Jonathan Creek

Episode 1

Black Canary

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Dec 24, 1998 on BBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Black Canary

Creek and Magellan investigate the apparently impossible suicide of a female illusionist, whose daughter happens to be a former flame of Creek's, and whose twin sister was killed fifteen years previously. But there is another lateral mind at work this time, in the form of swashbuckling Det Insp Gideon Pryke.


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    John Hales

    John Hales

    Burger man

    Guest Star

    Rik Mayall

    Rik Mayall

    Det Insp Gideon Pryke

    Guest Star

    Hannah Gordon

    Hannah Gordon

    Marella Carney

    Guest Star

    Stuart Milligan

    Stuart Milligan

    Adam Klaus

    Recurring Role

    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


    • TRIVIA (3)

      • When Jonathan and Maddy are walking through the snowy wood, they stop just short of the footprints that lead to the den. The footprints that we then see are left by the limping man, who by all accounts drags one foot. Yet the prints leading to the den are almost identical – left and right – whereas one set should obviously look like a continuous print, if a leg had been dragged through the snow. Similarly, when the two of them arrive back at Maddy's car to discover the broken window, there is no evidence of prints leading to the car itself.

      • ***Spoiler Warning***
        During the flashback reveal, where 'Marella' admits to Hannah that she is really Beryl and therefore Hanna's mother, Susannah Hamilton's (Hannah) hairstyle changes several times during what is supposedly the same conversation.

      • Marella is supposed to have killed herself by putting a rifle in her mouth and pulling the trigger. There were several odd things about the situation, such as the disappearing footprints, but a suicide of that kind would certainly have produced a lot of blood. As she was discovered in the snow, someone would surely have wondered why there was no red anywhere of any kind – even if it wasn't obvious to the husband, the police or paramedics should have noted it.

    • QUOTES (6)

      • Gideon Pryke: I can smell guilt on a man like dung on a donkey.

      • Jonathan: Adam – he's been rushed to hospital.
        Maddy: Gallstones?
        Jonathan: His bride to be tried to beat him to death with a poker.
        Adam [in hospital]: Will I never learn, Jonathan, to read those signs?
        Jonathan: What happened?
        Adam: Our first prenuptial adventure. She steps out of the shower, naked before me for the very first time. And suddenly, do you know what I'm staring at?
        Maddy: I think we've got a shrewd idea.
        Adam: To find threaded through an intimate area of your fiancee's body a ring is challenging enough. To find upon that ring a small nickel-plated swastika takes me somewhere I don't want to go.
        Jonathan: You're not serious!
        Adam: It appears the blonde, blue-eyed Elsa was of more conservative stock than I imagined. A Nazi. Suddely all those black shirts were making sense. At that point things got ugly. Anti-fascist polemic does not make for great foreplay. Then she began sadistically beating me with fireside equipment.

      • Maddy [ on the fact Marella had a twin ]: They kept that one quiet!
        Jonathan: Well they're hardly going to put it in the programme notes are they? NB: Whilst miraculously escaping from a locked trunk tonight, Miss Carney will be assisted by her twin sister, Beryl! Anyway that was all before the accident of course.
        Maddy: What accident?
        Jonathan: It's a bit on the grizzly side, probably best not to discuss.
        Maddy: What accident?
        Jonathan: I don't know if you've got the stomach for it.
        Maddy: I've got the stomach. Don't give me that macho protective number.
        Jonathan: Rehearsal one day for one of their big routines, her sister Beryl's tied to a bench with an electric buzz saw coming at her. Mechanism jammed, the thing just kept coming. She was literally sawn in half.
        Maddy: Ohhhh! My God!
        Jonathan: Lengthways.
        Maddy: Oh my… Aaargh! Ugh!

      • Jonathan: Maddy's like a comfortable old sweatshirt that you are happy to put on day after day.

      • Jonathan [ on seeing Adam in his 'frog' as opposed to 'frock' coat ]: This is it now is it? Through the swirling fog of Victorian London, a young girl is slashed to ribbons by Toad of Toad Hall!

      • Jonathan [ on a missed romantic opportunity ]: Charlotte Carney, who I desired more than oxygen, asks me into her flat at one o'clock in the morning? I'm sorry there's got to be some kind of catch. "Oh I don't think you've met my fiancé Crispin, he's got two penises and his own airline." Or the other one: I whisper I love you in her ear – she attacks me with a fire extinguisher. No thank you. I can do without that kind of humiliation.
        Adam Klaus: I've often felt your love life would make a fine play by Samuel Beckett.

    • NOTES (2)

    • ALLUSIONS (3)

      • Title: Black Canary.
        This is the nickname given to to Marella Carney and obviously a play on her surname. However, at the start of the episode, we see a huge figure of a statuesque blonde decorating the hallway to the Carney house. This is an allusion to and near-copy of the DC Comics heroine, The Black Canary, who first appeared in 1947 as part of the Justice Society of America, and whose special power was a high pitched cry that could shatter glass and sort out villains at the same time.

      • Gideon Pryke: Maybe this is all a pack of lies dreamed up by our friend, Mr Bellenitis. Can you really take the word of a man named after an inflammation of the foreskin?
        A clever little play on words, though Pryke is not far wrong. He's alluding to balanitis, which is indeed an inflammation of the foreskin and very painful by all accounts!

      • Jonathan: What am I? Jack 'The Hat' McVittie?
        Said as Maddy has asked Jonathan to dispose of a cockroach by hitting it with a spade. Jack 'The Hat' McVittie was a London East End gangster in the 1960s, and part of the Kray gang, run by identical twins Ronnie and Reggie Kray. In October 1967, Ronnie persuaded Reggie to kill McVittie, as he had stepped out of line. Reggie stabbed him in the eye and their brother Charlie hid the body (so well that it has never been found).