A Review of Morse Episode, ‘Dead on Time’. Plus the Locations, Music and Literary References.

Hello everyone and thank you for your patience regarding the lack of posts in the last two weeks. Life as we all know has habit of getting in the way of things. I had some virus that knocked me off my feet but thankfully I am much better now. There are also a few other irritations that are occupying my mind. Those irritations are not fully resolved but I decided to give myself the proverbial kick in the arse and decide to stop feeling sorry for myself.

Anyhoo, thank you all for your continuing support and I hope you enjoy the following post.

Chronologically this is episode 21. (Series 6 episode 1).

First broadcast in the UK on 26 February 1992.

This episode is not based on a Colin Dexter novel.

Where’s Colin?

Blink and you will miss him. He is one of the concert guests at 24minutes and 35 seconds.

Directed by John Madden: he also directed The Infernal Serpent, Promised land and The Way Through the Woods.

Written by Written by Julian Mitchell: he also wrote the episodes, Second Time Around, Happy Families, Deadly Slumber, The Day of the Devil.

SYNOPSIS

An Oxford Don, Henry Fallon, who recently returned form America is found shot in what appears to be a suicide. A complication arises in the shape of Henry’s wife, Susan, who it transpires, much to Lewis’s surprise, was engaged to be married to Morse.

Lewis receives a call from Henry Fallon’s doctor, John Marriat, who had been on holiday during his patient’s death, to ask if Morse and Lewis could visit his surgery. The visit to the surgery and the subsequent information passed on by the doctor to Morse and Lewis questions the coroner’s inquest verdict of suicide.

A complicated case and a complicated relationship between Morse and Susan makes solving the case difficult and leaves Lewis having to untangle those two complications without upsetting his boss.

REVIEW.
(warning, this review may contain some spoilers)

This is one of my all time favourite episodes and what a cracking start to the sixth series. Looking at this episode at a fundamental level it has all the elements for a great crime episode; apparent suicide, an apparent murder, romance, tears, laughter, pathos, shocks and a partnership that keeps evolving between Morse and Lewis.

I’m repeating myself but once again the producers gathered together an excellent cast of British character actors; Richard Pasco as William Bryce-Morgan,  David Haig as Peter Rhodes,  Adrian Dunbar as John Marriat,  Samantha Bond as Helen Marriat and of course the lovely Joanna David as Susan Fallon. I wonder if it was seen as a badge of honour amongst actors to be asked to appear in Inspector Morse? I would have appeared on the show for nothing. However I am not an actor and cannot act. Though my kids say I am good at acting the fool.

This episode showed the warmth and depth to the relationship between Morse and Lewis. Lewis of course has the more difficult role in this relationship as he tries to help solve the case but tread on eggshells when the case becomes entangled in Morse’s romance with Susan. Lewis’s struggle to decide what he should do with the cassette tape is wonderful and Kevin Whately shows his acting mettle as he struggles between his love and admiration for Morse and his duty as a policeman. The conclusion to his struggle is wonderfully poignant and may bring a tear to the eye.

The scenes between John Thaw and Joanna David are electrifying. Joanna David’s character Susan’s struggle with the past and the present is mesmerising as she struggles with her love for her dead husband and her re-found love for Morse. Joanna David’s subtle and restrained performance is sublime. John Thaw’s acting performance is majestic as he tries to control the turmoil of emotions that are within him and also solve a case of the death of a man who ‘stole’ the great love of his life.

Lewis’s remark to Morse that it all makes sense somewhat that Morse is sullen and “sour” as Lewis puts it after he finds out that Morse was close to marrying a very beautiful woman, Susan. This is a very telling statement by Lewis and it does give a great insight into why Morse does have a sour temperament at times. One does find as one gets older and finding yourself alone that one thinks back on those lost loves with some bitterness. It is all a matter of ‘if only’ and ‘what ifs’.

The only reason this episode didn’t receive a ten out of ten is the character of McGregor played by James Grant. I write character but it is more of a caricature. I do believe that the actor is Scottish but he laid on that accent with a trowel. In all my years of living in Scotland I have never heard that particular accent or that speech pattern.

Episode Jag Rating – out of 10.

Music.

The main piece of music in this episode is Scubert’s String Quintet in C major. The movement at the beginning of the episode is the second.

The above piece is played a few more times through the episode. Significantly the above piece turns up in an episode of the Endeavour series, ‘Lazarreto‘, series four, episode three. The piece is played at around the the 21 minute mark in the Endeavour episode.

At the concert that Morse and Susan attend we still have the Schubert Quintet but this time the fourth movement.

Literary References.

None that I am aware of.

ART

There is some art in the episode but nothing of note. All the art in what is shown as Byers Hall is all of family who have lived and owned Nether Winchendon House. It would be impossible to identify without knowing the family history.

LOCATIONS

Our first location is the church where Mrs Marriot meets Morse to tell him she doesn’t believe Peter Rhodes killed Henry Fallon.

