Hello fellow Morsonians and welcome to this review of episode 27, THE DAY OF THE DEVIL. I have already reviewed episodes 1 to 26. To read those reviews click this link Morse episode reviews.
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Series Seven, Episode two.
Chronologically this is episode 27.
First broadcast 13th January. 1993.
At one hour and 19 and a half minutes, Morse, Dr Martin and WPC Curtis are sitting in the gardens of the hotel.
Is that Colin in the blue jumper? I’m not wholly convinced but…
Directed by Stephen Whittaker: He only directed this episode. He sadly died in 2003.
Written by Daniel Boyle: (Not to be confused with Danny Boyle the director of Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting etc). Daniel also wrote the Morse episodes Dead on Time, Happy Families, Second Time Around and Deadly Slumber. He also wrote the Lewis episode, Whom the Gods Would Destroy.
John Peter Barrie convicted rapist and self proclaimed devil’s disciple escapes from prison/asylum. The police immediately start a search for a man who is declared as dangerous. However, Barrie stays one step ahead of the police by way of using various disguises and managing to obtain vehicles that don’t appear to have been stolen. For Morse and Lewis this adds another dimension to the case; who is helping Barrie? Morse and Lewis must apprehend Barrie before he rapes or kills anyone else. But first they have to manoeuvre their way through the mire of the occult, Devil worship and exegesis on Ancient Grimoire.
(warning, this review will contain some spoilers)
This episode has never made my top ten of favourite Morse episodes but that’s not because it’s a bad episode. It’s because there are far better episodes in the Morse oeuvre. So, let’s have a shufty.
This is going to seem a strange thing to write in a review but I cannot put my finger on why it is not one of my favourites. The acting from all those in the episode is very good especially Harriet Walters, Keith Allen and Richard Griffiths. In fact Allen should be commended for not playing John Peter Barrie as an overwrought psychotic. Allen has menace but there is an undercurrent of charm and guile in his portrayal. No, there is nothing wrong with the acting.
The soundtrack cannot be faulted. Barrington Pheloung has chosen some sublime pieces of classical music. His incidental music is as good as always. So, nothing wrong with the music.
It may be the storyline. At times it is a bit heavy handed especially in regard to women’s rights. The theme of the show was about violence against women and the lack of women’s rights especially in the police force. Daniel Boyle admitted that he was heavy handed and clumsy in the way he had WPC Curtis relate why she believed Morse’s view of women was wrong.
I agree with much of what WPC Curtis says but I do believe that Morse has a point when he says that women lose some part themselves when trying to compete with men. It’s the problem I have with films like Bridesmaids and the TV series Fleabag. All they say to me is that women are trying to prove that they can be as horrible, disgusting, sexually motivated as so many men. That they can talk about bodily functions, show bodily functions and be lacking a moral compass as do many men. Why is showing this type of equality a good thing?
Though the story is a dark one there is humour in the episode, most of which is supplied by Lewis.
The directing is pretty solid but nothing that makes it stand out from the other episodes. With the subject matter in hand the episode could have been helped with better directing to create a more sinister, unnerving tone. But it doesn’t.
There are a few things I have a problem with in regard to the script. It is somewhat incredulous that intelligent men would believe they had conjured up the Devil. But, not outwith the bounds of possibility. However, why did they stand by and watch ‘the Devil’ stab Trevors and then pour petrol over him and subsequently set light to him. Surely watching something/someone pouring petrol from a canister and then producing matches should have given them a clue that this was not thee Devil. Did the burning happen after they had ran through the fire to escape?
Why didn’t Appleton tell the police that Barrie had changed his look? Barrie tells Appleton to get Morse. Barrie walks into the light. They only find out sometime much later when Mrs Trevors is hospitalized.
I can understand why Barrie visited a pub. He is so arrogant he believes he is ‘invisible’. But why flash his tattoo? That tattoo identifies who he is. And why oh why does he feel the need to dress as a woman? It doesn’t make sense.
It is a good episode and I do know that many Morse fans thoroughly enjoy this episode. But for me it is good but no better than that.
Episode Jag Rating – out of 10.
The times shown below are approximate and are based on the British DVDs.
String Sextet No. 1 In B Flat Major Op. 18 by Johannes Brahms. Morse and Lewis meet Canon Humphrey Appleton.
