Hello fellow Morsonians and welcome to this review of episode 28, TWILIGHT OF THE GODS. This was the last episode of the last proper series of Morse. The next five episodes were all one off specials that were broadcast between 1995 and 2000. I have already reviewed episodes 1 to 27. To read those reviews click this link Morse episode reviews.
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Series Seven, Episode three.
Chronologically this is episode 28.
First broadcast 20th January. 1993.
Colin is behind John Gielgud doing his best acting to date.
Directed by Herbert Wise. Herbert also directed the Morse episodes, The Daughters of Cain and Ghost in the Machine. Sadly Herbert died in 2015 at the age of 90.
Written by Julian Mitchell. Julian also wrote nine other Morse episodes: – Death Is Now My Neighbour (1997) – The Daughters of Cain (1996) – Cherubim & Seraphim (1992) – Promised Land (1991) – Masonic Mysteries (1990) – Ghost in the Machine (1989) – The Wolvercote Tongue (1987) – Service of All the Dead (1987) – The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn
One of Morse’s favourite opera singers, Gwladys Probert, is in Oxford to receive an honorary doctorate. A concert is planned which Morse has a ticket for. However, the opera diva is shot while taking part in a procession to honour not only her but another person receiving an honorary doctorate, Andrew Baydon. Baydon is a survivor of a concentration camp and a multi millionaire whose wife travels the world with the Welsh diva. A freelance journalist whose is in the process of writing an article on Baydon is found shot. Are the shootings linked? Morse and Lewis must determine if there is a link and what that link is. Why has Gwladys Probert’s sister Mari disappeared and left a note suggesting she is the one who shot Gwladys. Morse and Lewis must filter out the red herrings, lies, college politics and John Gielgud’s insistence on wanting his lunch.
(warning, this review will contain some spoilers)
Episode Jag Rating – out of 10.
During Gwladys Probert’s singing lessons she sings from Götterdämmerung, Act III, Scene 3 Finale (The Immolation Scene). Twilight of the Gods is the English translation of Götterdämmerung.
At around the 13 and a half minute mark in Morse’s car we hear Twilight of the Gods – Chapter 13 Third scene The Hall of the Gibichung.
At around the 14 minute mark the pianist plays a short burst of Military Polonaise Opus 40 No. 1 in A Major by Chopin.
At one hour and forty minute mark. A reprise of Götterdämmerung, Act III, Scene 3 Finale.
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.
“Siegfried and The Twilight of the Gods” (1911) is Illustrated by Arthur Rackham. “Siegfried and The Twilight of the Gods”, as illustrated by Arthur Rackham, presents the third of consecutive published suites that were prepared to illustrate Germanic traditions and, in this case, it included extensive colour and monotone images to complete his interpretation of Wagner’s “Ring of Nibelung”.
Here are two examples of Rackham’s work.
At around the 18 minute mark Morse is doing a crossword. Lewis walks in and distracts him. Morse says, ‘You, Lewis, are the person from Porlock.’ The person from Porlock was an unwelcome visitor to Samuel Taylor Coleridge during his composition of the poem Kubla Khan in 1797. Coleridge claimed to have perceived the entire course of the poem in a dream (possibly an opium-induced haze), but was interrupted by this visitor from Porlock while in the process of writing it. Kubla Khan, only 54 lines long, was never completed. Thus “person from Porlock”, “man from Porlock”, or just “Porlock” are literary allusions to unwanted intruders who disrupt inspired creativity.
The wonderful poet Stevie Smith wrote a poem on Coleridge’s person from Porlock.
Thoughts about the Person from Porlock
BY STEVIE SMITH
Coleridge received the Person from Porlock
And ever after called him a curse,
Then why did he hurry to let him in?
He could have hid in the house.
It was not right of Coleridge in fact it was wrong
(But often we all do wrong)
As the truth is I think he was already stuck
With Kubla Khan.
He was weeping and wailing: I am finished, finished,
I shall never write another word of it,
When along comes the Person from Porlock
And takes the blame for it.
It was not right, it was wrong,
But often we all do wrong.
May we inquire the name of the Person from Porlock?
Why, Porson, didn’t you know?
He lived at the bottom of Porlock Hill
So had a long way to go,
He wasn’t much in the social sense
Though his grandmother was a Warlock,
One of the Rutlandshire ones I fancy
And nothing to do with Porlock,
And he lived at the bottom of the hill as I said
And had a cat named Flo,
And had a cat named Flo.
