involves the love for a teacher. (Hey I’m studying for an English Literature and sometimes it spills over to other areas of my life, 😉 ) As the episode moves on it gradually builds momentum at a very satisfying pace and this is due not only to a good screenplay by Thomas Ellice but good direction by Edward Bennet who would go on to direct seven Morse episodes.
For British viewers there are quite a few familiar faces in this episode: Philip Bretherton who plays David Acum is known for being the book publisher in the wonderful ‘As Time Goes By’ that starred Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer. He also appeared in Coronation Street some years back. There is also Julia Sawalha who is best remembered for playing Saffy in ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ and more recently starred in ‘Lark Rise to Candleford’. Of course we all recognise Elizabeth Hurley as one of the schoolgirls even though she was 23 when the episode was filmed. There is also an actress who I recognize but damned if I can remember her name and she also plays one of the schoolgirls. There is a picture of her further down titled with questions marks. I think she was in ‘Grange Hill’. Mr Barratt my friend, any ideas?
The episode has a good and satisfying ending helped considerably by the wonderful portrayal by Peter McEnery as the slimy Donald Phillipson as he tries to talk his way out of a very sticky situation.
Though it is a very good episode it doesn’t appear in my top ten of Morse episodes. The reasons for this are as follows: I wasn’t convinced by the death of Cheryl Baines it seemed too contrived and I wonder how difficult it is to fall backwards over a stair bannister especially one that appeared rather high. The other unconvincing part of the episode was the affair between Donald Phillipson and Mrs Craven, (played by Frances Tomelty). For me it didn’t ring true. Also, why did the neighbour only see Sheila Phillipson but not David Acum or Donald Phillipson? Of course she could simply have only looked out of the window at that particular time. But, this is just my opinion and as such can be ignored.
Strangely Lewis refers to his daughter as “our Louise” at the five minute matter when Morse and Lewis visit Homewood School. But of course we all know that his daughter is called Lyn/Lynne.
However, the episode does contain one of my all time favourite scenes. Here it is,
(The times are set as hh/mm/ss, i.e. hours, minutes and seconds).
The opening music is by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) and the composition is the Violin Concerto No. 1 in B flat, K. 207. (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.)
The above video contains the complete piece. The section of music used in the episode starts at 8 minutes and 47 seconds in the above video. However, the whole concerto is lovely.
The second piece of music in the episode is after the scene in the pub with Morse and Max discussing the case. Max tries to get Morse to empathise with the missing girl’s parents;
Max – Just because the girl is from a well-off family doesn’t make the pain any less for the parents.
Morse – But if her dad wasn’t on the police committee we wouldn’t know anything about it?
Max – Only a man without children could talk the way you do. Look, imagine you’ve lost your only recording of the Ring Cycle and try and think some things might hurt even worse.
Morse – Yes but I’ve got it on cassette as well.
After this scene we cut to Morse driving to the Craven house with the music of Richard Wagner (1813-1883) playing loudly. The piece is the rousing Die Walkure (Second opera in Der Ring des Nibelungen) better known as Ride of the Valkyries.
That piece of music always gets my blood pumping. Exhilarating!
The next piece of music is in Ms Baines house when Morse comes calling to ask her about the head of the girl’s school. It is a Jazz piece but I have no idea what it is and I can’t even hazard a guess at who the composer or the artist or the group is. Sorry.
If you enjoy all the music from the Morse series I have collected all the pieces I have identified thus far and have created playlists on YouTube. On how to access these playlists please read the relevant post by clicking here.
On the classroom wall of Ms Baines in Homewood School for Girls to the left of a very young Liz Hurley.
The poster is a representation of George Frederic Watts (1817-1904) painting ‘Ellen Terry (‘Choosing’).
Ellen Terry was an English stage actress who became the leading Shakespearean actress in Britain. At 16 she married the 46-year-old artist George Frederic Watts.
This scene is set in the Craven’s house, specifically their swimming pool.
The mural on the back wall is a pastiche of the wonderful swimming pool paintings of David Hockney (1937 – ).
Pool with Two Figures 1972
Peter Getting out of Nicks Pool, 1967
In this scene Ms Baines is sitting writing at her desk. On the shelf of the desk is a postcard;
Thank you to Polly, one of my new readers, who correctly identified the postcard as being a Modigliani, ‘Portrait of a Girl.’ Thank you Polly.
