Hello fellow Morsonians and welcome to this review of episode 26, Deadly Slumber. I have already reviewed episodes 1 to 25. To read those reviews click this link Morse episode reviews.
On Sunday the 22nd September 2019 I will live streaming this episode on Twitch. For that reason I thought I should write this review and hopefully will help in people’s enjoyment of the episode. However, to be honest this episode is easy to enjoy without my review.
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Morse, Series Seven, Episode one.
Chronologically this is episode 26
First broadcast 6th January. 1993.
Colin gets a speaking part.
Directed by Stuart Orme. Also directed the Lewis episode The Great and the Good (2008).
Written by Daniel Boyle. Also wrote the Morse episodes, The Day of the Devil (1993), Happy Families (1992), Dead on Time (1992) and Second Time Around (1991). He also wrote the Lewis episode Whom the Gods Would Destroy (2007).
Doctors Matthew and Claire Brewster are owners of a private clinic. Matthew Brewster is found dead in his garage with the car engine running. It appears a clear cut suicide but the pathologist discovers he was murdered. Morse and Lewis uncover a very possible subject in the shape Michael Steppings. He not only threatened the victim but Steppings’ daughter was declared brain dead while undergoing simple surgery at the clinic. Lewis discovers Wendy Hazlitt, a nurse at the clinic, had an affair with Matthew Brewster. Morse likes Steppings especially the man’s apparent humanity and his unfailing love for his daughter who will never recover from her brain injuries. Morse and Lewis turn their attentions to the Brewster’s son who never say eye to eye with his father and apparently was angry at his father for rejecting his mother in favour of Wendy Hazlitt.
(warning, this review will contain some spoilers)
Morse has just returned from two weeks in Italy. (He was only there three episodes ago, Death of the Self. He loves Italy. 🙂 ) We learn about Morse’s holiday from a conversation with Lewis.
Lewis – l’ve been on the go since eight this morning.
Morse – So have l, Sergeant.
Lewis – But l haven’t spent the last two weeks lying on a beach in Italy, have I?
Morse – l spent my holiday engaged in cultural pursuits, Lewis, not lying on a beach.
I will lay my figurative cards on the table and write that Deadly Slumber is one of my all time favourite Morse episodes. It is an episode that highlights obsession, a parent’s unwavering love for their child and the arrogance of the medical profession. One of the episode’s negative points is that the episode also has the stereotypical and over used theme of a woman scorned, Wendy Hazlitt.
This episode sees the start of series seven which only contains three episodes, Deadly Slumber, Day of the Devil and Twilight of the Gods. This would be the last proper series as the episodes from The Way Through the Woods to The Remorseful Day (five in total) would be one off specials. Graham a friend, related to me that during the filming of the episode Death of the Self, John Thaw and Kevin Whately discussed calling an end to the show. That end was in sight when this episode and seventh series was filmed.
Deadly Slumber is an excellent start to the seventh series as it oozes class, charm, emotion, humour and the colleges of Oxford return after their absence from the last episode of the sixth series, Cherubim and Seraphim. Talking of humour;
A lovely scene where Lewis and Morse share a joke.
Though Kevin Whately and John Thaw had done 25 two hour shows in six years and probably knew they were nearing the end of the show, they certainly did not phone in their performances. Both, as always in anything they did, gave 100% and because of that the show continues to entertain in a way that other shows can only dream of.
Morse in this and also in third episode of the seventh series, Twilight of the Gods, smiles a bit more and shows more compassion toward his fellow man. He even thanks two constables during the show for the work they have carried out which as most of us will know is a rarity in the Morse world. Lewis also comes in for a lot of praise from Morse.
Morse as we all know can be arrogant, grumpy, condescending and patronising but we know that he is a man who, when the opportunity arises, can show great compassion and emotion. This episode brings out that compassion in spades in regard to Michael Steppings and his daughter. Morse sending flowers to the comatose Avril Steppings gave us an insight to how Morse can be. As Michael Steppings says to Morse, “AII the time my girl’s been there, you’re the first person to treat her as though she’s still alive.”
