Hetty Wainthropp Investigates

Season 1 Episode 1

The Bearded Lady

Aired Wednesday 9:30 PM Jan 03, 1996 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
4 votes

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Episode Summary

The Bearded Lady
Hetty Waintthropp is annoyed at the cards celebrating her sixtieth birthday – they all offer her well wishes for "joining the club" of senior citizens and old-age pensioners, even though she's not entitled to a pension. Determined to make something of herself, Hetty gets a job at the local post office, where she proves her mettle quite quickly by throwing out a troublemaking biker and chasing down a shoplifter.moreless

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  • Great beginning to a series that introduces an interesting lady detective, performed by Patricia Routledge, and her teenage assistant, played by Dominic Monaghan of "Lord of the Rings" fame.

    While there is one episode listed before this one, "The Bearded Lady" is the episode that introduces Hetty Wainthropp as a detective and Dominic Monaghan as her teenage assistant, Geoffrey Shawcross. Geoffrey is introduced as a teenage boy who steals from the post office where Hetty works. He also works in a grocery store where Hetty shops. She puts him to work and soon discovers how bright he is. Hetty's husband, Robert, is ably played by Derek Benfield. This episode was different from the typical detective program in a number of ways. The first being who the detective was, i.e., a somewhat overweight, sixty year old woman with a high school dropout teenager for her helper. The "bad guy" (the owner of the chemical company) in this episode was not really a bad guy. The perceived murder of the bag lady was not a murder. Good writing. Interesting episode. Great beginning.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • The closed captioning on the DVD will frequently butcher the dialogue, given the sometimes indistinct words and thick accents. We won't go into each incident, but let this be a warning that often times what the captions say aren't always what was actually said.

  • QUOTES (2)

    • (Geoffrey just stole money from the post office)
      Hetty: Children in Need, how could you?
      Geoffrey: I'm a child, I'm in need. I'm just speeding up the procedure.
      Hetty: What's your name?
      Geoffrey: Mickey Mouse.

    • Hetty: If you don't follow your star, you'll never hit the jackpot.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Throughout the episode, newspapers and people who discuss Hetty's business as an investigator frequently call her an "old age pensioner," despite Hetty's insistince that she gets no government assistance.

    • During the course of the series, you will find many subtle likenesses between Hetty and actress Patricia Routledge's other famous character Hyacinth Bucket (Bouquet) of Keeping Up Appearances. A good example of this is Hetty's control over the shopping in the supermarket.

    • This episode aired on PBS as a 2-hour pledge drive special.


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