We find Morse relaxing at home reading a novel. That novel is Thomas Hardy’s ‘Jude the Obscure’.
Thomas Hardy’s novel does have some connections to the episode, some more tenuous than others. The city that the main character Jude Fawley works and lives in is called Christminister which is based on Oxford. Jude’s former schoolmaster is called Phillotson. The headmaster in this episode is called Donald Phillipson, (as I wrote above, tenuous). The main themes of the novel are marriage, the Church and education. This triumvirate of themes can be found in this episode.
At Ms Baines house Morse is holding a book from Ms Baines library.
The book is ‘Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories‘ by C. S. Lewis (Clive Staples Lewis 1898-1963) a 1966 anthology of literary criticism by C. S. Lewis and published posthumously by the executors of his estate.
At the deputy head of the girl’s school, Ms Baines’s house she relates a story about the headmaster and his running spikes. Morse cryptically replies, “Men and their shoes“. I wonder if Morse is making reference to that quaint old saying that you could “tell a man by his shoes”. Not really a literary reference but…
At the Craven house Morse is talking to Mrs Craven and mentions that she has changed her hair colour from blonde to brunette. Mrs Craven quotes W.B. Yeats (1865 – 1939) the Irish poet saying, “I will have to see if I can be loved for myself and not for my yellow hair”.
The full poem is as follows;
FOR ANNE GREGORY
‘NEVER shall a young man,
Thrown into despair
By those great honey-coloured
Ramparts at your ear,
Love you for yourself alone
And not your yellow hair.’
‘But I can get a hair-dye
And set such colour there,
Brown, or black, or carrot,
That young men in despair
May love me for myself alone
And not my yellow hair.’
‘I heard an old religious man
But yesternight declare
That he had found a text to prove
That only God, my dear,
Could love you for yourself alone
And not your yellow hair.’
Morse and Lewis take Acum home after his interview at the police station. The living room wall is covered in pictures, posters etc. Polly, one of my readers, noticed on the wall a poster of the 1962 French film version of Nabakov’s book, Lolita. A rather apt poster considering the storyline in this episode.
Here is the original poster.
One pub at around 32 minutes. As yet unidentified.
LOCATIONS. (A work in progress)
47 minutes –
Cheryl Baines home.
This is Church Road, Staines.
A big thank you to John Burling for the identification of this location.
1hour and 9minutes –
Morse meets Mrs Philipson in what is the upper library of Christ Church. I verified the location with Christ Church.
Thanks to John and Cheryl for the following observations;
- At 29 minutes we see a board outside Acum’s school showing it is named after St John Baptiste de la Salle who is the patron saint of teachers of youth. Yet adjacent to the print we see an image of The Virgin Mary.
- At 56 minutes we identify the miniature on the mantelpiece of Headmaster Phillipson as The Thinker by Rodin.
Thanks to Masonic for making these excellent connections through this episode;
It seems then, that all the characters in this show had a secret: Valerie and her abortion & pre marital sex, Acum bedding Valerie & hiding her, the real estate agent and his cocaine habit & helping Valerie get an abortion, Valerie’s mom sleeping with headmaster, Ms banes blackmailing the headmaster, headmaster being present when Ms banes dies, headmaster’s wife stumbles upon dead Ms banes but tells no one, Morse writing the letter!
Glyn Houston as George Craven (October 23, 1926 – )
James Grout as Chief Inspector Strange – (Born: October 22, 1927 – Died: June 24, 2012)
Suzanne Bertish as Cheryl Baines – (Born: August 7, 1951 – )
Peter McEnery as Donald Phillipson – (Born: February 21, 1940 – )
Nicholas Pritchard as John Maguire – (born in 1958 – )
Julia Sawalha as Rachel – (Born: September 9, 1968 – )
Elizabeth Hurley as Julia (Born: June 10, 1965 – )
Fiona Mollison as Sheila Phillipson – (born on January 9, 1954 – )
Philip Bretherton as David Acum – (Born: May 30, 1955 – )
Peter Woodthorpe as Max – (Born: September 25, 1931 – Died: August 12, 2004)
Frances Tomelty as Mrs Craven (Blonde phase) – (Born: October 6, 1948 – )
Elizabeth Kettle. She appeared in five Morse episodes as a WPC
– Happy Families (1992)
– Second Time Around
– The Sins of the Fathers
– The Settling of the Sun (1988)
– Last Seen Wearing (1988)
To read my Q & A with Ms Kettle click here.