The episode is helped in it’s excellence by the wonderful Scottish actor Brian Cox. In any role he plays he brings gravitas. Brian is so charming in this episode that we, like Morse, find ourselves being drawn to him even though we think he may have killed Matthew Brewster. Does Michael Steppings deserve our sympathy even though we and Morse believe he killed Brewster? Because of what happened to his daughter at the hands of the Brewsters does this justify his killing of Matthew Brewster. As a parent I could never say with complete conviction that I wouldn’t want the ultimate revenge if someone killed one of my children and I am not a violent person.
Can one killing justify another? This is a question that the episode puts to us front and centre. At this moment in time my answer would be no. But if the circumstances arose as it did to Michael Steppings could I honestly say that my answer would be any different to his actions? I hope I am never tested in regard to that question.
I have wondered if Morse’s sympathy and empathy for Steppings and in particular his daughter may have something to do with the loss of his niece in the previous episode, Cherubim and Seraphim.
As you will see below I have given the episode eight. Why not nine or even ten. Firstly, it is as I mentioned above, the episode has that old chestnut of a woman scorned and looking for revenge; in this case Wendy Hazlitt on Matthew Brewster (they were lovers for a while). Secondly, the revenge plot of Michael Steppings is a little convoluted and relied on a little to many variables pointing the police in the correct direction: The female bar owner remembering Steppings, the police doing a TV appeal for the person (Wendy Hazlitt as it turned out) to come forward, John Brewster keeping quiet about him being set up by Steppings and going straight home after waiting for Steppings at his house. There are others which I am sure you will notice or have noticed.
But of course these negatives do not detract from a what is a great episode and sets us up nicely for another great episode in series seven, The Day of the Devil.
Episode Jag Rating – out of 10.
The times shown below are approximate and are based on the British DVDs.
Morse is in his flat trying to decipher the numbers on the sheet of paper. The music playing is the Piano Sonata No. 31 in A flat major, Op. 110 by Beethoven
Morse is at home listening to Piano Concerto No.23 In A Major, K 488 Adagio by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Mrs Brewster is sitting at home. She is listening to Piano Concerto No.23 In A Major, K 488 Adagio by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Morse is listening to music in his office. This is The Rondo for Piano and Orchestra in D major, K. 382 by Mozart.
I noticed on my Morse Music excel sheet that I had made a mistake in regard to the time of the first piece and that I had not included the last piece. So, I have updated the Morse Music List excel sheet and PDF.
Click Morse Music to download the excel sheet.
Click Morse Music 20th sept 2019 to download the above as a PDF.
Thank you to one of my Twitch followers and member of my Sunday Night Morse Club who pointed out that the book Steppings reads to his daughter in the hospital is Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty.
Thank you again to two of my members of the Sunday Night Morse Club they have pointed out that the title of the episode, Deadly Slumber is from a book titled, The Faithful Shepherdess (1609) by John Fletcher. The quote is;
The warm blood gusheth out afresh. She is an unpolluted maid; I must have this bleeding staid. From my banks I pluck this flower With holy hand, whose vertuous power Is at once to heal and draw. The blood returns. I never saw A fairer Mortal. Now doth break Her deadly slumber
Thank you to Nancy who has identified the following.
In the episode Deadly Slumber Nancy has identified an etching in Morse’s living room.
This etching is by Piranesi (Nancy has identified numerous Piranesi etchings in Morse episodes. (There must have been a job lot bought by the production team). The etching is called, Main Facade of the San Giovanni in Laterano.
Later in Morse’s office at the police station we see an opera poster on the wall;.
It is a Royal Opera House poster entitled The Royal Opera a Celebration of Mozart and is currently stored at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Thank you Nancy for all your hard work.
The opening scene looks across Oxford city.
- Radcliffe Camera.
- University Church of St Mary the Virgin.
- Sheldonian Theatre.
- Christ Church Cathedral.
- Wadham College.
The shot was either taken with a camera crane or the highest and nearest building that could be used for that shot is the Department of Earth Sciences on South Parks Road.
Update 08/06/2021. Thank you to TomK who sent me the following information; “The opening overview of the city was filmed from the Hans Krebs Tower, which housed the department of biochemistry, and was demolished in 2014. It was an exceptionally ugly eight story building, and was said to provide the best views of Oxford, because it was the only place from which you couldn’t see the building. I have a photo taken from the top floor which matches perfectly. Although it was ugly, there was amazing and important research done there.”