Busoni Chorale Prelude BWV 639 Ich ruf zu dir,Herr by Johann Sebastian Bach. Appleton playing in the church.
From the opera Manon – Massenet – Adieu notre petite table by Jules Massenet. Morse’s office. In the episode the singer is Janis Kelly who has voiced many of the singers ain all three series in the Morse Universe.
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach. Appleby’s church, played by Barrie.
Sextet No. 1 in B-flat major – 2. Andante ma moderato by Johannes Brahms. Morse meets Appleton in the college.
I have gathered together all the music played in the Morse series.
Click Morse Music to download the excel sheet.
Click Morse Music 20th sept 2019 to download the above as a PDF.
One could count ‘Exegesis on Ancient Grimoires.’ Grimoires is a “book of spells”. Exegesis is an interpretation of a text.
Thank you to Philipp who pointed out the quote from Macbeth, “Fair is foul and foul is fair’. This is said by Appleton to Morse outside his church.
Morse and Lewis visit Appleton while he stands with the sextet. This is Exeter College
(1). This is John Collier Jones (1770–1838).
(2) Walter de Stapeldon (1261–1326).
(3) Sir John Taylor Coleridge (1790–1876)
(4) Sir William Peryam (1534–1604).
(5) Henry Richards (1747–1807).
(6) Sir William Petre (1506–1572/1573).
(7) Thomas Bray (c.1706–1785).
(8) John Prideaux (1578–1650).
(9) Hugh Shortrudge (c.1652–1720)
(10) Sir William Noye (1577–1634)
(11) Sir Cyril Norman Hinshelwood (1897–1967)
The painting behind Lewis’s head of a man who looks a bit like Colin Dexter is Norman Crowther Hunt (1920–1987), Baron Crowther-Hunt of Eccleshill.
Mental Institution where Barrie escapes from. UNIDENTIFIED.
Cafe where Barrie gets a lift in a HGV. The location is Colnbrook By-Pass, Slough, SL3 0EA.
Doctor Martin has collected her shopping and watches the police car speed past her. Around the four minute mark.
The shop has now gone and been redesigned as a house. It has renamed The Old Post Office. Weedon Hill, Hyde Heath.
Car park where journalists get briefing. UNIDENTIFIED.
At 13m and 16 seconds Morse and Lewis visit Canon Appleton.
This is Exeter College. Below is part of my filming of Exeter College in the location shown in the picture above. I filmed the video in April 2019.
After Morse, Lewis and Appleton leave the dining hall where they first met, they move into the gardens of Exeter College.
This is part of Exeter gardens that back onto the Clarendon Building that can be seen in the background.
Canon Appleby’s church.
This is St. Mary’s Church, Church St, Chesham HP5 1HY.
Canon Appleby’s rectory.
His rectory is close to the church.
St Mary’s Church in the background.
Home of Mr and Mrs Trevors. UNIDENTIFIED.
At 34 minutes Morse and Lewis visit Mr Trevors place of work. Balliol College. Here they arrive to meet Maugham Willowbank. Location is Balliol College.
The area in the above photo is the main quad of Balliol College.
Morse, Lewis and Maugham Willowbank move on to meet Trevors.
The large stone work behind Morse and Lewis can be seen more clearly below.
Morse and Lewis after talking to Trevors.
Here is that area minus the ivy.
Hotel where Dr. Esther Martin is being located. Unidentified.
Where Mrs Trevors is being hospitalised is probably The John Radcliffe. The old John Radcliffe that is as it was closed down and relocated.
Train Station where Barrie meets the man going on his holidays.
This could be Oxford train station as it looked in 1993. It has changed so much in the past 27 years I can’t be sure it is Oxford train station.
Where estate agent sees picture of Barrie on TV in shop window. Around the 56 minute mark.
In the top picture you can see on the right, through the window, the Martyr’s Memorial.
At around the 58 minute mark Morse and Lewis leave estate agent’s office.
The shop today is called Toast at 103 High Street, Oxford.
Lewis visits the Esoterica shop.
The shop is located in High Street, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire.
Below is how it looks today.
Pub where Barrie has a drink. See details below in Pub Location section.
Petrol Station where Barrie stops after being recognised by the barmaid.