Cheryl Baines’s cleaner. –
Margaret Holland as Martha the school secretary – (Born unknown)
Melissa Simmonds as Valerie Craven – (Born unknown )
Michele Winstanley (girl in the middle) – (born in 1964)
The girl in the centre ????????????????????????????
I’m afraid I have no information on any of the locations used in the episode. I think the location where Morse and Lewis interview John Maguire was the London Docklands but i’m not entirely sure.
Postscript to the above. A follower of my blog, Tom, commented that the actress is Michele Winstanley. She has appeared in many British TV series such as The Bill, Only Fools and Horses and the one I particularly remembered her from was a short lived series called Going Out. It was created and written by Phil Redmond who also created Grange Hill and Brookside. A big thank you to Tom for taking the time to pass on this piece of info.
When you follow the link https://maps.google.nl/maps?oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&channel=sb&ie=UTF-8&layer=c&z=17&iwloc=A&sll=51.523139,-0.315014&cbp=13,282.4,0,0,0&cbll=51.523131,-0.314957&q=28+castlebar+park+ealing&ei=KBVkU_ujA4rsOZD5gZgC&ved=0CEMQxB0wAA (I’m not good with TinyURL!) you will find 28 Castlebar Park in Ealing. Streetview gives you an idea of how a derelict Victorian House – now torn down – looked. It is (or was) No. 28 and it was used as Morse’s flat! I visited the place some years ago with an excursion of the Inspector Morse Society, guided by Anthony J. Richards, who wrote a little book, “Inspector Morse On Location, the companion to the original & bestselling guide to The Oxford of Inspector Morse” (Sawston 2008/2011). Let me quote from this guidebook.
“The best known property though is at 28 Castlebar Park […]” at Ealing, “a boarded up, derelict building and former squat awaiting redevelopment. It is a shrine to most Inspector Morse fans since this is the film location of Morse’s flat and appeared in no less than six episodes (‘The Silent World of Noicholas Quin’, ‘Last Seen Wearing’, ‘The Last Enemy’, ‘Masonic Mysteries’ (in which it was seemingly set alight), ‘The Wench is Dead’ and ‘The Remorseful Day’).”
I hope this was helpful!
Thanks Herman, very interesting.
MIchele Winstanley she was a barmaid in some early episodes of Only Fools and Horses I think thats the girl you mean
Hi Tom. Thank you so much for this info. Once you gave me the name I checked IMDB and I saw what show I remembered her from. It was not Only Fools and Horses but a show from 1961 called Going Out. It was a late night series written by Phil Redmond who also created Grange Hill and Brookside. Thanks Tom for taking the time to comment.
No worries at all Chris… but 1961??? or 1981 I think.
Either way glad I could help – rather enjoyed this site since I found it. I am quite interested in Location filming shots – where stuff was shot, and Inspector Morse did a lot of that. I like alot of what you’ve done on the site thank you.
On 22/07/2016 22:14, John Hudson wrote:
In this episode Lewis states:
‘Wouldn’t mind our Louise going to this school.
They are visiting a girls’ school enquiring about Valerie Craven.
Who is Louise? Always believed his daughter was called Lynn.
Is it an error or is there a third child?
Can you help.
Massive fan of the Oxford detectives in all their forms.
Sent from my iPad
Hi John. Well spotted and it was an unfortunate mistake. Strange that no one noticed it but even in the best programmes continuity slips will occur.
It seems that a plan to include Lewis’s daughters was abandoned later on by the TV team: he has two (though unnamed) girls in the novels.
Fiona Mollison was also in As Time Goes By, as the head of the second branch of Type for You 2, the one Jean is jealous of. I also noticed the misnaming of Lewis’ daughter. This is one of my favorite episodes. Doesn’t Frances Tomelty have the most piercing, amazing eyes. She was in the first episode of Unforgotten, as the mother.