Above is a photo of the Hans Krebs Tower.
The second scene opens in a pub. (See Pub Locations below for more information).
The next scene sees Jane running after John. They are moving down Catte Street.
Catte Street has been used many times in all three series in the Morse Universe.
The Brewster’s private clinic. Unidentified.
Morse and Lewis leave the police station. Unidentified.
Morse waits to talk to Jane Foley.
This is Oriel College.
We get our first proper look at the Brewster house. Unknown location.
Michael Steppings house. Unconfirmed location.
Someone told me they believed this is a place called Dodds Mill, Chenies, Buckinghamshire. I am not completely convinced so this I will put down as unconfirmed. However, this location is near the location where Lewis meets the crime prevention officer who had visited Steppings’ house.
Burnley Green Hospital. Burnley Green hospital is the Milton Keynes hospital. Thank you to Tassos Vassilakis for confirming this location.
29 minutes – John Brewster goes into Jane’s rooms.
This location is not Oriel College. Unfortunately, I can’t identify it. I can’t even be sure it’s an Oxford College. The only clues to it’s identity are what you see in the three pictures above. A subscriber, David, wrote to me to let me know they believe the above is Oriel College. David wrote, “I think this is Oriel College, but it has been altered a little since the episode was shot.
The doorway is in the third quad and is now the entrance to the Pantin Library. John Brewster descends the steps and walks to what is now the JCR entrance.
I think this was altered around ten years ago so it looks a little different now.”
Lewis and Morse enter the Forensic Science Laboratory.
This is the Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory off South Parks Road, Oxford.
Morse visits the flat of Wendy Hazlitt.
This flat is on St Aldates in Oxford. In the first picture we can see Christ Church College in the background.
Wendy’s flat is on the left. Christ Church over to the right.
In case you can’t read clearly the words at the bottom of the picture; ‘This cafe was used as a location in the Lewis episode The Indelible Stain.’
The crime prevention officer meets Lewis.
This is Church Lane, Latimer, Bucks.
Morse and Lewis take Michael Stepping to the Black Swan Pub. See details below in Pub Location section.
Another pub where Lewis and Morse have a drink. See the Pub Location section below for more info.
Lewis and Morse are walking and talking about the case.
This is Magpie Lane that connects the High Street to Merton Street.
Morse and Lewis are searching for shops that sell aqualungs.
This is Turl Street, Oxford.
Morse and Lewis are walking in the directions of the arrows toward Broad Street.
They get into the jag and drive off down Broad Street.
Morse and Lewis visit where the diving club meet. Unidentified location.
Morse and Lewis go looking for John Brewster.
This is Worcester College. 1 Walton St, Oxford OX1 2HB.
Lewis and Morse talk to John Brewster in Worcester College Library. Colin Dexter is the porter.
We see Jane Foley walking from Merton Street into Oriel Square. Morse calls to her.
Lewis goes to visit Mark Felsham at the Radcliffe Infirmary.
The Radcliffe Infirmary was a hospital in central north Oxford, England, located at the southern end of Woodstock Road on the western side, backing onto Walton Street. The infirmary closed for medical use in 2007. Following refurbishment, the infirmary building was re-opened in October 2012 for use by the Faculty of Philosophy and both the Philosophy and Theology libraries of the University of Oxford.
The second scene of the episode opens in a pub. This is the King’s Arms at the corner of Holywell Street and Parks Road.
Morse and Lewis take Michael Steppings to the Black Swan pub to try and back up his alibi as having been there on the night of the murder.
The pub is actually called the Black Swan. The Black Swan, Old Ln, Ockham, Surrey KT11 1NG.
This pub was used in the 1981 film An American Werewolf in London and in the film was called The Slaughtered Lamb.
Lewis and Morse have a drink while awaiting the results of the TV appeal.
I’m not sure which pub this is. It may be the Black Swan.
Actors who appeared in Deadly Slumber and/or Endeavour and Lewis.
Jason Durr who played John Brewster.
