Last Seen Wearing. An Overview: Music, Art, Literary References, Locations etc.


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)

The episode can be found here on my YouTube channel:

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.

Rating 7/10


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

Literary References.


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…


In this scene Ms Baines is sitting writing at her desk. On the shelf of the desk is a postcard;


I think it is a portrait of the writer Radclyffe Hall. Radclyffe Hall is best known for the novel The Well of Loneliness. The novel has become a groundbreaking work in lesbian literature. It would tie in with Ms Baines being a lesbian.


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;


‘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.’

And so we come to end of another post. My next post will be tomorrow and hopefully next week I will post the next in the series of posts on the music, art and literary references in the Morse episodes: ‘The Settling of the Sun’.

PUB Locations

One pub at around 32 minutes. As yet unidentified.



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.





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.

38 thoughts

  1. When you follow the link,-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!

  2. MIchele Winstanley she was a barmaid in some early episodes of Only Fools and Horses I think thats the girl you mean

    1. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Society

    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

    1. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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”.

  7. 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)

  8. 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 !

  9. Hello Chris
    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.

  10. I can’t bear the way they keep sniffing at the bunch of dahlias. Dahlias don’t smell. Roses would have worked better.

  11. 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.

  12. 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…

  13. 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.

    1. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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!

  17. 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!)

  18. Hello,

    Like others, I enjoyed reading your blog on this Morse episode I just happen to be watching. Thank you.

    Kindest regards,

    Marya Berry

    PS. You wrote: “… A young schoolgirl, Valerie Craven, has went missing…” A long day or is that verb a new IN thing? 🙆✒🎓

  19. 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

    1. 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.

  20. 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)?

  21. 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?

    1. Hi James

      I certainly did, I think I also thanked you (unless I am wrong). If I didn’t, I thank you now.

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