I really enjoy the detailed work you out into this. The postcard reference here is a lovely touch which I missed completely. Just one thing: I think the “men and their shoes” line is meant to be a reference back to a George Craven’s speech to Morse earlier about his own shoes always being “full of muck… that’s all you need to know about me”. So ultimately, yes, as you say, “you can tell a man by his shoes”.
Hi Simon and welcome to my blog. I think you are absolutely right regarding the ‘shoes’ reference I never picked up on that.
Yes, I thought the same. Mr Craven had made quite an issue about his shoes at the building site.
A trivial Point but Liz Hurly was born in June, as this episode comes out earlier in the year then Liz would be 22 at the time (not 23) however depending when they filmed the episode she may have been as young as 20 (or more likely 21 at the time of filming)
Good morning.just watching ‘Last Seen Wearing’ on ITV3 just now.Your blog on the Inspector Morse programmes is excellent and has added to my enjoyment of the episode today. All the best,Graham ps Like you I liked when Morse said he had The Ring Cycle on cassette as well. Very Morse !
Just love your blog! With regard to the location where Morse and Lewis interview John Maguire, it is a balcony of what would have then been the new Chelsea Harbour Development overlooking the Thames. The green spire seen in the background when John is in shot is the Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Battersea on the south bank. Celebrity alert – at least unless he has moved recently, Michael Caine is a part time resident of the Chelsea Harbour Development.
I can’t bear the way they keep sniffing at the bunch of dahlias. Dahlias don’t smell. Roses would have worked better.
Melissa Simmonds /Valerie Craven was born in 1964 and trained at RADA. It was her first TV job. She is now an actress turned producer.
So who was the father, and what was the relevance of Catholicism (was her family Catholic?)
I believe the shoe reference concerns the scene near the start when Morse is interviewing the father, who says he never buys good shoes since they get ruined on the building sites…
This is where the series began to deviate more from the novels. In this case, they changed the murderer, which I don’t think ever happened again (I can’t really count “The Last Enemy” as an adaptation of “Riddle of the Third Mile”; totally different title, different story). I suppose it was to give Valerie a happy ending, but as you allude to, it does muddle Baines’ murder a little.
Incidentally, Suzanne Bertish who plays Ms. Baines (gender flipped from the novel) is a first rate actress, a bit underused in the part. One thing I really appreciate is how a couple of Morse episodes, produced about 30 years ago no less, treat gay people and their lives in a matter-of-fact light. They do get murdered, but that has nothing to do with their sexuality and everything to do with the genre. The casualness and ease with which they’re depicted is refreshing. As a US viewer, I’m not at all sure you’d get that on American TV, especially back then.
To answer another question, I believe Acum would have been the father of Valerie’s baby (could have been underlined more clearly in the script), and she went to Maguire for the abortion as both Acum and her parents were Catholic. Ambiguous whether Acum knew of the pregnancy and if so, how he reacted to Valerie’s choice.
I just got through watching the episode. I haven’t read the novel on which it was based, but I’d assumed that Maguire was the father for a few different reasons: 1) When Morse and Lewis first visited him on the balcony where he was showing a property, Morse asked him if he had known that Valerie was pregnant. His response was a guilty look; and he muttered something like “oh, God.” Perhaps that was only because he knew that he’d lied to Morse when he’d claimed to have seen Valerie only once or twice, but it seemed more plausible that it was because he was the father. Valerie’s diary had several references to Maguire; he wasn’t just a casual acquaintance. 2) It was revealed that Maguire had paid for Valerie’s abortion at a hospital around the corner from his address: Morse had a copy of the “termination” paper, and on it Valerie had named Maguire as her next-of-kin. Why would she have gone to Maguire for help, and why would he have given it, if she’d known him only casually? 3) If Acum was the father, it seems implausible that she wouldn’t have told him that she was pregnant by him simply because of his Catholicism. She’d apparently been living with him for the six months since her disappearance, even passing herself off as Acum’s wife. (It was she who answered the door, wearing a green cosmetic mask and head towel, when Morse and Lewis first called at the Acum house—Morse realized that at the point in a hallway at the police station when he covered up half of a woman’s face on a poster, and asked Lewis if he could tell who the woman was. Morse than muttered something about Catholics and masks; and when they went to the Acum house next, Morse called to Valerie upstairs, realizing that she was there.) The point is that Acum’s Catholic strictures were apparently not all that severe if he had had Valerie living with him all that time and hadn’t troubled himself to even reveal to her parents that she was alive and well.
