First transmitted in the UK on 25th January 1989.
Inspired by the Colin Dexter novel The Secret of Annexe 3 which was originally published on October 1986 and was the seventh Inspector Morse novel.
This is episode 3 in series 3. Chronologically this is episode 11.
Colin Dexter does not seem to appear in this episode but if someone knows better please let me know. John and Cheryl made this observation; “In your review you say Colin does not seem to appear in this episode. Neither Cheryl nor myself can spot him but I wonder, if Colin was unavailable to appear personally, whether the scriptwriter/production team have obliquely included a nod in his direction via his characterisation of Morse in the novels instead. I say this because in Chapter 18 of The Dead Of Jericho Colin writes that Morse listened to The Archers and at the end of Chapter 34 of the same book he informs Lewis: ” – and I’ve got to catch up with the omnibus edition of The Archers. ” Morse listening to The Archers both as single broadcast episodes and the omnibus editions is also mentioned in some of the subsequent novels. As you point out in your review the theme song for that radio show, Barwick Green, is playing in the pub when Rosemary Henderson is seen there.”
Update 30th August 2023. One of my subscribers, Bill from Connecticut, noticed that the sax player during the Policeman’s ball looked a lot like Colin. What do you think?
Directed by Jim Goddard. He only directed this one episode of Morse.
Written by Alma Cullen. She also wrote the following episodes of Morse: The Infernal Serpent, Fat Chance, and Death of the Self. She also wrote an episode, ‘Fun Times for Swingers’ (1996) for the TV series A Touch of Frost. She now writes mainly for the theatre.
Episode Jag Rating:(out of ten)
An anonymous caller to the police tells them to investigate Bay 5B in the multi-storey car park. There the police find a murdered man, Michael Gifford, a successful architect and womanizer. Suspects abound in the form of Brian Pierce, an employee of Michael Giford and who was re-directing company funds for his own use, mostly buying works of art; Rosemary Henderson, with whom he was having an affair and her husband George who is dying of liver failure.
Not one of my favourite episodes due in my opinion to a rather flat story and some poor performances especially by George Irving as George Henderson. His performance is stilted and his portrayal of a drunk doesn’t ring true.
There are some problems with the story. In particular Brian Pierce’s suicide, which though not implausible doesn’t ring true. However, I may be being rather harsh here as Philip McGough who plays Brian Pierce does make the act of suicide appear within the character’s milieu.
Another problem I have is trying to figure out why the police were searching the insurance office and what they were looking for. Any relevant information is gleaned from Edward Manley and his secretary, Amy Morris.
But as with all Morse episodes there is a lot of good, interesting and fun things to get one’s teeth into. Poor Lewis is again hit over the head having been hit with a cricket bat in the previous episode, Deceived by Flight. As Morse comments to Lewis, “You must have a skull like an anvil”.
There is a lovely moment between Morse and Lewis (at 47minutes and 20seconds) as they walk through a park, discussing Michael Gifford’s diary and the importance and meaning of the red circled dates.
George Henderson works at Whytham Woods as a warden. These woods will play a bigger part in the future Morse episode. ‘A Way Through the Woods’, chronologically the 29th episode.
Morse and Dr. Russell are still flirting with each other and when the episode ends they share a drink together at Morse’s house and have future plans to visit the opera together. However, this would be Amanda Hillwood’s last performance as Dr. Grayling Russell. One can only assume that the producers of the programme decided that a long term relationship for Morse wouldn’t sit well within the series.
And finally Morse is pushed into answering why he has never married by Camilla the high class escort; “Too choosy, too hesitant, too last, too busy.”
Before Rosemary Henderson (played by Mel Martin) visits the gym she decides to go for a drink
While there the BBC 4 radio drama The Arches starts and its very familiar theme plays.
“Barwick Green” is the theme music to the long-running BBC Radio 4 soap opera The Archers. It is a “maypole dance” from the suite My Native Heath, written in 1924 by the Yorkshire composer Arthur Wood, and named after Barwick-in-Elmet, east of Leeds, West Yorkshire.