Thank you to John Burling and John in the comments section who identified the location. The petrol station is now a Tesco supermarket.
Morse decides to visit Willowbank after the death of Trevors around the one hour and 14 minute mark.
This is Balliol College.
In David Bishop’s excellent book, The Complete Inspector Morse, plus some other publications the location for the above is Christ Church. But it is quite clearly Balliol.
I believe these are also shot in Balliol.
Police Station at one hour and 25 minutes. The same location was used as the police station in the last three series of Morse;
The area used was Wellington Place, High Street, Harefield, Uxbridge. The area has since been demolished and houses erected. In a nice nod to the Morse series the streets have been named in honour of the show. There is Dexter Road, Morse Close, Lewis Close and Childs Avenue. Childs is Ted Childs one of the executive producers who was instrumental in bringing the Morse series to television.
House 10 Oakroad (the address in the episode but not necessarily the actual address), where Barrie holes up. UNIDENTIFIED.
Mill Cottage where Barrie stays while holding Holly Trevors hostage.
Thank you to John Burling for identifying the above. It is Mapledurham Watermill, near Reading. It’s a museum. https://www.mapledurham.co.uk/the-water-mill
The only pub location is one visited by Barrie.
The location is Old Berkeley House, Owlswick, Princes Risborough HP27 9RH. The pub was called Shoulder of Mutton and closed down sometime ago.
Actors who appeared in Day of the Devil and/or Endeavour and Lewis.
Lloyd McGuire as Clough.
Lloyd McGuire also appeared in the Endeavour episode, Home as Charlie Ayers.
John Bleasdale who played the Desk Sergeant also appeared in the Morse episode, The Secret of Bay 5B.
Beverley Klein as the barmaid.
She also appeared in the Endeavour episode, Oracle as Mrs Carlin.
CONNECTIONS OTHER THAN ACTORS TO THE LEWIS AND ENDEAVOUR SERIES.
Richard Griffiths who appears in this episode as Canon Humphrey Appleton was himself a detective in the British TV show Pie in the Sky. The Griffiths character retires from the police and buys himself a restaurant. That restaurant’s exterior, 64 High Street Old Town in Hemel Hempstead, was seen in the episode Confection.
Strange in his office surrounded by pictures and models of submarines. These things are seen in many episodes yet Russell Lewis the writer and creator of Endeavour didn’t see fit to include this in the young Strange’s backstory.
I do like the scene in the Esoterica shop with Lewis mispronounces St John’s name.
It reminds me of the Rowan Atkinson scene in the brilliant Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Oxford Colleges Used as Locations.
Balliol College and Exeter College.
THE MURDERED, THEIR MURDERER/S AND THEIR METHODS.
Only two deaths in the episode. Unless you count the cat.
Trevors is killed by Barrie. Barrie stabs him and sets him alight.
Barrie is shot by WPC Curtis.
The Trevors cat is killed by Barrie.
John Bleasdale who played the desk sergeant. 1946 – 2003.
Richard Griffiths who played Canon Appleton. 1947 – 2013.
Gilly Corman who played Holly Trevors. 1955 – 2010.
Kevin Stoney as Heironymous St John. 1921 – 2008.
Apologies if I have missed anyone. Thank you all for making the Morse Universe a better place.
John Thaw as Chief Inspector Morse
Kevin Whately as Detective Sergeant Lewis.
Keith Allen as John Peter Barrie.
Harriet Walter as Dr. Esther Martin.
Lloyd McGuire as Clough.
John Bleasdale as Desk Sergeant.
Aran Bell as PC Pringle.
Richard Graham as PC Cobbs.
James Grout as Chief Superintendent Strange.
Patrick Drury as Frank McTeer.
Peter Attard as Mack Shaw.
Wayne Norman as Larry Broomfield.
Katrina Levon as WPC Nora Curtis
Gilly Coman as Holly Trevors.
Michael Culver as Maugham Willowbank.
Gavin Richards as Steven Trevors.
Martin Read as Sergeant Brenner.
Naomi Capron as Identikit Officer.
Kevin Stoney as Heironymous St John.
Beverley Klein as Barmaid.
Antony Carrick as George Granger.
David Griffith as Timothy Perry (Estate agent)
All maps are the copyright of Google.
All images of paintings are copyright of All images from artuk.org