First transmitted in the UK on 18th January 1989.
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This is episode 3 in series 3. Chronologically this is episode 10.
This episode is not based on a Colin Dexter novel but on an idea by him.
Colin Dexter can be seen at 47 minutes 29 seconds walking behind Lewis and Roland.
Directed by Anthony Simmons. He directed only one episode.
Written by Anthony Minghella. He also wrote the episodes; ‘The Dead of Jericho’, ‘Driven to Distraction’. He of course went on to direct movies such as, ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’, ‘The English Patient’ and ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ to name only a few.
Episode jag Rating (out of 10)
Morse receives an unexpected call from an Anthony Donn, a one time flatmate of Inspector Morse during their College years. Anthony Donn is in Oxford as part of the Arnold College old boys Claret Cricket Team. Morse meets with him and realises there is something troubling Anthony Donn but cannot get him to relate what that problem is. Anthony Donn phones the next day to talk to Morse but he is too busy interviewing suspects in the deaths of three people who ran an ‘alternative’, ‘liberal’ bookshop.
Before Morse has time to return the call Anthony Donn is found dead in his college room apparently by his own hand. Morse suspects murder and believes that one or more of the eleven remaining Claret Cricket team members are the murderer or murderers.
Meanwhile a couple, Peter and Phillipa Foster, who are visiting from Brussels to do research for a book Peter is writing appear to be also investigating the Claret Cricket team.
This particular episode is in my top ten favourite episodes of the Morse series. It has many things going for it and one of those is the amount of time we see Morse smiling.; at least four times in the episode. My favourite scene of Morse smiling is when Lewis is acting undercover as a porter to try and obtain any information on the Claret Cricket team. The cricket team are returning from practice and visit the Porter’s Lodge for their key and any messages that may have been left for them. One of the team, played by Charles Collingwood, asks Lewis if he could put some money in the meter for him should any traffic wardens saunter past. The cricketer passes Lewis what looks like a high denominational note. So, Morse comes up to the window where Lewis is and:
This episode has a lot of wonderful and revealing scenes. One scene that reveals more information about Inspector Morse is where he is meet by Roland Marshall who doesn’t at first recognise his former college friend. Not until Kate Donn introduces Marshall to Morse does he realise who Morse is. It is then that we learn Morse’s nickname during his Oxford college days at Lonsdale; Pagan, because of his reluctance to reveal his Christian name.
Another interesting revelation about Morse was that he shared a flat with Daniel Massey’s character, Anthony Donn during their college days. I’m not sure why but I never imagined Morse sharing a flat with anyone. But, unlike the older Morse the younger man appeared to be more sociable. I suppose I always think of Morse living alone and being very content with his own company.
It is a well written episode and not surprising as it was written by the talented Anthony Minghella. I love the little reveals mentioned above but also we learn a little more of Morse’s philosophy, the way he thinks about his work as a detective;
There is one thing that doesn’t work in the episode or at least doesn’t make sense, to me at least, and that is the arson attack on the alternative’ bookshop. I can’t fathom how this relates to the rest of the episode other than being a distraction for Morse. We never learn if anyone is prosecuted for the killing of three people who were trapped inside the shop as it burned. Was it there to show that Grayling Russell is still coming to terms with the kind of job she is doing? Was the sub-plot there to show the hate some people have for other human beings and that misogynistic illustration is played out further when its revealed who the drug dealer was at the end of the episode? People from different aspects of the social spectrum but still capable of feeling the same kind of hatred. A hatred that destroys people’s lives. Well that is my ten cents worth regarding that sub-plot.
This episode finds two women flirting with Morse but ultimately both women are simply using their womanly wiles to keep tabs on Morse and his investigation. Was Morse aware that he was being used? I think he was regarding Phillipa Foster. He certainly, I believe, had an inkling that her interest in him wasn’t purely attraction. As for Kate Donn, I don’t think Morse was aware of her duplicity. I think of the two women he was more disappointed at Kate Donn’s deception. However, I do think Morse was himself being a little indiscreet, flirting with a woman whose husband has just died. Not only that but her husband was an acquaintance of Morse.
As I have already written above, Morse smiles and laughs quite often in this episode. In fact he does so more often than Lewis. Lewis even shows his grumpy, disciplinarian, Morse like side when he reprimands DC Hilaire for listening to the cricket on his portable wireless even though Lewis had just borrowed it to listen to said cricket commentary.
