Jonathan Creek

Season 4 Episode 1

The Coonskin Cap

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Mar 01, 2003 on BBC



  • Trivia

    • During the very first scene - the reenactment by Eyes and Ears of the discovery of the first body - when the cars stop it is revealed that the victim was tied to the back of the nurse's car on rather a long rope. Yet during the car chase that precedes the discovery, despite some good camera angles, there are two places (as the nurse turns her car violently left and then as the car hits the grass verge and comes to a halt) where you can clearly see there is nothing attached to the back of the car at all.

    • When Heather is getting ready in the locker room and talking to Parnevik, she puts on her jumper and her shirt collar is underneath. Yet in the reverses, her collar is outside the jumper. This goes on for the entire scene, with the collar moving from inside to outside depending on the camera angle.

    • During the scene near the beginning, where Adam and Velda are having a meal and Jonathan has interrupted them, Velda is seen to top up her champagne glass, then continue to devour her meal. In the conversation that follows, she takes a couple of big gulps of champagne and her glass is clearly seen to be half full. Then a second later during the same conversation, the glass is suddenly completely full again, and moments later it is almost completely empty, with just a drop of bubbly remaining and a great big lipstick stain on it that wasn't there previously.

    • Two things don't make sense in the gymnasium scene. Heather is warned to get back against the wall to avoid the killer getting behind her. Yet her body is discovered in the middle of the gym. Also, the inspector calls for a key, which someone has to go and fetch. Why, since they are armed officers, wouldn't one of them at least just shoot out the lock, given their colleague is apparently being strangled?

    • *Spoiler Warning*
      Heather Davey's killer has gone to supposedly great lengths to set her murder up so that it will be thought of as part of the series of 'Daisy Chain' murders. The jacket has been rigged, he can be first on the scene. Why on earth, then, would he arrange for the 'murder' to take place inside a locked gymnasium? Why not set off the booby trap in the hallway? She's on her own. Nobody would have seen what actually happened, and it would have been a lot more likely that the murderer might have escaped unnoticed. Instead, he arranges it in a locked room, with an impossible escape for the supposed killer that just draws attention to the whole thing. Poetic licence maybe, but it makes no real sense. Two other things that are very dubious: this is a large gymnasium in a modern college. Fire regulations would surely have made it impossible to build this without at least one other exit (having another exit would again have given the killer a possible escape and made setting it in the gym feasible). The second is that is the killer himself who draws attention to the flecks of blood on the jacket she'd been wearing and tells them it wasn't hers! He's talking to a reporter and a magician's aide - he wouldn't have to repeat it, and he'd be far less likely to be caught!

    • Jonathan mentions they are having trouble with getting a surrealist painting for the show. Having had the Magritte rejected, he gives two other choices, one by Salvador Dali or The Scream by Edvard Munch. If they were looking for a surrealist painting, they would not have chosen Munch, since he was an Impressionist painter, not a Surrealist.

    • *Spoiler warning*
      The WPC is supposed to have been killed by the serial killer, who strangles their victims. However, any suspicious or violent death is required to be reported to the coroner, who would carry out a post mortem examination and would have easily discovered that the little red mark on her neck was not a sign of strangulation – and presumably that her ribs had in some way been crushed or bruised by the pressure of the jacket. The plot relies on this being one of a series of murders, but it would have been obviously singled out.

  • Quotes

    • Brendan [of Carla]: Camera loves her, doesn't it? But we might want to reconsider lip gloss. Multiple strangulations I'd go for more of a nut brown. Clinique No. 2 or Topaz Glow. Something more restful.

    • Gary Basto (the streaker): And what can we do for you?
      Jonathan: How about sticking your head down that pan while I flush? You don't come in here and talk to people like that, now bugger off!
      Basto: Who the hell are you?
      Jonathan: I'm the man who's telling you to bugger off.
      (Jonathan grabs Basto by the shoulder and short and curlies and marches him out.)
      Jonathan: Come on, as from now your showbiz career is over. People come to the Adam Klaus magic show, they do not suddenly expect to see a dick on stage. All right, I'll rephrase that: full frontal nudity is not admissible. Now hop it.
      Basto: You have no authority to fire me. I'm an integral part of that trick.
      Jonathan: We'll recast. I'm sure Jan'll happily set up some auditions. How can you have a streaker's dressing room anyway? That's an oxymoron surely.
      Basto: I can make big trouble for you and him. Don't think that I won't.
      Jonathan: Oh, now you're really scaring me. Give him his clothes.
      Basto: Big trouble! And poxy moron yourself!

    • Jonathan: Come on, what's the most common explanation you can think of for blood on a collar.
      Carla: I don't know. Someone cutting someone's throat?
      Jonathan: Oh, that's very common is it, down your road?