The music being played as we join what appears to be a policeman’s ball. There are two pieces played by the band but i’m afraid I don’t recognize them. They may of course have been written by Barrington Pheloung.
In Morse’s house we find him sitting at home listening to opera. Specifically he is listening to Richard Wagner‘s (1813 – 1883) Parsifal. Specifically the Prelude to Parsifal.
We are back in Morse’s house but this time he has the company of Dr Grayling Russell.
They are listening to a quick step which again I cannot identify.
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.
Or click here to my Youtube channel where you will find the music of Morse and Endeavour contained in playlists.
We are in the house of Brian and Fran Pierce. Specifically we are in Brian’s room cum gallery.
Morse is looking intently at one particular painting which he identifies as Romney Marsh. Brian Pierce identifies the artist as Inchbold.
However, the painting, on the left, is not by John William Inchbold (1830 – 1888) and he never painted anything titled Romney Marsh. In fact it is a very bad print of View near Sefton by the British artist John Edward Newton (1834–1891)
The painting to the right of Morse in the screen capture above, I am not so sure of. I believe it might be a pastiche of Edward Burne-Jones’ (1833 – 1898) painting Flamma Vestalis.
In the same scene the camera pans around of the walls showing a few other paintings. First up is this one;
The above is Val d’Aosta by John Brett (1830-1902)
Next up we have two paintings.
The one at the top is Greenwich Park by JOHN WILLIAM INCHBOLD, BRITISH 1830-1888. Now we have an Inchbold. 🙂
The painting seen at the bottom of the screen grab above is Golden Prospects, St Catherine’s Well, Land’s End, Cornwall by John Brett (1831 – 1902).
Thanks to a website subscriber Nancy, who identified the two paintings in Morse’s house.
On the right is a sketch, Phono by Prianesi and on the left is “Judith 1” painted by Gustav Klimt.
Thank you Nancy.
As far as I could tell there were none. If any of you lovely blog readers do encounter some in this episode let me know.
In the above picture Morse is holding the sadly now defunct weekly British magazine, The Listener. first published on 16 January 1929 and ceased publication in 1991. It previewed major literary and musical broadcasts, reviewed new books, and printed a selected list of the more intellectual broadcasts for the coming week. Happily, the entire digitised archive was made available online to libraries, educational and research institutions in 2011.
In the above scene the painting is said to be ‘Romney Marsh’ by John William Inchbold (29 August 1830 – 23 January 1888). In fact Inchbold never created a painting entitled, ‘Romney Marsh’.
Thanks to John and Cheryl who noticed the following connections; “His encounter with Camilla in this episode is echoed in the scenes between Endeavour and Eve Thorne in Muse: in each episode the courtesan makes the policeman distinctly uncomfortably when the conversation turns, at the woman’s instigation in both instances, to the detective’s love life.” At 1 hour 17 minutes Morse observes wet white paint on his sleeve at the newly decorated premises of Janice. Earlier in this episode he noticed wet white paint on the sleeve of the recently deceased Pierce. This is echoed when Endeavour finds wet white paint on his suit and realises Reg Tracepurcel was the guilty party in Rocket.”
Morse and Lewis discuss the diary.
This is the White Horse pub on Broad Street, Oxford.
Time – 53m1s
Pub – Unknown
Amanda Hillwood as Dr Grayling Russell (Born – 11th August 1962 – )
Mel Martin as Rosemary Henderson ( Born 1947 – )
Marion Bailey as Fran Pierce (Born: July 24, 1959 – )
Andrew Wilde as Edward Manley (No info)
Philip McGough as Brian Pierce (No info)
British soap fans will also know him from the daytime series Doctors in 2010 playing role of Dr. Charlie Bradfield.
George Irving as George Henderson (Born May 6, 1954 – )
Susan Kyd as Camilla (No Info)
Susan Kyd’s Official Youtube showreel.
Kate Lansbury as Mrs Cameron (No Info)
Cathryn Bradshaw as Janice (Born: January 13, 1964 – )
Tom Radcliffe as Ray Miles (No Info)
Pamela Miles as Amy Morris (No Info other than married to the actor Tim Piggot Smith.)
Brian Poyser as Insepctor Dewar (Died in 2009)