He also appeared in two episodes of the Lewis series as DI Peterson: The Indelible Stain (2012) and Generation of Vipers (video below) (2012).
Ian McNiece who plays the Pathologist,
also appeared in the Lewis episode Life Born of Fire (2008) as the Rev King.
CONNECTIONS OTHER THAN ACTORS TO THE LEWIS AND ENDEAVOUR SERIES.
There are of course the overlap in regards to colleges and locations used though Worcester college is not used all that often. Off the top of my head I can only remember it being used in the Lewis episode Fearful Symmetry.
In this episode Steppings reads the children’s book Black Beauty to his daughter. Anne Kirby, the little who goes missing in the opening episode of the sixth series of Endeavour (Pylon), is reading Anna Sewell’s wonderful children’s book Black Beauty.
At around 32 minutes Morse and Lewis are discussing the transcript of the Brewster trial.
My question is, why does Morse have vinyl LPs in his office? Surely he doesn’t have a record player. We have never seen him play records in his office. The radio and cassette player but never a record player.
It’s been established that Morse has returned recently from holiday in Italy. We know that he had a little ‘fling’ with Nicole Burgess while in Italy during the episode Death of the Self. Is it a coincidence that Nicole sang from the opera Turandot in that episode and we see a poster in the picture above of said opera in his office.
At 49 minutes in the pub we learn a little more on Morse’s rather staid, old fashioned idea as to what passes as flirting between a woman alone in the pub and a single man.
Morse – Could be a thousand reasons for her not to come forward. What if she’s a married woman? She might not want her husband to know she spoke to a strange man in a pub.
Lewis – She asked him to move his jacket.
Morse – And went on to say the pub was crowded.
Lewis – lt was. The landlord said so.
Morse – But that’s not the point, is it? Her second comment was unnecessary, voluntary.
She was out on her own, Lewis. Good God, do I have to speII it out? Lewis – l am interested in hearing what you have to say, sir.
Morse – lt was obviously a flirtation, Lewis. lnnocent, l’m sure. But l doubt if her husband would see it that way.
Lewis tells a ‘dad’ joke. We get a little of the famous drawn out ‘Lewis’ reaction form Morse.
Morse and Lewis find John Brewster in a library.
Behind John you can see stained glass with the words, ‘Over Fork Over’.
The phrase belongs to the coat of arms of the Earls of Glencairn. One story behind the phrase, ‘Over Fork Over’ has a connection with the historical Macbeth. After killing Duncan (1st Historical King of Scotland), Macbeth sent his men to kill Duncan’s son, Malcolm Canmore. While being chased by Macbeth’s men, prince Canmore took refuge in the barn of a lowland farmer, Malcolm, son of Friskin. Understanding the danger the prince was in, the son of Friskin told Malcolm Canmore to hide under some straw in the barn. The farmer received help covering the prince and called out to his companion, “Over, fork over,” as they worked to heap layers of straw over the prince. Another version says the prince ordered the son of Friskin to quickly put straw over him, telling the farmer to “Over, fork over!” When Macbeth’s men approached the barn a few moments later, they asked if the farmer had seen the prince. Malcolm, son of Friskin replied he had not, saving the prince’s life.
In the mortuary the pathologist gives his opinion on how the first murder was carried out. He says, “Well, either you’re looking for someone with an exceptional pair of lungs – a Japanese pearl diver, say – or your kiIIer was a common or garden EngIishman using breathing apparatus, perhaps.” He was correct in regard to the killer using breathing apparatus but wrong in believing it was a ‘common or garden Englishman.’ It was a Scotsman.
On re watching the episode for this review I am convinced John Thaw had lost a lot of weight between series 6 and series 7.
Was he ill even back as far as 1993? Nine years before he passed away. Or did he simply go on a diet.
Oxford College Used as Locations.
THE MURDERED, THEIR MURDERER/S AND THEIR METHODS.
Dr. Mathew Brewster. Asphyxiation. Killed by Michael Steppings.
Michael Steppings. Bludgeoned to death. Killed by John Brewster.
Dr. Claire Brewster died of a heart attack.
Robert Swann who played Mark Felsham
Died: April 17, 2006 (age 61).