I’m just surmising though based on that evidence; the episode didn’t explicitly reveal who the father was.
Who did the pair of tights belong to that Morse and Lewis found in John’s flat? Probably not relevant at all to the story!
It seemed that John MaGuire was popular with the ladies. However, the inference was that they were Valeries.
Morse speaks to Sheila Phillipson in Christ Church College Library. They leave the College via the Canterbury Gate (walking into Merton Street). I have pictures of both locations if you would like to see them.
A very minor point, but there seems to be a slight incongruity of dates in this episode. When we see Morse in his office, reading a copy of Jude the Obscure (at work!) when Lewis comes in with the Valerie Craven files, a 1987 calendar is hanging prominently on the wall behind Morse’s desk. Lewis states that he thinks Valerie had been gone for about six months. When Morse visits Mr. Craven at his work site, he asks Mr. Craven whether Valerie had been angry when she disappeared; her father replies “You can’t be angry for six months, can you?” So that would place the time of the current action in about September of 1987.
But when Morse and Lewis visit the Homewood School, Ms. Baines states explicitly that Valerie disappeared on “Thursday, March 24th.” One slight problem: March 24th didn’t fall on a Thursday in 1987, but it did in 1988. (Prior to 1988, March 24th had last fallen on a Thursday in 1983, and wouldn’t do so again until 1994.) So the action takes place in September, 1988, six months after Valerie’s disappearance.
Why then does Morse have only a 1987 calendar on the wall of his office? Would he really have cared so little for convention or practicality that he would still not have replaced a 1987 calendar some nine months into 1988? Perhaps so, but it seems more likely a mistake in continuity—that perhaps the episode was filmed in 1987 and a 1988 calendar wasn’t yet conveniently available.
In reply to Donald’s comments above, I am afraid to say that although it is not made explicitly clear in this episode, David Acum is the father of Valerie’s aborted child. I believe Valerie did tell David that he was the father, but as a Catholic, it would be against his religious beliefs for his child to be terminated.
There is an inconsistency in that sense, because he clearly was led astray by Valerie from his Catholicism, given that firstly, as a married man, he had an intimate affair with her, whilst she was a pupil in his class. Secondly, he moved to Reading, and after her abortion in London, she joins him to live there, when he knows she has been reported missing, and is part of an extensive police investigation, that had increased to “three files” as Morse memorably quoted. However, I suppose Acum weakly gave into temptation and fell for this schoolgirl, when he should have known better, and obviously caused all the further dramatic ramifications in the rest of the episode.
To reiterate, Valerie could not gain Acum’s help and money for an abortion, because of his Catholicism. Similarly, her Mother and Stepfather are Catholics, so she cannot go to them for assistance. Therefore her only option left appears to be Maguire in London, who is not a Catholic. Why would Maguire provide money and support for Valerie’s abortion, if he was not the father, I hear you ask?
Valerie was supposed to have met Maguire at a party, but it seems Valerie is a girl of fairly loose morals and is rather sexually promiscuous. As a result, she and Maguire clearly had some sort of sexual affair, during a time when Valerie was underage legally. Thus, this gives her a hold over Maguire. He does not want to be dragged into an inquiry about a sexual relationship with a minor, and also a person who has been reported missing, so he reluctantly I suspect, provided support and money for Valerie’s abortion.
Yes, this is the correct explanation, it is backed up by what Morse mutters at the end of the episode. Not my favorite episode, not credible at all.
Hi James, I did not think that Valerie and Maguire had a sexual relationship. I guess I just thought they were friendly and out of the blue, so to speak, she, as David was Catholic and the father, went to Maguire for help. But your theory makes more sense in that if they were just friends why would he pay for the abortion and help her. Could it be that she knew of his cocaine habit and held that over him? Maybe I’ve been watching too many crime shows!
Was David the teacher really married, or was it actually Valerie who came to the door with a face pack on when Morse called round?
Hi Louisa. David Acum had been married but his wife left him. It was Valerie who answered the door to Morse.
The school was Reading Blue Coat School.
Francis, are you referring to the Catholic School or the all girls school?