I long for the Person from Porlock
To bring my thoughts to an end,
I am becoming impatient to see him
I think of him as a friend,
Often I look out of the window
Often I run to the gate
I think, He will come this evening,
I think it is rather late.
I am hungry to be interrupted
For ever and ever amen
O Person from Porlock come quickly
And bring my thoughts to an end.
I felicitate the people who have a Person from Porlock
To break up everything and throw it away
Because then there will be nothing to keep them
And they need not stay.
Why do they grumble so much?
He comes like a benison
They should be glad he has not forgotten them
They might have had to go on.
These thoughts are depressing I know. They are depressing,
I wish I was more cheerful, it is more pleasant,
Also it is a duty, we should smile as well as submitting
To the purpose of One Above who is experimenting
With various mixtures of human character which goes best,
All is interesting for him it is exciting, but not for us.
There I go again. Smile, smile, and get some work to do
Then you will be practically unconscious without positively having to go.
Ar around the 45 minute mark Morse mentions Plato to Lewis in relation to his work, The Republic. Morse says that Plato would not have poets in his republic as they were too dangerous. In Plato’s perfect world, all the poets would be outside the city gates, rag-ridden and limited to declaiming their harmful verses only to the other degenerate exiles (You know, the painters and actors). However not all poets were banished from Plato’s republic. The poets who write about virtue, especially virtue such as courage and honour that get the troops fired up for battle, they can stay.
At around the minute and a half mark the location is Brasenose Dining Hall with it’s many works of art.
On the far left,
This is Alexander Nowell, DD, Benefactor, Principal (1595), Dean of St Paul’s by an unknown artist.
Second from the left.
This is Sir Thomas Egerton (1539/1540–1617), Viscount Brackley, Baron Ellesmere, Commoner, Lord Chancellor of England (1603–1617), Chancellor of the University (1610–1617) by an unknown artist.
In the middle is,
Richard Sutton (d.1524), Knight, Founder by an unknown artist.
On the far right is,
William Smyth, Bishop of Lincoln, Founder, Chancellor of the University (1500–1503) by an unknown artist.
At the luncheon the location is Trinity College.
The top painting is of Sir Thomas Pope (c.1507–1559), Founder of Trinity College, Oxford.
On the left is Portrait of an Unknown Man (formerly identified as Henry Ireton, c.1611–1651, Parliamentarian General and formerly attributed to Samuel Cooper, 1609–1672).
The painting in the middle is of Lady Elizabeth Pope, née Blount (formerly Basford, Later Paulet) (c.1515–1593).
And finally on the right is William Pitt (1708–1778), 1st Earl of Chatham.
At the beginning of the episode Gladys is giving singing lessons.
The location is Holywell Music Room on Holywell Street, Oxford.
Around the minute and a half mark we see the display for the proposed new college.
This was filmed in Brasenose College Dining Hall.
Around the four minute mark we see Mari and her boyfriend walking.
In the background you can see Christ Church College.
At around the six minute mark the first victim’s body is found.
In the background you can see Newark Priory, River Wey, Ripley, Surrey.
Around six and a half minutes the camera pans around Brasenose College as we listen to John Gielgud rehearsing his speech.
You can see Radcliffe Camera in the background.
At the 19 minute mark we see Williams.
This is Magdalen College, Oxford.
At around the 21 minute mark as Andrew Bayden’s helicopter flies overhead we see people gathering together.
This is Brasenose College.
Around the 22 and a half minute mark we see the parade.
This is Broad Street with the Emperor’s Heads in the foreground.
The parade moves from Broad Street through the Clarendon Building.
At around 28 minutes after the shooting the Dons, guests etc move into the Sheldonian Theatre.
At around the 45 minute mark the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor are walking together.
This is Christ Church College.
Morse and Lewis driving to at around 49 minutes.
The above location is Village Road, Denham, Buckinghamshire.
The Swan Inn is still there but now with a different sign.
The luncheon at 50 minutes.
This is Trinity College Dining Hall.
Around the one hour and 21 mark, Bayden is talking to journalists.
This is outside Brasenose College on Radcliffe Square.
Around the one and a half hour mark.
This is Oriel College Dining Hall.
The home of Andrew Baydon.
This is Englefield House, Theale, Reading, Berkshire.
No pubs visited.
Actors who appeared in Twilight of the Gods and/or Endeavour and Lewis.
First up is Alan David who played Sir Watkin Davies.
Alan also appeared in the Endeavour episode, Cartouche as Lambert Kegworth.