Humour, if not the backbone of the episode it is certainly the feet upon which it stands. From Lewis going ‘undercover’ as a porter to Morse enjoying watching Lewis go through the whole charade. One of the funniest and endearing moments in the episode is when Morse and Lewis meet in the gent’s toilet to discuss the case:
Apart from the above mentioned niggle regarding the arson attack my other niggle with the episode is the scene where Morse gives Kate Donn a lift to the railway station. Once he leaves her on the platform he drives around to the other side of the railway tracks, to the opposite platform and then proceeds to go up the stairs and walkway that span the railway line. The intention being to follow Kate Donn to London. But surely she would have seen his big red car drive around to the other side and then notice Morse walking on to the other platform and possibly over the walkway? Picky? Probably. All in all it doesn’t diminish the episode one iota.
My last point is my belief that the cricket is being used as a metaphor for the detective work carried out by Morse and Lewis. During the episode when Morse is sitting with ‘the handsome’ Phillipa Foster he remarks on cricket that it is, “Men in uniforms, incomprehensible rules, nothing happening for hours on end. “Phillipa replies, “It’s war without guns…Deployment of men, psychology, bravery, great skill, camaraderie, tactics, tension.” All those things that Morse and Phillipa mention could easily be describing the Police Force. (Though, unfortunately guns now play a part in the British Police Force).
That’s all I have to write about the episode and I hope I have given you all something to think about.
We have three pieces of classical music in this episode and the first is at the very beginning where we see Anthony Do arriving at the University and ends when we find Morse in his office. The piece is the ‘Emperor’ Quartet by Joseph Haydn, (1732-1809).
The second piece of music is again being played on Morse’s radio in his office at the police station. Meanwhile Lewis wants to listen to the cricket commentary 🙂 . The piece is by Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) and is the second movement of his Concerto for Cello in A minor. I couldn’t find a video of just the second movement so I have used the video below which has all three movements.
The third piece of music is being played in Morse’s house where we find him discussing the case with Lewis. This piece of music is by Robert Schumann (1810-1856). It is called Third String Quartet.
During the scenes of the criket match Morse has brought along two books with him. He picks up one of the books which is titled ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’.
This book is a 1970s classic and it was a bestseller. Of the title the author Robert M. Pirsig has said, “it should in no way be associated with that great body of factual information relating to orthodox Zen Buddhist practice. It’s not very factual on motorcycles, either.”
Our next book is ‘Zen Flesh, Zen Bones’ by Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki.
It was first published in 1957 and is a Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings. Morse finds this book on Kate Don’s bookshelf.
Our last literary reference is related by Morse when he and Lewis visit Kate Don’s London flat. Morse quotes E.M.Forster, “Only Connect”. The quote is from Forster’s wonderful novel, Howard’s End. Margaret Schlegel, the novel’s intellectual heroine, is kissed by Henry Wilcox for the first time. She reflects on what happened,
“It did not seem so difficult. She need trouble him with no gift of her own. She would only point out the salvation that was latent in his own soul, and in the soul of every man. Only connect! That was her whole sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer. Only connect, and the beast and the monk, robbed of the isolation that is life to either, will die.”
Our first piece of art is via a poster on the wall of Anthony Don’s college room.
As an aside we of course meet the young Anthony Don in the series three episode ‘Ride’ of the Endeavour series.
The painting depicted is section of Paolo Uccello‘s famous ‘Hunt in the Forest‘. Morse fans will recognize this painting form the Lewis episode, ‘The Point of Vanishing‘ (Series 3, Episode 3).
This painting is housed at the Ashmolean in Oxford.
Morse and Lewis are discussing the latter’s holiday plans during the investigation of Anthony Don’s death. On the wall of the university room we see a familiar image that can be found in elsewhere.
The poster depicts a painting by Camille Pissarro (1830-1903). The painting is ‘Peasants Planting Pea Sticks’, (also known as Peasants planting in the field), 1890.
The above painting can be seen at the Ashmolean in Oxford. If the painting looks familiar that is because we saw another painting by Pissaro based on his works of women working in the field in the episode ‘The Dead of Jericho’.
The above painting is called ‘Peasant Women Planting Stakes‘, (1891). We saw a poster of the above painting on Anne Staveley‘s kitchen wall.
The next painting is hanging on the wall of a university room. The scene is where Morse and Roland are discussing the murder of Anthony Don.
The above painting is called ‘Dante Lecturing to a Group of Followers (Six Tuscan Poets)’ by Giorgio Vasari (1511–1574). Below is a better representation of the painting.
1. – Daniel Massey who appears in the episode as Anthony Donn is the brother of Anna Massey who appears in the Inspector Morse episode, Happy Families, (Series 6, Episode 2) and the Lewis episode, Whom the Gods Would Destroy, (Series 1, episode 1).