Carol Starks as Jane Folley
Jason Durr as John Brewster
Janet Suzman as Dr. Claire Brewster
Richard Owens as Dr. Mathew Brewster
Jestyn Phillips as Card Player. The man sitting on the right of the picture.
Adam Maxwell as Policeman
Ian McNeice as Pathologist
Robert Swann as Mark Felsham
David Goudge as Policeman
Lou Wakefield as Forensic Scientist
Brian Cox as Michael Steppings
Patrick Godfrey as Dr. Greer
Penny Downie as Nurse Wendy Hazlitt
Connor Byrne as Constable Willis
James Grout as Chief Superintendent Strange
Timothy Morand as Mr. Hart – Pub Landlord
Su Elliot as Mrs. Hart
Kate Hillier as Nurse
John Bett as Thomas Neely
Chris: So happy to see this review, as I recall racing to the site shortly after viewing it for the first time only about two months ago. I would have to rate this among my top ten, possibly top five, “Morse” episodes, if for no other reason than the rapport Morse establishes with Steppings and the compassion shown by Morse for Steppings’ daughter. This episode is enhanced exponentially by the fine performance of the always-excellent Brian Cox, who seems to bring such realism to the (reformed?) heavy and the burden he bears. There are very few dramas that can convincingly pull off depicting a sympathetic “villain” and a grudging friendship between him/her and the protagonist (the first season of U.S. TV’s “Wiseguy” comes to mind as an example).
It was fun seeing Ian McNiece in this episode, as my wife and I always associate him with his “Doc Martin” character, the hapless Bert Large. I’m trying to picture Large performing an autopsy…
One heart-rending moment not included in your synopsis (*SPOILER ALERT*) is Morse appearing at the hospital to visit Steppings’ comatose daughter after her father’s demise, only to learn that the girl’s mother had her removed from life support (after only a brief shot earlier of the mother marching determinedly toward the hospital). The void and sadness Morse appears to feel is palpable. It is a bracing moment. John Thaw pulls it off admirably.
I agree that John Thaw did look thinner, by the way.
Burnley green hospital is the Milton Keynes hospital
One of my favourite episodes, mainly due to Morse’s reaction to Avril Steppings (brilliant scene at the end when he is told she is no longer there) and the part played by Brian Cox.
I’ve always found a couple of things a bit too convenient, particularly the response to the TV appeal.
I remember Worcester College from Last Bus to Woodstock episode.
I thought the diving club location would have been quite easy to find, but can’t find anything. I had always thought it was possibly the Oxford University boat house that was destroyed in an arson attack, but the few pics I could find of that yielded nothing.
I’m about to rewatch this episode and thought I’d ask why there was such a high turn-over rate among the Thames Valley pathologists on Morse, whereas on Lewis and Endeavour, the same ones (James Bradshaw as Dr. Max DeBryn and Clare Holman as Dr. Laura Hobson, who also playing one of the pathologists on Morse) stayed in the role throughout the series?
Hi Hari. Peter Woodthorpe who played Max DeBryn became ill so was written out of the Morse series. Next came Amanda Hillwood as Dr Grayling Russell. The producers then deciced that they didn’t want Morse having a permanent girlfriend, so Dr Russell was written out. Then it was decided that the pathologist role was not that important so we had different actors playing the role until the episode, The Way Through the Woods. Then we were introduced to Clare Holman as Laura Hobson. I believe the producers decided that some estrogen was needed amongst all the testerone. Of course, Laura Hobson was a character in Colin Dexter’s novel of the same name. Hope that helps.
Another superb review, which I wholeheartedly agree with. This is one of my favourite episodes too, although I’ve tended to overlook it over the years. The revenge plot itself is a bit too complex but the main storyline is very strong. The episode belongs to Brian Cox though, I think. A terrific, sympathetic portrayal of a broken man.
Jane Suzman as Lady Matilda William in The Sword of Guillaume (Midsomer Murders), awesome , as usual.
The consequences of a brain surgery gone tragically wrong is also a theme in Entry Wounds, one of the later Lewis episodes.