Homewood School is Reading Blue Coat School (https://rbcs.org.uk/) in Sonning on Thames.I remember it being filmed as I was a pupil there myself at the time.
I watched this one again last night as I’m very fond of this episode. A couple of location thoughts: I think the flats where Maguire is questioned are at Imperial Wharf in Chelsea Harbour. Also, Acum’s house looks very like those at Woodley, Reading. (Apologies if these are already known!)
Like others, I enjoyed reading your blog on this Morse episode I just happen to be watching. Thank you.
PS. You wrote: “… A young schoolgirl, Valerie Craven, has went missing…” A long day or is that verb a new IN thing? 🙆✒🎓
Thank you Marya. In regard to the grammatical error, let’s blame ‘a long day.’
Excellent info you have captured here. Any chance you know the location of the Phillipson House? Its been used on Lovejoy and many other shows. I recognize the interiors and furniture. Can you help? Cheers
I didn’t know it has been the location had been used by other shows. As yet I haven’t been able to identify it but I am planning to return to older reviews and revise them.
Hiya Chris. Came across your blog via Googling for background info on this episode, which happens to be on ITV3 as I type! Lots of my idle questions answered on one page – very helpful, thank you!
One thing I spotted – Miss Baines’s postcard is a reproduction of this Modigliani rather than being a Radclyffe Hall portrait. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/modigliani-portrait-of-a-girl-n04723
Oh, and a slightly on the nose cultural reference – towards the end of the episode after Morse and Lewis have driven David Acum back to Reading and join him in his living room to “wait for his wife”, the centrepiece image of the collaged walls is the face of Lolita as used in the poster for the 1962 film. Rather less subtle than Ellen Terry! 😉https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c1/Lolita_%281962_film_poster%29.jpg/800px-Lolita_%281962_film_poster%29.jpg
Hello Polly and welcome to my website. Well spotted regarding the Mondigliani and the Lolita poster. I will add those pieces of information to my review post.
Hello Chris, I only heard the music the one time, but I wonder if the jazz is by Gato Barbeiri who wrote the theme for Last Tango in Paris (which features naughtily in another episode)?
Hi Adrian. Pleased to see you agree with my remarks, about this episode, that I wrote on this page, a few months ago. I just wondered, have you found the time to read my analysis of “Service of All the Dead”, sorry it was overly long again, in response to your interesting comments, about that episode?
I certainly did, I think I also thanked you (unless I am wrong). If I didn’t, I thank you now.
I’m really admired by the incredible amount of work and research you’ve been doing. Thank you!
Even for a person without English culture background, like me, your posts are so engaging – informative and valuable. Shooting locations, props, art and music – in every film, they tell a lot about the protagonist and must be so interesting for the people who have lived in or know England well.
Only recently, I’ve learnt about the Inspector Morse Series and have fallen in love with them. These episodes are so different from superficial TV series about detectives. You can observe the development of the character, the changes, you simply become part of that film life. I treat myself to an episode every Saturday night and it’s probably the only time when I can get disconnected from the everyday routine.
Good luck with your studies and further work.
Hello and welcome to my website. Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful comment. It’s always good to know of people who are only recently discovering what I refer to as the Morse Universe, (The Morse, Lewis and Endeavour series).
It never ceases to fascinate me how the writers of the Morse television series felt such a compulsion to make the story appeal to a middle / uper-middle class viewers.
The TV episode just does not reflect the novel. The characters are somehow ALL wrong, which was such a core tenet to the outcome of the case that the two stories feel like two entirely separate entities. Valeries parents being the glaring example. Dr. deBryn replaces a character completely and utterly different to him, so different in fact that the TV show might as well be a brand-new case.
All of the uncomfortable, seedy moments of the case are completely omitted (the novel has a grim, sultry theme) which is a shame because these are character-defining for Morse and Lewis and gives insight on how they view people and their environment.
Oh, and of course Morse is supposed to be a chain-smoking, alchoholic, sociopath with a gambling addiction and a coarse streak longer that a Rugby paddock (and a good 10 years younger than John Thaw) but sanding off his sharper edges is understandable.
The writers of the TV series changed many aspects of the characters of Morse and Lewis, and as the novels go on you see Colin Dexter incorporate those changes.
