Good news for lovers of the locked room mystery in the style of John Dickson Carr. It has been announced that after a (too) long sabbatical, Alan Davies will again don his duffel coat to investigate an impossible crime in a new 90-minute episode of Jonathan Creek, scheduled now to be shown by the BBC during Easter 2013 after a potential Christmas deadline couldn’t be met. The Clue of the Savant’s Thumb,written as always by the show’s creator, David Renwick, will revolve around a secret society and a seemingly inexplicable disappearance in front of witnesses amongst other weird goings on at a girl’s school. The one-off story will co-star Sheridan Smith as Creek’s sidekick, Joey Ross, who also appeared in the last two seasonal specials.
I was first alerted to the return of the show by the inimitable TomCat and am very glad to have more details finally to hand. I often felt, during its original run (1997 to 2004) that the longer episodes, either feature-length special or two-parters, saw the show at its best, with Renwick coming up with plots that really did stand up against the best of Carr and Clayton Rawson with its mixture of humour, magic and ingenious miracle problems to be solved.
The show did go off the boil after the departure of Caroline Quentin as journalist Maddy Magellan at the end of season 3, though Renwick really pulled out the stops in the special that followed her departure, Satan’s Chimney, which introduced Julia Sawalha and contained what may be the series’ most complex plot ever. My favourite episode probably remains Black Canary, which features a body shot to death in the snow but with no footsteps around the body and which also co-starred Rik Mayall as the wonderfully acerbic Detective Gideon Pryke (presumably named after Carr’s Dr Fell). The last two specials were perhaps not as strong as the show at its peak, but I am very glad to hear of its return even if it is only a one-off for now.