Anna Massey in Happy Families (left) and in Lewis episode Whom the Gods Would Destroy.
2. – During the episode Kate Donn takes a sip of coffee and says, “I hate coffee”. This appears to be an intentional joke as it plays on Sharon Maughan appearing in famous and very popular adverts for Gold Blend coffee in 1987 and 1988 alongside Anthony Head.
3. – Morse refuses sugar in his tea at 1hr6mins. Maybe he decided to listen to his dentist after all after his toothache in the episode, ‘The Last Enemy’.
4. – We see Lewis’s home and his son for the first and I believe the only time in all the Morse episodes. Or at least we see the back garden and the back of the house.
5. – Daniel Massey and John Thaw starred together in a Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) production of Twelfth Night in 1983.
John Thaw was Sir Toby Belch, Daniel Massey (on the far left of first picture) played Sir Andrew Aguecheek. Co-incidentally,Zöe Wanamaker also starred in the production as Viola. Zöe Wanamaker appeared in the Morse episode, ‘Fat Chance’.
6. – Nicky Henson who plays Vince Cranston in this episode was in one episode of John Thaw’s sit-com, ‘Home to Roost’. He starred as John Thaw’s younger brother, Edward Willows. It was series three, episode two of the sit-com. Aired on the 31st October 1987.
7. When Anthony Donn calls Morse to ask if he would like to meet up, Morse doesn’t at first realise who it is. When Anthony Donn relates his name, Morse replies, “What, St. John’s Wood Road Anthony Don.” St. John’s Wood Road is where Lords Cricket Ground is located.
Daniel Massey as Anthony Donn. (Born October 10, 1933 – Died March 25, 1998)
Amanda Hillwood as Grayling Russell – (Born – 11th August 1962 – )
Andrew Paul as arson suspect. – (March 17, 1961 – )
Andrew Paul is a well known face to British TV viewers having played D.C. Quinnan in the long running cop show for thirteen years, ‘The Bill’. He also appeared in an episode of ‘The Sweeney’ when only sixteen.
Peter Amory as DC Hilaire. – ( November 2, 1962 – )
Peter Amory is well known to British soap fans having played Chris Tate in Emmerdale.
Sharon Maughan as Kate Donn – (June 22, 1950 – )
Sharon is married to the wonderful actor Trevor Eve who played a private detective in the great series ‘Shoestring’ in the 1980s. He also starred in one of my favourite shows of the early years of the 2000s, ‘Waking the Dead’.
Stephen Moore as a Radio Producer. – (Born – December 11, 1937 – )
Stephen Moore has been a mainstay of British television for many, many years. However, I will always remember him affectionately as the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android in radio and television adaptations of Douglas Adam’s ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’. To the right of Stephen in the above picture is the actress Ann Bryson best known for her Philadelphia cream cheese adverts.
Nicky Henson as Vick Cranston – (Born May 12, 1945 – )
Norman Rodway as Roland Marshall – (Born February 7, 1929 – Died – March 13, 2001)
Geoffrey Beevers as Peter Foster – (Born 1941 – )
Bryan Pringle as Barker the Porter – (Born January 19, 1935 – May 15, 2002)
Bryan Pringle will be always be remembered by me for two roles; as the villainous milkman Austen in the Norman Wisdom film, ‘Early Bird’ and as Cheese and Egg in the sit com The Dustbinmen,
Charles Collingwood as Claret’s bowler. – (Born May 30, 1943 – )
Best known to me as Brian Aldridge in the long running BBC Radio Four series, ‘The Arches’.
Jane Booker as Phillipa Foster – (Born May 9, 1956 – )
Another mainstay of British TV.
Nathanial Parker as Jamie Jasper – (Born May 18, 1962 – )
Best known for playing Detective Inspector Lynley in the BBC crime drama series The Inspector Lynley Mysteries.
Elin Jenkins as WPC (No info)
Brian Johnston as himself (Voice only as cricket commentator) – (Born June 24, 1912 – Died January 5, 1994)
Brian was known to countless cricket fans for his Test Match commentary.
Beaconsfield railway station, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. The location where Morse drives Kate Donn then follows her to London.
Kate and Anthony Donn’s house. Denham, Buckinghamshire.
All College scenes were filmed at Hertford College or Oriel or Pembroke College College, Oxford.
Mill Hill School, The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, London.
The burned out bookshop was filmed at St Anne’s Road, Shepherd’s Bush, London.