Jonathan Creek The Grinning Man – Not Scifi but I love it

Jonathan Creek The Grinning Man DVD Cover
Jonathan Creek The Grinning Man DVD Cover

Alan Davies’ Jonathan Creek is one of those magical programs that is not science fiction but is just left of a mainstream crime drama, but dropping to the level of the (vastly underated Crime Traveler).
David Renwick’s fantastic creation of the crime solving illusion creator for the almost bumbling David Copperfield wannabe magician Adam Klause (played by Tony Head in the pilot and Stuart Milligan from then on.

The show ran for 4 years upto 2001 and was then rested (and missed) thanks to Jonathan Creek appearing on DVD I managed to catch up with the few episodes I had missed.

Resurected last year for a Christmas special “Jonathan Creek, The Grinning Man” and this time moving on from the supporting ladies of Maddy (Caroline Quentin) and “The Other One” (Julia Sawalha) an on to Big Finish Doctor Who companion Sheridan Smith. Firstky I have to say that Maddy was the best companion to Jonathan Creek (except for possibly the near equal detective played by Rick Mayall on the old Christmas Special The Black Canary).

The 2008 Jonathan Creek special The Grinning Man starts its story at midnnight on Midsummer’s Day 1938, as a famous Harvard geneticist, Eli Mencken, accepts a challenge to spend the night inside a gloomy old attic room… where the ghost of a madman is said to prey upon human flesh. Next morning, he has impossibly vanished from the hermetically sealed chamber. The only clue to his disappearance is traces of grisly ectoplasm on the bed.

Seventy years on, the vast Gothic house known as Metropolis has passed into the hands of the original owner’s daughter and her son, but the strange, unexplained events in “The Nightmare Room” continue…

When two young women take shelter there one night from a raging thunderstorm, it is not long before the ominius “presence” has claimed another victim.

Determined to get to the truth about what has happened to her friend, the fearlessly sceptical Joey Ross finds herself working alongside veteran lateral thinker Jonathan Creek, as together they embark on a complex, often dangerous, investigation into a mystery which only continues to deepen…

Jonathan Creek: The Grinning Man is available on DVD from the 19th October 2009 and yes Jonathan Creek will return (even though actor Alan Davies has had a pay cut) at Easter 2010

You can compare prices of the Jonathan Creek The Grinning Man DVD (out 19th October) to the right.


Download it from on 04/04/09!

THIRD IN the run of brand new Eighth Doctor adventures is The Beast of Orlok, which finds the Doctor (Paul McGann) and Lucie Miller (Sheridan Smith) in Germany, where they encounter a creature unlike anything either of them has seen before. Like the previous stories, The Beast of Orlok will be released on CD, but customers who can?t wait until May for that will be able to buy part one on Saturday 4th April – with part two the following week – from the Big Finish website ( Each episode premieres at 6pm.

Writer and director Barnaby Edwards has assembled a fantastic guest cast, including Miriam Margolyes as Frau Tod: ?a no-nonsense landlady who has a sharp tongue and a mean left hook? and Samuel Barnett as her son Hans. ?Nothing can quite prepare you for the extraordinary firecracker of energy, talent, humour, intelligence and generosity that is Miriam Margolyes,? enthuses Edwards. ?I think it took most of us less than half an hour to
progress from initial discombobulation to undying admiration. If I could choose one person to work with for the rest of my life, it would be Miriam. She’s a cosmic phenomenon in human form.?
As for Barnett, ?I cast Sam on the strength of his central performance in Alan Bennett’s The History Boys, for which he received both a Tony and Olivier award nomination. I wanted someone young, articulate, witty, intelligent and sincere for the role of Hans. Sam has those qualities in spades.?
As for Edwards? biggest triumph, ?In keeping with the Hollywood Gothic feel of The Beast of Orlok, I wanted to do a full-blown filmic montage in the style of those old Universal Studios horror movies like The Bride of Frankenstein. But it’s a very tricky device to achieve, especially when you don’t have any visuals to help you out: the danger is that it becomes unclear where the various sets of characters are at any one time. I spent days working out the precise pacing and aural scene transitions, and it took a great deal of work in post-production, but I’m delighted with the result.?