Jonathan Creek

Season 5 Episode 1

The Seer of the Sands

Aired Friday 9:00 PM Feb 14, 2004 on BBC
out of 10
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Episode Summary

The Seer of the Sands

When a ghost hunter dedicated to exposing fraud in all its forms dies in a tragic accident, Jonathan and Carla investigate whether his spirit lives on. Why did the boat crash occur, how did the body disappear and how did the answers to five spontaneous questions mysteriously appear in a bottle beneath the sand?


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  • But in all the right ways. A guy dies in a boating crash; his lover is convinced his spirit is talking to her.

    Well this one has it all - mysterious death, even more mysterious gypsies, disappearing body, supposed miracles - it's all left up to Jonathan to point out the reality behind the smoke and mirrors.

    The performances are spot on - the story is the usual very bizarre sequence of events that we love about JC. This one I have to admit is a little far-fetched even for this series, and there is the feeling that David Renwick might be having to stretch his imagination a little for ideas!

    Eve Polycarpou is wonderful as the gypsy woman with her 'insights' into another world. The five question trick is pretty good. You do have to suspend your disbelief from a great height, but it's all great fun and very British. And I love the scene where JC and Carla have their hair glued together whilst trying to chase after the gypsy!

    Not one of the classic episodes, but pretty good anyway.moreless
Lorelei King

Lorelei King

Geraldine Vaccara

Guest Star

Jonathan Kydd

Jonathan Kydd

Mickey Daniels

Guest Star

Eve Polycarpou

Eve Polycarpou


Guest Star

Adrian Edmondson

Adrian Edmondson

Brendan Baxter

Recurring Role

Stuart Milligan

Stuart Milligan

Adam Klaus

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Geraldine Vaccaro turns up at the site of the boat accident, and then at Justin's house, after 'the news comes through' about his death. Yet she was his secret lover; neither Mickey nor Ashley knew who she was, so couldn't have contacted her. Even if it had been reported on the news in the US, which is highly unlikely, she wouldn't know the exact spot he died. And since she sent the fax through saying 'talk to you tonight' wouldn't she think it strange immediately that she didn't get through with her good news?

    • Mickey brings in a huge pan/cauldron of freshly-cooked pasta and pours it into a bowl, then takes it out again. At no point is he using any oven gloves. Given it's a proper pasta cooker, even allowing for the draining off of the food, it would still have been too hot to transport with bare hands.

    • A major plot point is that Geraldine and Justin had a secret word that they had arranged to tell to each other, should they be able to communicate after either of their deaths to know that the communication was real. Geraldine is given the opportunity to ask five questions to Justin by the gypsy woman who is supposedly in contact with him. Why wasn't her first (or any) question on their first meeting "what is our secret word"?

  • QUOTES (7)

    • Carla: I can't believe what you're telling me. You and Alvin Turtelbaum?
      Brendan: It was my first time in the States. I was young and impulsive. It was more a marriage of convenience.
      Carla: Convenience!
      Brendan: He was a major player with the studios. It opened a lot of doors. Of course to him I was just a trophy wife; someone to look good on his arm at parties.
      Carla: I think I'm going to be sick in this drawer.
      Brendan: Look, it was short and sweet.
      Carla: What was?
      Brendan: Six months we were together, if that. Quite touched he still remembers me.
      Carla: So did you and he… have…?
      Brendan: Oh, good God, no! A co-production deal? His lawyers would have eaten me alive.

    • Carla: How you can just glibly say it's a trick. How could it be a trick, when it was right beneath her all the time? Answers to five questions she hadn't even asked yet.
      Jonathan: Yes, I'm sorry. It's much more likely that the ghost of Justin Mallory foretold the future from the bottom of the sea and then sent her a message in a bottle that could only be located by a psychic gypsy woman.

    • Adam: Jonathan. I don't think you've met my new personal security advisor.
      Jonathan [ astonished at the diminutive bodyguard ]: You've got to be jo… sef Chelyabinski! How do you do?
      Josef: Hey, I know who I am. What's your story? Back off, okay, till I give you clearance to approach.
      Jonathan: I beg your pardon?
      Josef [ showing his gun ]: You heard me. Hit the brickwork. Come on spread out. That goes for Little Miss Muffet as well. [ to a group of tourists ] Yeah, what you losers looking at? It's not an eye test, granny. Come on, let's keep it moving!
      (Josef shoots two bullets into the air.)

    • Carla [ of Jonathan ]: He's fine. Quite fine.
      Brendan: Good-oh.
      Carla: Brendan, I sometimes wonder whether you…
      Brendan: Hmm?
      Carla: Well, whether it ever quite sank in, you know, that I was quite attracted to Jonathan at one time. I mean I never actually lowered the little drawbridge as my mum would say, but we had our moments.
      Brendan: Hey, you can stop worrying.
      Carla: I can?
      Brendan: Life is full of lost liaisons – and when are we ever masters of our own hearts?
      Carla: Well, that's right. We've got too much trust in each other to feel guilty about something so stupid. I mean the fact that I'm still friendly with an old boyfriend…
      Brendan: Or that I was married to a man.
      Carla: …happens. My God, it's hardly a reason to… What did you just say?

    • Jonathan [ to Adam ]: Yes, bringing you back to the real world for a second. We've got a major crisis on our hands with the snake trick. To no-one's surprise, Health and Safety aren't too keen on the idea of us using a live python in the act as, in their view, "these creatures can be rather dangerous". Well, yes! That's sort of the point. What would they suggest? You perform a death-defying escape from the coils of a very large earthworm?

    • Josef (holding almost-empty bottle of whisky): I'm in total control of my faculties. [pause] (Falls over.)

    • Jonathan Creek: If I consume more than my own weight in pasta I tend to get a bit sluggish.

  • NOTES (3)

    • The DVD of this episode contains several deleted scenes which are very interesting and contain a whole subplot not exploited in the final version of the show. Carla and Brendan have been on holiday to see her sister in Western Africa, during which time Carla visits a witch doctor and receives some disturbing news about her love for a certain person with the initials J C. They also receive a gift of a stuffed chimpanzee, which is treated to a rather brutal rectal examination by Customs officers. Carla's worries about her 'reading' from the witch doctor are mirrored by the beliefs of Geraldine about having messages from the dead.

    • Music: Justin's favourite 78rpm is Petite Fleur by Sidney Bechet.

    • Jonathan has a letter from 'His friend in America'... Maddy!


    • Jonathan: A bit like Houdini of old.
      He is, of course, referring to Harry Houdini (born Ehrich Weiss) the famous magician and escapologist. However, the reference here is to one of Houdini's lesser known activities as a debunker of fake mediums and spiritualists - something Justin Mallory was also famous for.
      There is a second allusion in the mention of Houdini also, because in the story, Justin and Geraldine vow to have a secret word that they will try to convey to each other should one of them die, to prove the existence of a life after death. Houdini and his wife Bess also made a similar pact, with ten words chosen at random from a letter from Arthur Conan Doyle (lest fake spiritualists claim to have contacted him). For ten years after his death, Houdini's wife held a seance on the anniversary to try to contact his spirit. She never did.