Jonathan Creek

Season 3 Episode 1

The Curious Tale of Mr Spearfish

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Nov 27, 1999 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
22 votes

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Episode Summary

The Curious Tale of Mr Spearfish
A couple's lives are dramatically transformed after the husband enters into a pact with the devil - he has since found buried treasure and appears to be able to defy death.

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  • This has a really good set up, lots of incredible clues and happenings, but the payoff is too far-fetched even for Jonathan Creek.

    All the ingredients are here - a pact with the devil, mysterious fires, sudden unexplained wealth, buried treasure, gun-happy pimps, cheating death... It should all have added up to a much better story than is played out here. The first half is very well done and sets up a suitably mysterious premise. Whilst the viewer knows that it's unlikely that Mr Spearfish has actually sold his soul and is now impervious, the reality of what is happening is completely unfathomable. A few of the JC episodes you could almost work out what happened, but this one is just too off the wall for words. It's a shame really, because however ridiculous the outcomes of JC episodes, normally you're impressed by the plotting. This is a bit like one of those stories children write where they're backed into a corner and have to declare 'it was all a dream'. It doesn't quite go that far, but it's not a very satisfactory finish.moreless
Andrew Tiernan

Andrew Tiernan

Lenny Spearfish

Guest Star

Rachel Power

Rachel Power

Alice Spearfish

Guest Star

Griff Rhys Jones

Griff Rhys Jones

Jeremy Sangster

Guest Star

Stuart Milligan

Stuart Milligan

Adam Klaus

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

    • When Lenny Spearfish signs the deal with the devil, the signature on the document is signed with a very fine quill pen. When we see it again in the packing crate, having been discarded, the outline of the signature is much thicker.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Jonathan: Well that was another evening of fun and frolics then. "This is my next door neighbour – he's in league with Lucifer." Followed by a private consultation in the kitchen about her most intimate marital problems. She asked me about keeping a cap in place – I though we were back to yamulkes. I said, "Have you tried using a bit of toupée tape?" What did you have to tell her I was a doctor for?

    • (Adam is on trial for assaulting a hotel worker.)
      Jeremy Sangster: So, when you arrived with his breakfast, Miss Cretiss, at 8.15 in the morning, your exact words through the hotel room door were, let's be quite clear about this, "Good morning, room service".
      Miss Cretiss: That's correct.
      Sangster: Not "Good morning, I've come to commit an unnatural act with a grilled herring", but "Good morning, room service".
      Miss Cretiss: Correct.
      Sangster: Despite which, when he opened the door wearing, what you describe as "a nancy kimono bedjacket", he made what was to be the first of several improper suggestions.
      Miss Cretiss: Yes, he pointed across the room.
      Sangster: With his finger?
      Miss Cretiss: At that stage just with his finger – and said "Let's have it over there on the table."
      Sangster: Let's have it over there on the table. And as you crossed the room with the tray, you noticed he had now let his bedjacket fall open with, in your words, "his wedding tackle standing to attention".
      Miss Cretiss: Bearing in mind it was over my shoulder at the time.
      Sangster: Pardon me?
      Miss Cretiss: Bearing in mind I was facing the other way, but I could see it over the shoulder in the mirror.

    • Sadie Bechtenstein: You'll be quite handy with a needle yourself Jonathan. Let me tell you, you're not the first gynaecologist to use that spoon, but it's always an honour.

    • (Maddy has just unloaded her dirty washing.)
      Jonathah: My God, what the hell is all this?
      Maddy: Odds and sods.
      Jonathan: Odds and sods? It's like the relief effort to an earthquake zone. [ noticing the tied-together sheets ] What are you planning? A prison breakout?
      Maddy: So I know what goes with what. Now leave it or you'll upset my system. It's like a kind of Zen thing for me, washing. I have to be in the mood.
      Jonathan: You think you're going to shift this lot by seven?
      Maddy: Are you mad? I thought you could finish it tomorrow.
      Jonathan: Oh yes. I've got Widow Twankey here on work experience! It'll be no sweat.

  • NOTES (1)

    • We learn during the episode that, although Jonathan is proficient in most things, he has never learned to drive, and his first attempt is not a great success.


    • Maddy: Do you remember that couple, Dr Faustus and his wife?
      Referring to the fact that Lenny Spearfish had supposedly sold his soul, this is an allusion to the famous story of Faust, who made a pact with the devil in return for power, which he then misuses and is damned. The most well-known versions of the story are The Tragical History of Dr Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, first published in 1604, and the poem Faust, written by Goethe between 1806 and 1832, which took the same premise but gave it a more positive ending with redemption possible.

    • Frank Capra
      Both Maddy and Jonathan refer in the episode to the story being a bit like a Frank Capra movie. Capra (1897 - 1991) was a prolific movie director, winning Oscars for It Happened One Night (the first film to win all five major Academy Awards), Mr Deeds Goes to Town and You Can't Take It With You. His most famous film is arguably It's A Wonderful Life, a Christmas favourite.

    • Maddy: Don't tell me. The game's afoot Watson.
      This is a reference to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous creation, Sherlock Holmes and his faithful sidekick and reporter of his detective successes, Dr John Watson. Although the phrase is popularly attributed to the detective, Holmes was actually quoting Shakespeare (Henry V, from the "Once more unto the breach" speech.