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Season 1 Episode 7

Christmas Past, Christmas Present

Aired Unknown Dec 26, 1990 on ITV
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Episode Summary

Christmas Past, Christmas Present
Richard Forrest is Elizabeth Peacock's guest for Christmas dinner. His father, a retired judge, is the previous owner of Arlington Grange, and Richard hopes to get the estate back for himself. It turns out that a number of those present have appeared in the dock before Judge Forrest, and young Forrest has blackmail in mind. A dead body, predictably, is soon discovered - but it isn't Forrest's, it's the body of Ken, the chauffeur. All must be revealed...moreless

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    Kate O'Mara

    Kate O'Mara

    Mrs Elizabeth Peacock #2

    Ian Lavender

    Ian Lavender

    Professor Peter Plum #2

    Joan Sims

    Joan Sims

    Mrs Blanche White #2

    Derek Nimmo

    Derek Nimmo

    Reverend Jonathan Green #2

    David Robb

    David Robb

    Colonel Michael Mustard #2

    Chris Tarrant

    Chris Tarrant

    Presenter (1991)

    James Clyde

    James Clyde

    Ken the Chauffeur

    Guest Star

    Tony Scannell

    Tony Scannell


    Guest Star

    Fiona Spence

    Fiona Spence


    Guest Star

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (6)

      • List Of Suggestions:

        Team 1: Colonel Mustard with the Candlestick in the Dining Room (0)
        Team 2: Colonel Mustard with the Candlestick in the Kitchen (0)

        Team 1: Reverend Green with the Rope in the Kitchen (0)
        Team 2: Mrs White with the Knife in the Hall (1)

        Team 1: Mrs Peacock with the Knife in the Study (1)
        Team 2: Miss Scarlett with the Knife in the Study (2)

        Team 1: Miss Scarlett with the Knife in the Library (3)

      • After the second bout of questioning, the studio audience could vote on who they thought was the murderer. 54% thought the killer was Mrs White. 23% picked the actual murderer (Miss Scarlett).

      • Each of the characters receives one of the weapons as a Christmas present: Mrs Peacock receives the dagger, Reverend Green the rope, Professor Plum the lead piping, Miss Scarlett the revolver, Colonel Mustard the spanner and Mrs White the candlestick.

      • The body is found by Mrs White.

      • This is the first episode which shows the episode title on-screen.

      • Guest star Sean Pertwee is the son of Jon Pertwee, and has also appeared in Cadfael, Chancer and Bodyguards as well as the films Dog Soldiers and The 51st State.

    • QUOTES (16)

      • Miss Scarlett: (her confession) Yes, it was me, with the knife, in the library. At first, I was going to kill Mike. Colonel Mustard. Well, wouldn't you if you'd been betrayed by someone you loved who- all the time- was planning to marry your stepmother? Anyhow, that's why I went to the study: to try and find some bullets that would fit the gun I'd been given and then he came in- in that Father Christmas outfit- and told me how the chauffeur was really Richard Forrest and how he was trying to blackmail my mother into giving him the house. Then I realised how. If I killed Forrest with my mother's knife, I could throw all the blame onto her and keep the house- and my lover. So I went to look for Forrest who was still in the library trying to finish off that ridiculous quiz. It's a pity he didn't live long enough to learn that he had the correct answers.

      • (It is revealed that Ken the chauffeur is the real Richard Forrest and the two men had swapped roles)
        Richard Forrest: They are going to lynch me!
        Ken: No.
        Richard Forrest: They are! You said it was going to be a laugh!
        Ken: It is.
        Richard Forrest: Well, not in there it isn't.
        Ken: Listen, you are the judge's son. That makes you untouchable.
        Richard Forrest: I don't feel particularly untouchable, do I?
        Ken: Well, then. Think of the money.

      • Leslie Grantham: (to Mrs White, during cross-examination) What was the significance of the candlestick present?
        Mrs White: Well, I had worked for a family before I went to work for the judge and... they had a terrible fire, and when it was all over they all got together and... accused me of starting it.

      • Fiona Spence: (during cross-examination) I'd like to ask Professor Plum, who was accused of plagiarising one of his students' work, was that student Richard Forrest?
        Professor Plum: No, the student was a young lady. It was all dealt with quite happily within the college and she was, in fact, sent down for possessing illegal substances.

