Though there’s no confirmed date and time for the screening just yet, the BBC have rolled out the official blurb and publicity images for the new Jonathan Creek, The Savant’s Thumb.
There’s a body, a locked room, a mystery from the past, a big country house, a convent school and lots of other things that fit the tone, perhaps even formula, of the show down to a tee. It’s impressive that one TV programme can be so wriggly and idiosyncratic at the same time as having such a regular recipe.
Here are the pics, plot set-up and character break-down courtesy of the BBC.
When a dead body impossibly vanishes from a locked study it is only the first in a chain of dark mysteries confronting Jonathan Creek and self-styled paranormal investigator Joey Ross.
Writer, producer, political campaigner and all round polymath Franklin Tartikoff is one of the country’s most eminent intellectuals. But tragedy and horror are about to engulf the vast old country house he shares with his beautiful wife Rosalind, and their adopted daughter Fariba.
On the day that Fariba returns from a spiritual journey to the remote Far Eastern island where she was born her mother is attending the funeral of an old school friend… an event that will unleash disturbing memories of a classmate whose macabre death, 50 years ago in the school dormitory, was never explained.
Today, Waxwood Hall convent school lies eerily empty and derelict. But as Rosalind Tartikoff revisits her childhood haunts she finds that ghosts from the past still stalk its gloomy interior. Now a lecturer in Humanities and Modern Philosophy, and an avowed religious sceptic, how can she bear to admit – even to herself – that as a rebellious teenager in the Sixties she once had a miraculous vision of God?
And when her life is ripped apart by the shocking death of her husband, and a disappearing act that appears to defy the laws of science – the very fabric of everything she believes in – there is only one person she feels she can turn to… who, in a world of “gods and spirits and magic and miracles can still fly the flag for common sense”.
A grisly murder, the macabre history of a Catholic girls’ school, a sinister local society and a series of increasingly puzzling, interlocking clues form the backdrop to another weird and wonderful case for Creek and Joey – where this time they find themselves merely junior players, in an inquiry spearheaded by the flamboyant and indomitable detective inspector, Gideon Pryke.
An inquiry whose resolution will prove infinitely deeper and darker than any of them could have imagined…
Now the list of characters, including the return of Rik Mayall as Gideon Pryke. His fellow Young One Nigel Planer appears too – this is his second Creek, and his second character… presumably. He might be the same one under an alias… that’d be fun, and kind of in-mode. Perhaps too much to ask, though.
RIK MAYALL as GIDEON PRYKE: The formidable, swashbuckling detective inspector in charge of what appears to be an impenetrable murder inquiry – how could a dead body vanish into thin air from a room that everyone agrees was “anatomically airtight”? First seen in the episode Black Canary Pryke returns with all his trademark vigour and enthusiasm, un-fazed by a recent “sniper’s bullet” that has left him in rather reduced circumstances.
NIGEL PLANER as FRANKLIN TARTIKOFF: Venerable intellectual powerhouse who emerged through the world of satirical entertainment in the Seventies to become one of the country’s most prolific directors and writers… but whose lively and ever-passionate public persona belies the fact that he is nursing a tragic secret.
JOANNA LUMLEY as ROSALIND TARTIKOFF: Franklin’s wife, and like him a committed academic and “career atheist”. Her aversion to all religious doctrine and the cult of spirituality (“the eternal refuge of the credulous”) took root during the childhood she spent at a deeply repressive Catholic girls school. Fifty years on, she is still haunted by the memories of strange, “supernatural” events that took place there.
HASINA HAQUE as FARIBA TARTIKOFF: Rescued from the floods in her native Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean at the age of three, Fariba has grown up in the West within a modern, secular household. But a trip back to the place of her birth, to research a television documentary, convinces her there is more to life than our own mortal existence. (“We think we know all the answers, we don’t even know the questions.”) When she returns she brings with her a creepy looking native carving of a local god, Tarua-Ran (translation “What cannot be explained”)… which turns out to be a sinister portent for what happens next.
MARK FROST as BRAD: Local farm worker who enjoys a fluctuating relationship with Fariba, but may hold the key to some of the recent strange developments in the village.
MICHAEL LUMSDEN as PETER CHURCHILL: Local doctor and trusted family confidant. But is there more to his relationships with Franklin and Rosalind than we’re led to believe?
SARAH ALEXANDER as POLLY: The new love of Creek’s life – smart and classy high-flying media executive who works in the City, and is about to be drawn into his investigations, with terrifying results.