Morse drove a Lancia in the early novels, with the Jag suddenly appearing without explanation about midway through the books. Sergeant Lewis was originally Welsh in the early novels, but then it changed to him being Geordie, but his wife being Welsh.
Early novels Morse would often stop at Lewis’s for tea, if Mrs Lewis was doing egg and chips, but this slowly stopped.
As you read the later novels you really see how Colin Dexter made them reflect the TV series. It felt a little disappointing that he would do that.
Never having read the books, I do appreciate the comparisons you make between the books and the series. The only thing I did know from other comments was that Lewis in the books was far older. I must say though i am glad that was changed as I do like the young, happy go lucky Lewis of the series. And of course I love the jag!
I was shocked the first time I read a Dexter/Morse novel, which was the first one, “Last Bus to Woodstock.” By that time, I’d seen all the Thaw Morse episodes, most of them at least twice, and was unprepared for how radically different the Morse of the novel was from the Morse I’d come to know from the series! The Morse character in the novel made at least 8 grammatical errors (Dexter, as omniscient narrator, actually comments on the first of them in the last sentence of Chapter 2)—which would never happen in the TV series! Morse is described in that novel as a “lightly built, dark-haired man” who’d been an undergraduate “twenty years ago,” and so is no more than in his early 40s in that novel. Also, in the novel, he smokes packs of cigarettes, carries on with at least one female character, and as noted above, is younger than Lewis: “Lewis … was by several years the older man anyway.” And as also mentioned, in that first novel, he drives a Lancia.
The Morse of the series seemed to be more of a “class act” than the Morse of the novel!
Now I’m glad I never read the novels because I love the series and the characters of Morse and Lewis the way they are on TV especially their kind of father/son relationship.
This is the one Morse that seems to ruin a great novel. Such an exciting and edgy plot in the book and such a boring one here
Baines the character here is confusing. In the book the man was so dastardly that Morse admitted he didn’t really care who killed him.
Here – she is blackmailing the principal instead of reporting him, but Morse likes her so she is supposed to be somewhat likeable to the viewer.
The other confusing part is they write Baines to like women but also hint that the missing girl likes women sometimes, and that they have been in touch with each other since she was missing.
This alone means nothing. Anyone can have non-romantic relationships with anyone. But From the book the missing girl slept with two members the faculty. Is it implied baines might have had a relationship with the girl or was she just a mentor? It’s actually more confusing to those who read the book.
Also – having a manslaughter instead of a murder doesn’t feel right. My bet – they wanted this to appeal more to female viewers so they adjust the plot accordingly – but at the sacrifice of one of the best twists in Morse history.
I discovered the whole Morse-Universe only about three months ago and I have to say, I`m so glad I did!
And when I found your website, I realized just HOW much love for detail there is to these shows.
It`s so cool to read about all those details and your and other people`s appreciation for these shows.
It made me appreciate the Morse-Universe even more! Thank you so much for this wonderful website and all your work that goes into it.
Three months ago I was watching TV and changing channels and came across the image of a plant (Datura stramonium from the Endeavour episode “Fugue”, used to poison the second victim I believe) and since I have a thing for plants and was at that time actually thinking of getting a Datura plant myself (it has quite lovely flowers), I was like “wait, how interesting, that is a Datura plant, what kind of show is this?” I had no idea what I was watching and had never seen an episode of Endeavour or Inspector Morse before. But it got my attention with this little plant. At first, I only kept watching because I was simply hoping to see more of the Datura and maybe learn something new about this plant. Then it became clear to me that is was a crime show but I was completely hooked and for the first time in a LONG time have discovered a tv show I´m really enjoying.
After watching almost every Endeavour episode, I started to watch the Inspector Morse episodes last week.
And now I am finally where I wanted to get with this post in the first place:
One little detail in “Last seen wearing” that made me smile and that I wanted to share:
After Cheryl Baines died, Morse says to Lewis that she collected first editions, for example a “Housman”.
In episode “Neverland” Endeavour quotes the last stanza of the Housman poem “How Clear, How Lovely Bright” (Ensanguining the skies, How heavily it dies,…)
I never heard of Housman until I googled which poem Endeavour was quoting in “Neverland” (I hope this is excusable for someone outside of the UK :)) and now that I came across the name “Housman” for the second time in my life just shortly afterwards in “Last seen wearing”, it made me appreciate all these connections once again.