From the description of the procedure performed on Avril Steppings, a “mole removal,” this should have been a simple procedure that didn’t require deep surgical anesthesia, but rather could have employed a local anesthetic in office. I don’t know how they did mole removals in Great Britain during this time period, but as an American, I have had plenty of moles removed, including one that had a “core plug biopsy” (a much more invasive & deeper wound than a surface mole removal & employed to check for cancer that may have invaded deeper tissue). None of these procedures required a surgical theater as Avril’s procedure did. They were all performed in my Dermatologist’s office with local anesthetic – no need for an Anesthesiologist (M.D. as Dr. Claire Brewster would have been) or a Nurse-Anesthetist.(as Nurse Wendy Hazlett would have been, although unqualified to have done so, according to her). Other than an unusual reaction to a local anesthestic (which doesn’t seem to have been employed in this case & once again, I don’t understand why this is), there is an unlikely possibility of a deadly reaction (anaphylaxis) to the anesthetic. If an anaphylactic reaction were to occur, the Physician would have immediately injected a bolus of epinephrine (possibly 2 injections at most), & if a cardiac event occurred in spite of the epinephrine, CPR would be immediately started if the heart should stop beating (generally employing a defribulator, which were employed in medical offices even during this period), followed by hospitalization for I.V. fluids to dilute the toxin & close medical observation. Unless the patient was too long deprived of oxygen to the brain (which, as I said, would be an unlikely case, even unlikely under deep surgical anesthesia, though a higher possibility than with a local anesthetic, but still unusual), that would be the only causitory factor towards Avril’s brain death. I just find the whole notion of the need of that type of anesthesia for a mole removal very far fetched, even during this time period. And as anaphylaxis would be a rather unusual event to local anesthesia & one that every physician (including Dermatologists) administering local anesthetics is trained to immediately treat & would most certainly be most likely able to overcome in office as Crash Carts & Defribulators are/were required in every medical office that administers any type of anesthetic (whether local or deeper surgical anesthesia monitored by an Anesthesiologist or Nurse-Anesthetist in a clinic or hospital surgical theater), I reiterate that I find Avril’s storyline rather far fetched. Did the Inspector Morse series not employ a medical consultant for all facets of their scripts? Surely they had medical consultants for the pathologists, so I don’t understand how they got this medical situation so wrong!
Awesome observation, correct on all medical points.
Very good point and also several operations which do need general anaesthetic – removal of appendix or tonsils and complicated bone fractures – are far more common among teenagers!
I thoroughly enjoyed your review. However, I must have misunderstood the why and wherefore. Now what happened? I’m a little confused. Matthew Brewster was killed by Steppings for revenge; Steppings was going away with Wendy Hazlitt??; John Brewster killed Steppings because – his father Matthew Brewster was going away to marry Wendy Hazlitt??? and he wanted to protect his mother from that scenario. I don’t understand. Why did John kill Steppings even though he didn’t mean to – the wrench was nearby. And what is this about Steppings setting up John Brewster? I just didn’t get the last 10 or so minutes when John was talking. Would you be willing to explain what I misunderstood?
Thank you very much.
Dr. Brewster was killed by Steppings for revenge, justified by Hazlitt not giving his daughter proper amount of anesthetics while Dr. Claire Brewster was too ill to work.
He used the son and Hazlitt to abet him in his crime. Hazlitt had lied about Claire not be present during initial part of surgery.
Then the son killed Steppings and prevented him from fleeing his daughter and the country.
Nutse Hazlitt actually instigated the killings because she had been dumped by Dr. Matthew Brewster. She induced Steppings, who was already in a fragile state of mind due to his daughter’s tragic condition, the fault of both Dr.s Brewster, to do her dirty work to kill Dr. Brewster. It’s the old “woman scorned” storyline. I happen to think (& think Morse probably believed, too) that if not for Nurse Hazlitt’s manipulation, he would have never progressed past sending his rather cryptic cut & paste threats to Dr. Brewster. She was the true monster in this episode & Michael Steppings & his daughter, Avril, the true tragic victims. As for the deaths of both Dr.s Brewster, you might say Karma got them in the end.