    • Jonathan [ on Brendan's obsession with ratings ]: "Everything's about numbers now". Does he know how witless that sounds? "How was it for you, darling?" "Oh I won't know until the overnights come in but it must be okay because it appeals to a young demographic." Well so did the Hitler Youth!

    • Jonathan: Is the unit nurse in yet? No well get the unit pusher. Tell them it's urgent. [to Adam] God you look like death.
      Adam: Stringfellows. Boy you just had to go and open your big, fat mouth didn't you?
      Jonathan: What?
      Adam [looking at The Scream on stage]: Oh will you close those tabs. Feels like I'm staring in a mirror.
      Jonathan: Don't tell me, the lovely Velda?
      Adam: After she bit the head of that live lobster I thought there was nowhere we could go but up. So at two o'clock in the morning we get to the nightclub, where she insists on showing everyone the tattoo of Mr Bean on her stomach, combing his hair with her appendectomy scar. And that's just for starters. I introduced her to Bryan Ferry. She just stands there giggling, picking her nose. Then she starts picking his nose. Then she comes over kind of green and dodges outside to the toilet. Ten minutes later I get a message saying she's choked to death on her own vomit.
      Jonathan: Oh don't!
      Adam: With several large chunks of crustacean lodged in her windpipe. Kind of brings it home to you, I guess. How important it is to chew your food.

    • Carla: In light of these two attacks, are there any special measures we should be considering?
      Superintendent Parnnevik: It seems to me there's one very simple measure we may all be overlooking. And that's a little thing called a noose.
      Carla [ surprised ]: Right, well of course…
      Parnnevik: Social cleansing may be an unfashionable concept these days, but from where I'm standing 40 years of slapped wrists haven't exactly cleaned up the streets in this country.
      Carla: Quite. Although I…
      Parnnevik: And who's to say our old friends the cyanide pellet and lethal injection couldn't teach us a thing or two here? People talk about 'getting inside a criminal's mind'. Well let me tell you, 2000 volts up the spine'll pretty much take you there.

    • (Carla has accused Jonathan of being insulting about her father)
      Jonathan: And? All I can seem to remember saying afterwards is he seems like a bit of a prick… ly gentleman. On the other hand I did have hiccups at the time, so you might have misheard me.

    • Carla [ talking about the fact she used to present a regional magazine programme on TV ]: Brendan says I should never have given it up, because the camera loves me.
      Jonathan: Well maybe you should have married the camera. Because you know what you've got there, don't you, is a shoulder squeezer. That's only one up from red braces.
      Carla [ indignant ]: Look, don't think I didn't click it, what was going through your grubby brain yesterday. When he said I was the new anchor in the studio. I could see you thinking it. What happened to the old wanker?

  • Notes

    • The music playing during The Scream act, which is interrupted by the streaker, is Bolero, by Maurice Ravel. Originally written as a ballet piece, it is probably best known these days as the music Torvill and Dean danced to!

  • Allusions

    • Brendan Baxter: Don't overdo the Dutch Head.
      Said to a film editor at the beginning of the episode where they have recreated the crime. Not actually a reference to Holland or the part of the body containing the brain, it is in fact a piece of camera equipment that enables the filmmaker to take shots which would otherwise be very difficult – an addition to the steadicam idea.

    • Jonathan: I'm tempted to keep coming back to that vaulting horse, but I've probably been watching too many prisoner of war films.
      He is alluding in particular to the film The Wooden Horse (1950), in which prisoners escape by tunnelling, hidden underneath the horse, whilst their comrades use the vaulting horse for exercise, as camouflage.

    • Title: The Coonskin Cap
      The title and shadows in the episode are references to Davy Crockett's famous hat, made from the skin of a racoon with its tail still attached. Davy Crockett was an American pioneer and soldier, who died at the battle of the Alamo. His tombstone reads: "Davy Crockett, Pioneer, Patriot, Soldier, Trapper, Explorer, State Legislator, Congressman, Martyred at The Alamo. 1786 - 1836." Disney made a series of (largely fictionalised) shows about Crockett's life, and the 'Coonskin Cap' was one of the first successful merchandising spin-offs, being very popular with children at the time.

    • Carla: Why don't you go and keep cavey by the door?
      Jonathan: Keep cavey? What are we now: the Famous Five?
      Two allusions: Keep cavey is a saying meaning to look out and warn of anyone coming. Its origins are unknown, but the consensus is that it comes from the Latin cave meaning 'beware', as in 'caveat emptor' – 'let the buyer beware'.
      The Famous Five, of course, are a group of children created by Enid Blyton, who solve mysteries whilst devouring lashings of ginger beer and ham salads, usually provided by friendly farmers' wives. Blyton wrote 21 books about the Five.