Next we have Robert Hardy who played Andrew Bayden.
The wonderful Robert Hardy also appeared in the Lewis episode, Dark Matter as Sir Arnold Raeburn.
At around the 34 minute mark Morse and the Vice Chancellor are discussing Gladys Probert. The Vice Chancellor and Morse agree that Gladys is a better Brynhildr than Kirsten Flagstad. Flagstad was born 1895 in Norway and died 1962. She was a highly regarded Wagnerian soprano.
Julian Mitchell the writer of this episode appears as the doctor in this episode.
On location photographs.
Photos copyright of Carlton.
Celia Montague who played Adele Baydon painted a portrait of Colin Dexter that was shown at his memorial service.
This is the only Morse episode where the voice behind the actor was not Janis Kelly. In this episode the voice of Gwladys Probert is Susan McCulloch. Here is a link to her biography http://www.classicalvoice.co.uk/Biography/biography.html
Robert Hardy studied at Magdalen College, Oxford. His studies were interrupted by national service in the RAF, but he returned to complete a degree in English.
The photo below of Robert Hardy
was one of many that were taken at his Oxfordshire home in 1988.
The photo on the piano marked with an arrow
is one of Robert Hardy during his time working on the TV series All Creatures Great and Small.
The poster to the right of Morse’s head, as we look at it, is advertising Puccini’s opera Turandot.
The poster is widely available to buy.
The poster on the left I can only assume was created by the props department.
The historian John Roberts suggested that the killing of Siegfried by Hagen, in the Götterdämmerung (Twilight of the Gods), with a stab in the back gave inspiration for the myth that the German Army did not lose World War I, but was instead defeated by a treasonous “stab in the back” from civilians, in particular Jews and Socialists. This connects with this episode with its unmasking of Baydon as a German officer and being shot by the Jewish Victor Ignotas.
During the lunch Baydon asks what is the most memorable college in Oxford. He says, Keble. John Gielgud as Lord Hinksey says that Keble College is the ugliest.
Do you agree that it’s the ugliest. Architecturally it’s certainly one of the most striking.
Thank you to Steve who spotted this, “I wonder if the character Gwladys is a veiled (or slightly veiled) reference to the Welsh soprano Gwyneth Jones who was a great Wagnerian, from what Ive read at least. They do mention jones in the episode, on the radio discussion.”
Oxford Colleges Used as Locations.
Christ Church College.
Magdalen College College.
THE MURDERED, THEIR MURDERER/S AND THEIR METHODS.
Neville Grimshaw the journalist investigating Baydon. Shot by Clergyman Williams. Grimshaw had information that Baydon was not incarcerated in a concentration camp but was in fact one of the guards.
Robert Hardy as Andrew Baydon. Born: 29 October 1925, Died: 3 August 2017.
Sheila Gish as Gwladys Probert. Born: April 23, 1942 – Died: March 9, 2005.
John Gielgud as Lord Hinksey. Born: April 14, 1904 – Died: May 21, 2000.
Jean Anderson as Lady Hinksey. Born: December 12, 1907 – Died: April 1, 2001.
John Bluthal as Victor Ignotas. Born: 12 August 1929 – Died: 15 November 2018.
Don Fellows as Lyman Stansky. Born: 1922 – Died: October 21, 2007.
Julian Curry as Alan Cartwright. Born: December 8, 1937 – Died: June 27, 2020
Joan Blackham as Helen Buscott
Robert Hardy as Andrew Baydon
Sheila Gish as Gladys Probert
Caroline Berry as Mari Probert.
Jennifer Piercey as Mrs. Thompson
John Gielgud as Lord Hinksey
Jean Anderson as Lady Hinksey
Steven Beard as Florist.
Kevin Whately as Detective Sergeant Lewis.
Julie Legrand as Brigitte de Plessy
John Thaw as Chief Inspector Morse.
Doug Bradley as Clergyman Williams.
Brian Bovell as Pierre
Billy Hartman as Police Sergeant
James Grout as Chief Superintendent Strange
Alan David as Sir Watkin Davies
Rachel Weisz as Arabella Baydon
Lynne Verrall as Librarian
Don Fellows as Lyman Stansky
Allan Corduner as Gentile Bellocchio
Celia Montague as Adele Baydon
John Bluthal as Victor Ignotas
Julian Curry as Alan Cartwright.
Harry Ditson as Simon Vavasseur
Paintings are from https://artuk.org/
Maps from Google.