2ENTERTAIN OUT NOW
The amateur sleuth is back in his creepiest case so far.
Few TV detectives have grown over time as much as Jonathan Creek. In the 20 years since he made his bow, we’ve said goodbye to the windmill, sayonara to the duffel coat and ciao to his employer, chickchasing illusionist Adam Klaus. Not only that, but we’ve galloped through four sidekicks, with Creek’s wife Polly (Sarah Alexander), introduced in 2013 special The Clue of the Savant’s Thumb, now his partner - in crime - solving. There was a lot of goodwill lost with the last series in 2014. The wobbly mysteries and a disappointingly domesticated – and downcast – Jonathan suggested the once unconquerable David Renwick had lost heart in his creation.
So “Daemons’ Roost” had a lot of convincing to do. Would it be a return to former glories? Would it convince JC diehards that Renwick had rediscovered his puzzle-conjuring mojo? Happily, the latest special proves to be the finest episode in over a decade. And although we’re still in Jonathan’s Pollyised world there is room, thankfully, for a fan-pleasing cameo from the windmill (still unsold since the wedding) and the duffel coat, albeit in a prenuptials flashback sequence.
The 90-minute specials have always allowed Renwick to pile on the puzzles. The central mystery here – concerning a 90-degree-tilted room where miscreants are burned alive – is a classic cut of grand guignol Creek, while the B-plot headscratcher, the mystery of Stephen Belkin’s wife’s murder, is beguiling enough to have been an episode on its own.
While Polly remains the weakest and most fuzzily defined of Creek’s female coinvestigators, at least Jonathan seems to have bucked himself up since the last series. And, if there is to be another, please keep Warwick Davis’ Creekworshipping Reverend Wilkie as a regular.
Kudos should go, by the way, to director Sandy Johnson, the helmer of most of the series’ most satisfying episodes but absent since 2004. Johnson’s steady hand helps make “Daemons’ Roost” jive like the old days. Three years ago, it looked as if Renwick had lost his lust for impossible crimes. But maybe, just maybe, there’s life in the tousle-haired detective yet.
The mop-headed mystery solver (Alan Davies) finds a puzzle worthy of his mettle.