      • (Reverend Green encounters a figure dressed as Father Christmas in the Hall and assumes it is Forrest)
        Reverend Green: Oh, it's you. I hoped you'd gone. Why did you have to do it? Raking everything up! Just tell me why!
        Professor Plum: (coming up behind them) Yes, and you can tell me too.
        Reverend Green: We don't want to know about the past. All that was finished. At least until you came.
        Professor Plum: And now, for some of us, it's the future that's finished as well. A future we might have had before you started interfering!

      • Professor Plum: The present he gave me. I do know why. But I didn't want to say anything in front of the others. It was a thesis I did. Got me my job really. On lead and nuclear fission. Lead, you see. That's why it was a piece of lead piping.
        Mrs Peacock: Yes, well, I'm sure that's all very interesting...
        Professor Plum: And then I was accused- falsely accused- of having stolen the idea from one of my students. I wanted you to know because I didn't want there to be anything that might come between us.
        Mrs Peacock: Professor Plum. You don't have to confide in me. It was very nice of you to ask, but I'm not going to marry you.

      • Mrs Peacock: You say these diaries contain the full story of Velma and her knife-throwing act?
        Richard Forrest: And the unfortunate death of the rival for her lover's affection.
        Mrs Peacock: It was an accident. The stupid girl moved.
        Richard Forrest: So the jury decided, yes. A jury of men. Men who turned visibly weak at the knees on seeing the beautiful and provocatively-dressed Velma entering the witness box. I quote.
        Mrs Peacock: From your father's diaries.
        Richard Forrest: Yes. He does go on to say what he thought the verdict should have been.
        Mrs Peacock: Sounds exciting reading.
        Richard Forrest: Yes, well, I am told by more than one publisher that they might offer me a great deal of money. And do you know what I'd like to do with that money?
        Mrs Peacock: No.
        Richard Forrest: Buy back the ancestral hall.
        Mrs Peacock: Pity it's not for sale.
        Richard Forrest: Yes, isn't it? Especially since, if it were, I might be able to arrange to have the diaries edited to leave out any mention of poor Velma and her most unfortunate accident.
        Mrs Peacock: That's blackmail, Mr Forrest.

      • Mrs White: (very upset, after receiving the candlestick) How can I not take it seriously? How can anybody else not take it seriously when he keeps giving us these things to remind us of events we'd rather not be reminded of?

      • Miss Scarlett: It was my uncle, by the way. I shot him. Did these diaries tell you that?
        Richard Forrest: No. He was your guardian, wasn't he?
        Miss Scarlett: Yes. Only the older I got the closer he wanted to guard me. So one day, I picked up a gun, just to threaten him- make him take his greasy hands off me- only it was loaded and so...

      • Reverend Green: (speaking about the judge) I might as well admit it. I appeared before him once. We'd been collecting money to equip the church with new bells and some of it... disappeared. It was a dreadful affair. Dreadful.
        Professor Plum: Well, the son won't know that, will he?
        Mrs Peacock: Couldn't possibly.
        Colonel Mustard: I'm sure we all have our little secrets. Just that you're the only one professionally bound to confess them.

      • Richard Forrest: I've always dreamt of coming back here. You know how wherever you go, you always keep this image of home in your head? Well, this was it for me.
        Miss Scarlett: Perhaps your father told you about me, did he?
        Richard Forrest: You once appeared before him on a manslaughter charge.
        Miss Scarlett: Oh, you did talk about me. I'm flattered.
        Richard Forrest: He didn't really talk about you, no. You see, my father, well, he kept very extensive diairies giving his candid opinion on some of the more colourful miscarriages of justice he'd been forced to preside over. You know, people being found not guilty when he was certain in his own mind they were... as guilty as sin.
        Miss Scarlett: So you know all about me.
        Richard Forrest: Yes, all about one or two other people as well.

