First transmitted in the UK on the 10th January 1990.
This episode is not based on any of Colin Dexter’s books.
This is episode 2 in series 4. Chronologically this is episode 13.
Colin Dexter doesn’t appear in this episode.
Directed by Peter Hammond: He also directed the episodes, Service of all the Dead and The Settling of the Sun.
Written by Jeremy Burnham: This was the only Morse episode that he wrote. He also wrote many episodes of the 1980s British TV show, Howard’s Way.
Episode Jag Rating (out of ten)
Trevor Radford, managing director of Radford’s Brewery, is brutally murdered after having been seen typing a letter, burning the top copy then discarding the carbon paper. (I wonder if carbon paper is still used in these days of computers and home printers. For those of a young disposition ask your parents what carbon paper is). What is strange about the typed letter is that it has been backdated three years.
Morse and Lewis learn from the brewery staff that Trevor’s brother Stephen believed that his brother was incapable of running the brewery and he is the reason that it is struggling. Morse and Lewis also learn that a larger rival and more successful brewery, Farmers of Banbury, were in the process of attempting to buy Radford’s Brewery.
Stephen, who is having an affair with his dead brother’s wife, steps into run the brewery until a decision is made on whether to sell the family run business to its larger more successful rival. Shortly after, Stephen is also brutally murdered.
So, with two murders and a family seemingly in turmoil, Morse and Lewis will need more than a liquid lunch to help them think this sorry state of affairs through to a satisfactory conclusion.
Review. (Warning! This review may contain some spoilers.)
“You’ll never believe this sir, we have to visit a brewery”.
This is Lewis’s first line of the episode and is said with a huge grin. The episode is littered with great quotable lines some of which I will include further down the page.
This is a good episode but not a great one. Personally, I believe that with a different director the episode may have been improved. The director of this episode is Peter Hammond who was also responsible for directing the episodes, Service of the Dead (Series 1, Episode 3) and The Settling of the Sun (Series 2, Episode 3).
In all three episodes Peter Hammond uses the same themes and motifs in his style of directing; looking through glass, looking at character’s reflections in mirrors and dark, as in a style of lighting (or lack of) as opposed to ambience of the piece. Though I suppose there is a dark and foreboding element to this particular episode.
I remember when I first watched this episode I assumed that the significance of the looking through glass and looking at people reflected in mirrors was an allusion to how drinkers see the world, through the bottom of a glass. But now knowing that these motifs appear to be Peter Hammond’s particular style of directing I am not so sure that my first thoughts were correct.
I loved that the episode included the wonderful Lionel Jefferies, a very under-rated actor. He appeared in some of my favourite films, most notably, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968),Two Way Stretch (1960) (with the wonderful Peter Sellers),
(A scene from Two Way Stretch. On the left, Lionel Jefferies, Middle, Bernard Cribbens and Peter Sellers on the right.)
The Colditz Story (1955) and again with Peter Sellers in The Wrong Arm of the Law (1963).
He was also of course an accomplished writer director. Probably the most famous film he directed and wrote the screenplay for is The Railway Children.
An actor in this episode who will be very familiar to fans of John Thaw is the delectable, delicious and delightful Lisa Harrow. (It was difficult decision not to put a photograph of Lisa Harrow wearing her swimsuit from this episode of Morse but I was afraid that I may be held responsible for countless heart attacks, strokes (Oh behave) and other heart conditions). Lisa Harrow was of course John Thaw’s on screen wife in the excellent TV series, Kavanagh QC. (Has that series been shown in America?).
Lisa Harrow and John Thaw in Kavanagh QC
As always Lisa Harrow adds a touch of class to this episode as she does with almost anything she appears in and that includes that swimsuit. Ahem. Swiftly moving on…
If there is one thing that stands out about this episode is that it feels like it is rattling along at a fair rate of knots. I felt the episode was faster paced than most of the Morse episodes. I’m not saying that slow paced is a bad thing, if I was I wouldn’t be watching Morse. Like the trains that Victor Preece played with, the story needed a quicker tempo to help unsettle the viewer. The pace was quickened I believe to shake up the viewer as much as the violent deaths probably did.
The deaths of the two brothers were violent though we only saw the actual act of violence in the case of the first murdered man, Trevor Radford. This slice of violence, especially so soon in the episode, was unusual for a Morse episode. More often than not the viewer would only be witness to the aftermath of the killing and not the actual killing itself.
Another unusual inclusion in the episode was a black character, Gail played by Kamilla Blanche. Without going through all the episodes other than in my mind I can’t think of any other black characters in the Morse series.
All in all a good episode though the last words of the murderer, “When I get out, I’ll get you too”, was rather ridiculous and was very out of place and belonged in an episode of Murder She Wrote. But in all honesty Sins of the Father would be overshadowed by the two following titanic episodes that would conclude the fourth series, Driven to Distraction and Masonic Mysteries.
Interesting Quotes from the episodes;
1 – “Murder inquiry, Beer involved. They’ll give it to Morse I thought”. George Linacre (John Bird)
2 – Butler – “Can I have your name sir.”
Morse – “Morse”.
Butler – “Rank.”
Morse – “That’s important is it?”
3 – Linacre – “Good old Morse, always the puritan.”
Morse – “Purist, George.”
4 – Morse – “Don’t slurp in my ear Lewis.”
5 – Thelma Radford (to Morse – “You look the faithful type. One woman at a time man.”
6 – Lewis – “There’s been another murder.”
Morse – “I hope its that landlord from the Cock and Bullfinch teach him to keep his beer properly.”
The only music in the episode, other than Barrington Pheloung’s incidental music, is from the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi’s (1813 -1901) La Traviata which is played at different times through the episode. The section that is always used in the episode is called Follie, follie/Sempre libera.