The location is St Michael’s Church, Bray, Berkshire, England, UK.

Here is Morse walking up to where Mrs Marriot is sitting waiting for him.

Below is how it looks today and the next picture is looking down the lane from the church. In the above picture you can see the red brick houses in the background.

Morse’s car is parked next to the white fence in the background.

——————————

Next up we have Byres Hall the home of William Bryce-Morgan.

The house is actually Nether Winchendon House, Nether Winchendon, Buckinghamshire.

Image result for Nether Winchendon House, Nether Winchendon, Buckinghamshire, England

—————————

Up next we have Morse and Lewis’s only visit to a pub at 56 minutes.

I believe the pub is the Turf Tavern. The Turf Tavern, 4-5 Bath Place, Oxford OX1 3SU. http://www.turftavern-oxford.co.uk/

silent world turf tavern

the-turf-tavern silent world

——————————–

Our next scene is when Morse and Susan are out walking at 37 minutes into the episode.

The river is the Cherwell and we are looking at Magdalen College in the background.

———————————-

The next scene is when Morse  is lying down and Susan tells him he should be working. Morse replies, “I’m a detective. Detectives think. Today I choose to do my thinking lying down.”

This was filmed in Deer Park, Magdalen College. In the background you can see the tower of Magdalen College. In the middle ground you can see a large gate to the right and a smaller one to the left. Below is a better picture of them.

——————————–

Ar around 11 minutes William Bryce-Morgan goes to London to let Susan know about her husband. The building is the Senate House, University College London, Malet Street, Bloomsbury, London.

Malet Street is the road that runs perpendicular to the road where the still is filmed.

——————————–

At 23 minutes Morse and Susan attend a concert.

The location is the Sheldonian Theatre, Broad Street, Oxford.

———————————-

At the end of the episode Lewis finds Morse standing again at Deer Park.

The one location that has been driving me mad is Peter Rhodes antique shop. I just can’t pin it down to where it is. If anybody can help let me know. There isn’t much to go on but here are the best views. Update 11th March 2018. LUCINDA HARTSTONE  has told me the location of the antiques shop is in Eton, by Eton Porny First School, High Street, Eton.

Sadly, the shop is now a Budgens, a small grocery shop.

MISCELLANEOUS

The gun that killed Henry Fallon was his own. The gun box reads “To Dear Henry. Bon Voyage“. I cannot make out the rest. This must have been his going away present from the Oxford University when he left for America.

——————-

The character of Susan is based on the character of Wendy Spencer in the Colin Dexter novel, The Riddle of the Third Mile. However this episode is not based on that novel but it was used as a basis for the Morse episode The Last Enemy.

Morse was besotted by Wendy and because of that he failed his final exams. In actual fact Wendy also failed her doctorate or to be more precise it was terminated due to the lack of any work being delivered to the University. Wendy started work at the bar in the Randolph Hotel so after.

Joanna David who plays Susan is Laurence Fox‘s aunt.

Image result for joanna david laurence fox

Joanna David and Laurence Fox.

Quote Me. (Interesting dialogue from the episode)

At ten minutes Lewis is visiting Bryce Morgan to inform him of his brother in law’s death.

Lewis – “That’s quite a machine.”

Bryce Morgan – “You should have one, believe me”.

Lewis – I wouldn’t know where to put it sir.”

Bryce Morgan – “Between your knees man”.

——————————–

At twenty minutes. After the inquest Morse talks to Susan and then returns to lewis.

Lewis – “You know it kind of explains things sir. Losing a woman like that I might have turned a bit sour myself.”

————————————

At around the 22 minute mark Lewis finds Morse in his office getting dressed to go to a concert. Lewis tells Morse he too is going out for the evening to a new Indian restaurant.

Lewis – “I’m a steak and baked potato man myself, but Mrs Lewis likes to live on the culinary edge.”

———————————

Morse and Susan are out in Oxford and Morse is lying on a bench.

Susan – “You’re supposed to be working.”

Morse – “I’m a detective. Detectives think, mainly. Today I choose to do my thinking lying down.”

———————————-

At 44 minutes Morse has been invited over to lunch with Susan and Bryce Morgan.

Bryce Morgan – “So Morse, a police man eh. You surprised me I must say.”

Morse – “How so?”

Bryce Morgan – “A writer. Always had you pegged as a future literary gent. Calm on the outside but inside heaving with all manner of passions waiting to be expressed.”

———————————

At one hour and 13 minutes Morse has just had his head bitten off by Chief Inspector Strange. Lewis and Morse exit the office.

Morse – “What the hell is wrong with the man?”

Lewis – “he said sir, he just wants to be sure.”

Morse – “That’s what we all want isn’t it…Matey.”

Connections to the Endeavour and/or Lewis series.

At 13 minutes when Susan and William visit the police station they are greeted by a WPC. We barely get to see the actor’s face but her name is Lesley Vickerage.