      • Colonel Mustard: Wasn't that the desperate suitor I just saw?
        Miss Scarlett: Well, at least he didn't come with flowers this time. There was another bunch delivered yesterday.
        Colonel Mustard: Has your mother said anything?
        Miss Scarlett: He's still supposed to know nothing about it. I said to her, 'all these flowers from Professor Plum. I think he must fancy you.' She said 'Oh, Vivienne, don't be ridiculous'.
        Colonel Mustard: Well, he's still trying so she can't have said no.
        Miss Scarlett: Oh, I think it's just a boost to her ego. She can't have that many admirers. Not at her age.
        Colonel Mustard: You're a cruel, cruel woman.
        Miss Scarlett: And don't you like it.

      • Mrs White: Of course, I used to work for his father.
        Ken: The judge?
        Mrs White: Yes. So I only remember Master Richard- well, Mister Richard as he is now- when he was, what, ten or eleven. Then Mrs Forrest died and Master Richard got packed off to boarding school and the judge sold this place, and I got sold along with it as you might say. And have you worked for Master Richard for long? Mister Richard. MISTER Richard.
        Ken: Quite a while, yeah.
        Mrs White: So you'd know if all the stories were true then. Oh, not that I'm asking you to betray any confidences.
        Ken: He's led quite a life. It's worn me out sometimes just watching.
        Mrs White: Really?
        Ken: But I think he's changed. The last couple of years, and then his father dying...
        Mrs White: Oh yes.
        Ken: I get the impression he's ready to settle down.

      • Colonel Mustard: What is this little charade all about, hum? This (holding up the spanner) is supposed to tell me something, is it?
        Richard Forrest: Just presents from Father Christmas.
        Colonel Mustard: If you don't have the guts to say it, then I will. My wife was killed in a car accident. I say 'accident', because that's precisely what it was, so if you're about to insinuate it was something else, then say it!
        Richard Forrest: Ho, ho, ho!
        Colonel Mustard: Man's an idiot. Well, what about the rest of you? Anybody else wonder just what these... presents are for?
        Mrs White: Yes. Yes, I do.

      • Mrs White: No! Oh no! It isn't true. I couldn't do a thing like that!

      • Fiona Spence: I now think it was... No I think it was the Reverend Green.

    • NOTES (6)

      • Winning team: Tony Scannell and Fiona Spence.

      • This is the only episode which uses the traditional six weapons used in the UK version of the boardgame (dagger, candlestick, lead piping, revolver, rope and spanner).

      • The panellists: all four are actors - Tony Scannell and Trudy Goodwin were from a police show called The Bill, and Fiona Spence from Prisoner Cell Block H, while Leslie Grantham is a hard man from Eastenders and The Paradise Club. In real life, Leslie is a real ex-con - he served ten years in Wandsworth Prison for armed robbery.

      • Solution: Miss Scarlett with the Dagger in the Library.

      • This is a 45-minute episode, instead of the usual half-hour, and it includes three short films from Arlington Grange, instead of two.

      • Leslie Grantham is one of two guest panellists who later went on to become a suspect (the other is Nicholas Parsons, who appeared as a panellist in series three's 'Murder In Merrie England' and played Reverend Green in the fourth series, in which Grantham played Colonel Mustard).

    • ALLUSIONS (3)

      • Several elements of this story- such as the swapping of identities between the chauffeur and his boss and the suspects receiving the weapons as presents- are also present in the 1985 Jonathan Lynn film Clue starring Tim Curry, Madeline Khan, Eileen Brennan, Martin Mull, Michael McKean, Christopher Lloyd and Lesley Ann Warren- which is also based on the board game Cluedo.

      • Mrs Peacock: What was the Roman equivalent of Christmas?
        Miss Scarlett: Saturnalia.

        Saturnalia was the feast which commemorated the dedication of the temple of Saturn which took place on December 17. Over the years- and despite several Emperors attempts to reduce the celebration time- the feast expanded from one day to a whole week (ending on December 23). It was a large and important public festival in Rome- which combined a series of public rites with private customs (which included the making and giving of small presents as well as eating, drinking and general tomfoolery). Gambling was allowed for all, slaves were exempt from punishment and there was often a reversal of social roles.

      • Miss Scarlett: (reading one of the quiz questions) 'In which year could you be fined five shillings for celebrating Christmas?'
        Ken: 1659.

        Christmas was officially banned in the UK between 1647 and 1660 by the order of the Puritan rulers, who took control of the country after the execution of Charles I and the establishment of the Commonwealth by Oliver Cromwell.