The music is first played when Morse talks to the Lisa Harrow character Thelma Radford. That is at 55 minutes and 13 seconds. It is then played again in Morse’s office and at his home.
Morse is in his office and decides to catch 40 winks. He asks Lewis to place a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door and then turns on the radio. The music playing is Franz Schubert’s (1797 – 1828) String Quartet No.10 in E flat major, op.125 No.1.
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.
First up is an offhand comment by Morse when Lewis states that the first victim, Trevor Radford, one of the brewers found him at the bottom of a vat. Morse replies, “Just like poor old Clarence.”
Morse is referring to the Duke of Clarence (a.k.a. Clarence) the brother of King Edward IV and Richard III. He was convicted of treason against his brother, Edward IV, and was executed (allegedly by being drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine). He appears as a character in William Shakespeare’s plays Henry VI, part 3 and Richard III, in which his death is attributed to the machinations of Richard.
Morse: That was a curious phrase she used (Thelma Radford), last and definitely least.
Lewis: But many that are first shall be last and the last shall be first.
Morse: Very good Lewis where did you pick that up?
Lewis: Sunday school Sir.
Morse: And what’s its relevance?
Lewis: It means Sir, that one of these days I’m going to be a Chief Inspector. And you’re going to be a Sergeant Sir.
Below is the look Morse gives Lewis after this remark.
So, where does the phrase Lewis uses, “But many that are first shall be last and the last shall be first” actually come from. It is from the Bible Matthew 19:30 and Mark 10:31. It appears again in Luke 13:30 but in a slightly different form; “And indeed, some who are last will be first, and some who are first will be last.”
The next literary remark is made by Thelma Radford in Helen Radford’s house to Helen. Thelma remarks that the two Trevor Radford was in Stephen Radford’s way, business wise. Thelma says it is the old “Jacob and Esau thing. One brother depriving the other of his birth right.”
Lisa Harrow as Thelma Radford on the right and Kim Thomson as Helen Radford.
This is referring to The Book of Genesis which speaks of the relationship between Jacob and Esau, focusing on Esau’s loss of his birthright to Jacob.
Morse is interviewing Isabel Radford and asks,
Morse: And you don’t blame her?
Isabel: Accidents will happen even in the best regulated families.
Morse: Mr Macawber.
Isabel: I thought it was W.C. Fields.
The quote is from Charles Dicken’s David Copperfield. The exact quote from the novel is;
“My dear friend Copperfield,’ said Mr. Micawber, ‘accidents will occur in the best-regulated families; and in families not regulated by that.”
W.C. Fields was an American comedian, actor, juggler and writer. Fields played Mr Macawber in the 1935 film version of David Copperfield.
The next quote is said by Isabel Radford to Morse:
“Must the evil that men do live after them?”
This is from William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and is said by Brutus. The exact quote is “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”
There was only one piece of art I could identify and that was at 56 minutes and thirty seconds. Morse is talking to Thelma Radford in her swimming pool area. On the wall behind Morse we can see a print of the brilliant British David Hockney painting.
Below is the original; Day Pool with Three Blues.
Up next is a print in Morse’s home.
This appears to be a generic print of the Sphinx and the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Above is the warrant card Lewis shows to Mrs Preece. The signature at the bottom marked by the red arrow is of Kenny McBain. Kenny McBain was a producer on the Inspector Morse series and was instrumental in getting the show on TV. He died from Hodglin’s Disease just as the filming of the fourth series began. A lovely tribute.
The location of Stephen Radford’s hi tech business is the Icon, Stevenage, Herts
Brakspeare’s Brewery, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England, UK. (Radford’s brewery)
High Canons, Buckettsland Lane, Well End, Hertfordshire, England, UK. (Radford family house)
McMullen & Sons, The Hertford Brewery – 26 Old Cross, Hertford, Hertfordshire, England, UK
(Farmer’s brewery where George Linacre works)
Ye Old Fighting Cocks pub, Abbey Mill Lane, St Albans, Hertfordshire, England, UK
(Morse and Lewis meet for a drink to discuss the case)
John Bird as George Linacre. (In the UK John Bird is more famous as a British Satirist. (Born November 22, 1936)
Isabel Dean as Isobel Radford (Born: May 29, 1918 – Died: July 27, 1997)
Lisa Harrow as Thelma Radford (Born: August 25, 1943)
Lionel Jefferies as Charles Rasdford. (Born: June 10, 1926 – Died: February 19, 2010)
Alex Jennings as Victor Preece (Born: May 10, 1957)
Betty Marsden as Cynthia Preece. (Appeared in a few Carry On films most notably in Carry on Camping.
(Born: February 24, 1919 – Died: July 18, 1998)
Paul Shelley as Stephen Radford (Born: May 15, 1942)
Kim Thomson as Helen Radford (Born: 1960) (became a regular on the TV soap Emmerdale in 2009)
Andy Bradford as Trevor Radford. (Born: September 7, 1944)
Simon Slater as Norman Weeks (No info)
Paul Mooney as the pathologist (No info)
John Golghtly as Nelson (Born: May 18, 1936)
Jean Ainslie as the cleaning lady (Born: 1920 – Died: October 26, 2001)
Kamilla Blanche as Gail (No info)
Maggie Wilkinson as Shirley (No info)
Liz Kettle as WPC. (No Info) The lovely Liz appeared in 5 Morse episodes
– Happy Families (1992) … WPC
– Second Time Around (1991) … WPC
– The Sins of the Fathers (1990) … WPC
– The Settling of the Sun (1988) … Policewoman
– Last Seen Wearing (1988) … Policewoman
Read my Q & A with Liz Kettle by clicking here.