With great appreciation for all the effort you put into this website,
Greetings from Germany,
I see Donald Phillipson as very much the David Cameron of Morse killers
One thing that has always confused me about this episode. When Morse and Lewis visit David Acums house and “Mrs Acum” answers the door in a green face pack… that is Valerie Craven. How did morse not notice..
Alan, she was wearing that face mask and her hair was wrapped in a towel. She certainly looked nothing like her photos and Morse was certainly not expecting to see anyone but Mrs Acum who he had never met before.
I thought it was incongruous that Sheila Philipson refered to Mrs Acum as (what sounded like) “a crushing dodge” (27.32) which was obviously an insult, and I took to mean frumpy, while the woman who answered the door at the Acum’s was very attractive, even wearing a face-mask. In retrospect this was clearly a clue.
Hello Zerka. What Mrs Acum actually says is, “lt’s heresy, l know, but, given his wife, who was a crushing stodge.”
I agree, Alan, I think it’s obviously Valerie Craven. In fact, I guessed the first time I watched it. I think it would’ve been more effective if she’d not been seen nearly as clearly. Still a really good episode though
I think the script is playing very fair by giving the attentive viewer the chance to realise it’s her, but Morse doesn’t because at this point he is arrogantly insistent that Valerie is dead.
I personally think this is the first great Morse episode. An intriguing mystery, with some excellent performances. The young Liz Hurley is effective as the very plummy Julia. Proof that she can be very good given the right role. Dodgy comment from Morse about the length of the schoolgirl’s skirts though. Surprised it got through the net even then
This episode has its faults and relies on two coincidences really. Firstly, when Morse first meets Valerie he firstly conveniently tells Lewis to wait in the car and she had a face pack on; and since he hadn’t really taken much interest in the case at that point he wouldn’t have seen the videos etc. Secondly, the night Baines was killed 3 people went into the house, but only 1 was seen by the neighbour.
I do enjoy this episode because it is Morse at his most maverick, and has some great interplay between Morse and other characters as well as his first falling out with Lewis.
Reading the comments there has been mention on Louise vs Lyn/Lynne. Is this the first episode where at least one of Lewis’s children are named? If so, even if it conflicts with the books (it’s ages since I read them so I can’t recall), then for TV continuity future episodes should have kept with Louise.
My issue is not so much with Morse failing to spot Valerie behind the face mask but that is was made so obvious to the viewer. We’d been shown close-ups of her face in videos and it’s so clearly her answering the door of Acum’s house. If they’d shown us all just a little less, it may have prolonged the mystery
I used to live and work in a nearby school to Sonning Blue Coat school (where the school scenes were filmed) and visited several times- a lovely spot.
This is a good but not brilliant episode- the whole Morse commentary on the girls’ sportswear was completely inappropriate. What were the writers thinking? Completely out of character for him as well.
From my own experience the character of Phillpson is a send-up of egotistical narcissistic public-school headmasters who love he sound of their own voice and reputations. The comment about him attending a sports day in running spikes is completely on-point- I know several school leaders who would have done that.
6 and a half Jags for me.
Yes, the locker-room style comments about girl’s skirts are horrible. I suspect the writer didn’t know the Morse character or the Morse /Lewis dynamic too well, and wrote what he thought was a ‘typical’ blokey copper style comment. Why the producers didn’t pick it up though is beyond me
On the contrary, the comments on the girls skirts is a lot closer to the Morse of the books, so is in keeping with the Morse character.
For a variety of reasons the coarseness of the Morse character in the books, doesn’t generally translate into the Morse character of the TV series.
I meant the writer wasn’t too familiar with the Morse character as written for TV, which is clearly a much more thoughtful, cerebral copper than the one in the books. And thank god for that
I disagree – it wasn’t until series three that the character was consciously cleaned up and smartened up. Those early episodes have a fair few moments of seediness for the character. The clean-up job was partly at the insistence of John Thaw. I remember that during the later series, VHS cassettes of the episodes were released with the tagline “Morse, the gentle romantic with a flair for the puzzle”, which is definitely not the Morse of the novels or of the first two series! (Or any of them, really.)
I agree with this. Watch the first episode especially and Morse is a much darker character more in line with the books.
Interesting “insider” info on this and a good call by John Thaw.