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  • Philip Bryer

Max-Factored Magnificence

When a TV police procedural breaks out the Tarot card reader in a pivotal role you know it’s hit trouble. This happened recently in one of them. One of the many. Perhaps it was CSI Giggleswick, I don’t recall.

The Fool Tarot Card

I was reminded of this while watching the re-boot of the once refreshing Jonathan Creek. Sad to report that something’s happened to Jonathan. Something not very mysterious. He Oxfammed the duffel coat and now he favours well-cut navy suits. He got married and, bless her, his wife is no Caroline Quentin, she’s not even a patch on the latter-day blonde one whose name I don’t know, and she’s certainly no Julia Sawahalalala. Who once had, according to his book, a steamy relationship with Keith Allen. In fairness, it’s a book which might well have been titled, “And I’ve had her as well.” Ah, Keith Allen, whose outlook on life was once memorably described by the music hack David Hepworth as, “Keith Allen thinks everyone’s an idiot except him.”

Jonathan Creek has also moved out of the windmill and into what looks like it might have been one of Jimmy Page’s old rock star country retreats. How did this happen? I don’t care. I only know that Jonathan Creek’s no good anymore. I also know that the latest BBC incarnation of Sherlock Holmes owes quite a debt to Jonathan Creek.

Only Fools and Horses hasn’t aged well, has it? Lots of ‘You plonker’ and ‘You wally’ and ‘Shut uuuup!’, and even when it was at its Christmas Special heights, the feature length ones on location weren’t very good. A bit like where they used to take a perfectly useless sitcom and make an even more useless film of it by taking the cast out of the situation upon which the whole thing depended and sending them on holiday. The staff of Grace Brothers went to the Costa Plonka. They really did.

Niles and Daphne finally got it together in Frasier. Oh dear. I mean, it was still very good, but it never quite attained the heights it reached when their love remained unrequited. What Niles wouldn’t do for a snatched whiff of Daphne’s hair, how he nearly gave himself away, his battles with Frasier’s son, Frederick, who would get the stink-eye from a seethingly jealous Niles while enjoying on-demand Daphne-cuddles on some sneaky adolescent pretext.

‘In this episode, Inspector Morse is accused of murder…’ Oh he’s not, is he? It’s going to be no good then, is it? The last refuge of the script-writing scoundrel. Or is it? There might be a worse one, you know.

The guest star. The flavour of the month guest star. I have never seen a single episode of the A-Team. I never even saw the one in which Boy George at the powdered-pop-pinnacle of his Max-Factored magnificence made a special guest appearance.

Similarly, I have never watched Miami Vice. Ever. I know zip about the whole, sorry, dated business. Except, except, I did watch the one which had Phil Collins in it. And I only watched that because someone told me he said ‘wanker’ in it. He does too.


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