Lesley appeared in an episode of Lewis, Down Among the Fearful (2013 Series 7, Episode 1). She played Katherine Dutta.

————————————

Richard Hampton who played the coroner will turn up again as the coroner in the Morse episode Absolute Conviction.

CAST

James Grout as Chief Superintendent Strange (Born: 1926 Died: 2012)

Brendan O’Hea as Telecom Engineer

David Haig as Peter Rhodes

Susan Jane Tanner as Nurse Rogers

James Walker as Henry Fallon (Died: 28 February 2017)

James Grant as McGregor

Richard Pasco as William Bryce-Morgan (Born: 1926. Died: 12 November 2014)

Joanna David as Susan Fallon

Christopher Owen as Solicitor

Richard Hampton as Coroner

Samantha Bond as Helen Marriat

Adrian Dunbar as John Marriat

Dominic Keating as Murray Stone

Well that is all for this post. I hope you enjoyed it. Take care.

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. Firstly I have to complete an intensive year at college which starts at the end of August 2018. If I pass the college year I will then be able to go straight into Edinburgh University. A busy time ahead made even busier by my writing a book on the TV series, Lewis.

20 thoughts

  1. Susan appears — or rather the back of a woman implied by context to be Susan — in Endeavour s4e3 ‘Lazaretto’. Her mother Caroline (Phoebe Nicholls) has a speaking part. Her father Edgar (uncredited) dies in hospital after a stroke in the course of the episode. Their family home, with which Morse is familiar, appears in one scene (sadly no listing under filming locations).

  2. I am re-watching all of IM and it’s great to come here and read your interesting observations after each episode. Thanks for all your hard work, it’s much appreciated.

  3. You have absolutely no idea how I have been waiting to find a blog exactly like yours. Thank you so much for all that I love.

  4. I’ve been binge watching Morse, and this is so far my favorite episode. Don’t know why, maybe the cast, maybe Lewis seeming to come into his own in this one. Nevertheless, will continue to the end.

  5. Thank you for this review and your site! I watched the episode last night; hadn’t seen it for years. It was a bit of a record in our house because in a single episode we’ve seen three of the actors live on stage: J. David, Haig and Bond. (Daniel Boyle is credited as the writer, not Julian Mitchell.) I was confused by the inheritance – I didn’t catch or understand why Henry Fallon left nothing to his wife, and how that fit. I agree it’s an excellent episode.

    1. Henry left nothing for Susan because he knew she planned to take her own life. They had made what amounted to a suicide pact.

      1. That’s one way of looking at it. Additionally, however, leaving her nothing in his will ensured that any potential police interest would be deflected away from her. They had already planned his death to look like suicide which would later be identified as murder, so had he left her everything the police could have seen her as a potential murder suspect benefiting from his death. Leaving her nothing ensured the son-in-law was the only viable suspect (the brother clearly didn’t need the cash and the doctor from the assisted suicide organisation had already alerted the police to the suspicion that it was murder, not suicide).

  6. Dear Chris.
    What a superb Blog you have created. I have only discovered Inspector Morse and his world a few months ago and I am “passionate” about it. I am more than thrilled to be on your Blog which has been recommended to me. You are doing an amazing job – dedicated to all details. I do appreciate this very much and I know how much work and dedication you put into your Reviews.
    I am myself a webmaster of two websites. My subject are the books of late French author Juliette Benzoni (some of her books were also translated into English in the Sixties) Thank you so much for all the information concerning Inspector Morse. Thanks to you I am catching up… as they say: “Better late than never”. Best to you, Linda

  7. Hi Chris,
    I just watched this episode yesterday. And I really enjoyed it very much.
    I always go to your website to learn more about the episode.
    Thank you for spending so much time putting together such a great website.
    By the way, I thought I would let you know that your picture of Professor Fallon slumped on his desk is posted upside down.
    Christian

    1. Hi Christian. Thank you for your lovely comment. In regards to the photo, it’s upside down to show the inscription on the case that contained the gun.

    1. The tape proved that Fallon never actual talked to his wife, Susan as she was actually in the house at the time. This meant she had no alibi becuase of course she helped her husband take his own life. Lewis threw the tape away to save Morse further heartbreak. Susan was dead so there was no sense in blackening her name.

      1. However it does not prove that Susan was in Henry Fallon’s house, only that she was not in her flat to take the call; e.g.she might have been in London out shopping.

  8. I loved this episode and I’m so glad that Susan and Morse “got together” at the end. I must say, Chris, that I like hearing the Scottish accent even though it might be exaggerated. As an American I’m not sure what is and what isn’t common usage except from what you say. It is unique! I did watch Broadchurch and I believe he is Scottish. Loved it.

  9. This ep was just on tv. I noticed that Joanna David is Emilia Fox’s mother… Emilia is Dr. Nikki Alexander on Silent Witness. They really do look and sound like each other. 🙂 A talented family! 🙂

Leave a Reply