Jonathan Creek

Episode 2

Satan's Chimney

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Dec 26, 2001 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
20 votes

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Episode Summary

Satan's Chimney

How can a gun be fired through a glass window without breaking the glass? How do bodies disappear and turn to dust within stone castle walls? Jonathan must once again put his thinking cap on to solve the mystery surrounding the murder of an actress, this time without the help of Maddy!


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  • Jonathan and new partner Carla are taken to Doomdorf Castle in Scotland where they are plunged into the mystery of Satan's Chimney, a strange contraption used in the 1500's to send heretic's to hell.moreless

    This episode was amazing. It is the episode where we are first introduced to Carla and what an impression she makes. She is fantastic. I never thought anyone could replace Maddie but Carla does a pretty good job. This episode was original, imaginative and exciting as well as quite tense. It had a great spooky atmosphere but was also really quite funny in parts. If you are looking for a good episode to watch this i have to say is one of the best and i certainly recommend it. Check this out and you definately won't be disappointed. Thumbs Up :)moreless
  • A very strange episode, with not one but two inexplicable 'locked room' murders and a very motley crew of characters indeed. Should keep everyone guessing.

    Vivian Brody, an actress who is no-longer young shall we say, is to star in a movie being made by friend and famous director, Herman Grole. Her co-star, playing her younger lover, is obsessed by germs and refuses to film the love scenes with her in case he catches something. So far so silly.

    Meanwhile, Jonathan is introduced to new character, Carla Borrego, agent to one Alan Kalanak, who is supposed to be filming with Adam Klaus. She is feisty, apparently tough, but actually quite vulnerable. She and Jonathan rub each other up the wrong way from the beginning.

    As it turns out, Vivian Brody and Alan Kalanak were once an item and have something of a history together. Whilst filming a scene inside a locked room, during which the character is supposed to shoot herself and the rest of the cast have to hack down the door to get in having heard the shot, they discover not prop blood, but that she has actually been shot and killed. Nobody could have got in or out, the gun was only a prop, the windows were sealed shut. Mystery indeed.

    The funeral takes place in Doomdorf Castle in Scotland, to which Jonathan and Carla are invited to try to make sense of what happened. Kalanak is there too. As a famous escapologist he cannot resist taking part in the riddle of Satan's Chimney, a brick tube to which people were chained at the bottom and then disappeared, apparently spontaneously bursting into flame by the fires of Hell. Of course he disappears too, and it becomes weirder and weirder.

    I won't give the story and the ending away, save to say that both mysteries have very nefarious motives. The murder of Vivian is particularly horrible in the reasoning and the culprit, once revealed. As usual everything is rather contrived and you do have to suspend your disbelief. It's a sprawling story, but it's full of little vignettes that are often hilarious - the trademark JC/David Renwick comedy.

    A good, perhaps slightly overlong, episode - one that ticks all the JC boxes. And kudos to Julia Sawahla and David Renwick. Both manage the very difficult feat of keeping the series alive without the presence of Maddy. It could all have gone horribly wrong.moreless
Steven Berkoff

Steven Berkoff

Herman Grole

Guest Star

Mary Tamm

Mary Tamm

Vivian Brodie

Guest Star

Bill Bailey

Bill Bailey

Kenny Starkiss

Guest Star

Stuart Milligan

Stuart Milligan

Adam Klaus

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • Towards the beginning of the episode, Carla is annoyed by a man for whom she holds the door, whilst exiting a store. She has several bags in her hands. She chases after him and transfers some bags to her left hand. When she catches him up, she grabs him, with an empty left hand.

  • QUOTES (3)

    • Carla [picking up a copy of Maddy Magellan's book]: Is this the woman you…
      Jonathan: Correct.
      Carla: So where is she no...
      Jonathan: Texas. Some publishing junket.
      Carla: And…
      Jonathan: Just the once in a hotel room, which we realised was probably a mistake.
      Carla: Do you know, you can be so…
      Jonathan: Pre-emptive? Yeah, well that was the problem.

    • Adam: Well you said on the 'phone you'd been living for the last two years in Norway.
      Kenny: Er… In a doorway.
      (At the theatre next day.)
      Jonathan: You see, this is what happens when you encourage a person with no talent. Not only have you completely screwed up this guy's life – reduced him to the level of a cave dweller. Now I've got to pretend to work with him to repair the damage. I mean the man's barely got two brain cells to rub to… Kenny! How you doing? Finding your way round okay?
      Kenny: Listen, I've got a great new bit for the TV series. You know how those guillotine tricks always suck on the telly? Like you never really believe the blade actually goes through. So how about this? We find some guy with a terminal illness, okay? Probably could do with a bob or two for his next of kin. And… we cut his head off!
      Jonathan: It's a thought, isn't it, Adam? Prime-time euthanasia. Just what the BBC are looking for to spearhead the autumn schedule.

    • (Vivian has just discovered Bronson's false head of her for his kissing scenes.)
      Bronson: Do you have the faintest idea how many streptococci are released in the average French kiss. Believe me it runs in the mi… [grabbing the head] Can you not break the seal please? It's meant to be sterile.
      Vivian: It's a pity your father wasn't. I'm sorry but this man is the most immature, self obsessed, insensitive… [ cut to scene of Vivian being interviewed ] …and thoroughly charming individual I've ever worked with. A real professional and a gentleman.

  • NOTES (1)

    • David Renwick originally wrote the episode with the character of Maddy in it, but Caroline Quentin declined to appear, as she was trying for a second baby. She may have been available later, but the BBC wanted to put this episode out in time for Christmas, so Renwick had to go away and write in the new character of Carla Borrego.


    • Carla's boyfriend is called Vernon Spools, which causes great hilarity in the episode, because people assume he's given her a false name. For those who may not understand the joke (which is especially British), this is an allusion to the famous British betting company, Vernons Pools – the Pools being a way of betting on the outcome of football matches to win large amounts of money.

    • Jonathan: Anklet. What are you, Barbara Stanwyck?
      This is a reference to the famous actress, particularly in her role in Double Indemnity, where she played the character of Phyllis, a conniving woman who persuades an insurance salesman to kill her husband, having taken out a large life insurance policy on him. During the scene where she is seducing the salesman she is famously sporting a 'honey' of an anklet, which was at the time seen as rather sleazy and daring.

    • Herman Grole: Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing,
      Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.
      Herman is quoting from Edgar Allen Poe's famous poem, The Raven, which is a fitting reference as it is about loss and despair.