To add to Pamelas’s excellent explanation, Steppings also arranged in such a way that John Brewster had no alibi for the night his father was killed. In ADDITION , Steppings blackmailed John into admitting that he killed his own father. A very convoluted (and unrealistic) plot. Hence, 7 Jags only
Chenies is indeed the location of Steppings’ house, more specifically here: 51.678159, -0.533308
Another case solved purely by chance! If Morse had not been idly looking through Hazlitt’s paintings, he would never have realised that there was a connection between Hazlitt and Steppings. Was the painting second or third in the stack? Also, if Morse had not visited Steppings’ house, he would not have recognised the scene in the painting. It was also very fortunate that the pub landlady only remembered that Steppings had been in the pub on the night of the murder, but could not remember the time he arrived, or when he left.
Spot on! The painting was just the second in the stack.
Thanks for all of the research and analysis – it adds a lot of value to the viewing of each episode.
Deadly Slumber was televised on free to air TV in Australia tonight so had another chance to catch it after not seeing it for a very long time.
Of particular interest to Australian viewers is Penny Downie – Nurse Wendy Hazlitt. Penny was in several long running TV series in Australia – Bellbird, The Sullivans – before relocating to England in the early 80s. She was a very popular actress here and it’s always great to see her pop up here and there over the years.
Nice episode despite the plot being a bit over-engineered and convoluted. As others have pointed out the sheer coincidence of finding the painting….
My favourite crime drama episodes are the ones where the killer really doesn’t seem like the baddy. As here, they provide the most in depth, fascinating characterisation and scenarios.
What’s done to the Brewers is deliberate and undeniably in colder blood than I could ever have. What they do to Avril is accidental and you could quite legitimately argue her father causes her more prolonged suffering. I thought the mother would easily have won any legal challenge to have the life support switched off. I also couldn’t blame her for leaving him over self obsessive, self destructive behaviours he allowed to go from bad to ever worse.
Yet I for one felt the biggest tragedy was Michael not getting the chance of a new life after finally accepting Avril was gone. His reactions to her situation were far more understandable and sympathetic than those of the Brewsters.
They completely failed to acknowledge or take any responsibility for what they did, Claire in particular acting like they were the victims. While I couldn’t condone the orphaning of John or the position he was put in, I couldn’t feel sorry for him, either. After all, hadn’t he helped condemn Avril to an unjustified life sentence and lose her a family unit?
I find it curious that the young woman who played Avril Steppings gets zero mention anywhere, especially in a discussion of this sort. Her character matters in the story, and even lying there comatose, we see how pretty she is, making her fate all the more cruel. Someone played that role, and it’s disappointing to think the producers thought so little of her to deny her any credit.
I was suspicious of Wendy Hazlitt from the first time we first meet her. She lives in what seems to be a very central part of Oxford, in what I would have thought was a large house or at least, a spacious downstairs flat. Didn’t seem convincing as she was a nurse and I think I’m correct in thinking that wouldn’t have been a very well paying job at that time.
The opening overview of the city was filmed from the Hans Krebs Tower, which housed the department of biochemistry, and was demolished in 2014. It was an exceptionally ugly eight story building, and was said to provide the best views of Oxford, because it was the only place from which you couldn’t see the building. I have a photo taken from the top floor which matches perfectly. Although it was ugly, there was amazing and important research done there.
Thank you Tom I have added this information to my post.
An unusual coincidence that both Morse and later Mrs Brewster listen to the same movement from the same Mozart concerto, K488!
In the game of “Where do I know him from????” — Ian McNiece edition, I know him from the movie 84 Charing Cross Road!
Lovely movie. Yes, Ian is one of the shop assistants.
My view of this episode hasn’t changed. It is in my top 10, and the chemistry between “Mr” Morse and Steppings, plus the emotion that John Thaw portrays at the hospital scenes adds to the episode.
I’ll forgive the landlady conveniently remembering Steppings, but the weakest part of the story is that considering Hazlitt set the wheels in motion, particularly after Morse visited her the first time at the flat why she left a painting of Steppings garden to be seen. A bit too convenient.
I didn’t find other parts of hte plot too convuleted, beause I thought that between Hazlitt and Stepping they wanted all the Brewsters to suffer; it’s just Hazlitt had overlooked what would happen to her.
Certainly a strong start to the “final” series.