Jonathan Creek

Season 1 Episode 1

The Wrestler's Tomb

Aired Friday 9:00 PM May 10, 1997 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
35 votes

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Episode Summary

The Wrestler's Tomb
Investigative crime writer Maddy Magellan joins forces with quirky magic expert Jonathan Creek to investigate when a painter, called Hedley Shale, is murdered in suspicious circumstances. However the way in which he was murdered doesn't quite add up.

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  • The case against Creek begins...

    The opening episode lays the basic groundwork for a Creek mystery: the murders generally appear to have been committed by perpetrators whose motivation is paper-thin, and/or with a modus operandi that stands a less than 10 per cent chance of success. In later episodes it will often be completely impossible for that murder to be committed in the way Creek claims.

    It is clear that all the murders in this series are committed by Creek himself, as a ploy to establish himself as a great amateur detective, using as his muse the unwitting Maddy (who later disappears in mysterious circumstances).moreless
  • A great introduction, not only to Maddy & Jonathan, but to the writing of David Renwick. Preposterous plot, but great fun.

    An artist is shot after a bedroom romp with a would-be supermodel. All clues point to a similar spate of house break ins, but nothing is what it seems in Jonathan Creek.

    We're introduced to the wonderfully selfish and go-getting Maddy Magellan, played brilliantly by Caroline Quentin. She's an investigative journalist and not averse to bending the rules to get her story. Having hacked into supermodel's answering machine, she follows her to a magic show and so we meet Jonathan Creek, 'trick' designer for 'magician' and super egotist Adam Klaus, played with relish by Anthony Head (with nary a hint of the Buffy librarian).

    I also have to put in a good word for the late Sheila Gish as the artist's wife. No spring chicken but she just exudes sexuality, and she plays a great b*tch.

    The plot is funny and extraordinary - far fetched definitely, but infinitely plausible too. The interplay between the characters is great and the little touches of daftness keep you watching. Alan Davies is just right as the 'geeky' genius and he and Quentin are a brilliant couple.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

    • During the 'Psycho' illusion, as Adam Klaus is stabbing the woman in the shower, the shadow of his victim can be clearly seen stepping down into what is presumably a trick space under the apparatus, which sort of ruins the routine.

    • Jonathan & Madeline are in a restaurant for lunch;
      Jonathan says he can't watch people eating raw onions - then the long shot shows raw onion rings on his plate.

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Maddy [on the telephone] : Hello? Superintendent? I'm researching a book about bungled police prosecutions over the la… Sorry? Well it's in connection with a Mrs Maureen Harker, who I understand rather tragically hanged herself last week while in police custody with some thick copper wire. I was wondering, to be honest, where she might have got hold of a… [ sound of 'phone hanging up ] …of a thick copper possibly.

    • Maddy [ taking a call from her publisher ]: If it's more bad news, Barry, I don't want to know.
      Barry: 10,000 returns in Australia, Mad, I'm sorry.
      Maddy: 10,000! What do they do? Print them on boomerangs?

    • Francesca: So you er… create all these fantastic illusions for Adam Klaus. So you must know all the secrets.
      Jonathan: Well I've learned to keep my mouth shut. Ever since I told one of his girlfriends he had a hairpiece. She thought I said 'herpes'. Tried to circumcise him with a tin opener.

    • Hedley Shale: I just want you to get round here and make me bark like a sea lion.

  • NOTES (4)

    • Jonathan Creek is actually a real place in Kentucky, by the Kentucky Lake next to Aurora in the USA. David Renwick and his wife drove through it whilst on holiday, and he stored the name away for future reference.

    • Maddy's fourth floor flat in season one was also the block of flats used in the series Crime Traveller.

    • The windmill, home to Jonathan Creek, is actually Shipley Windmill, which is around 8 miles south west of Horsham in West Sussex. They use it for both the interior and exterior shots - the interior being specially dressed for the episodes. The windmill itself is open to the public at certain times.

    • The magician Adam Klaus was originally to be called Adam Faust, until the production team discovered there was a real magician out there with that name.


    • Poster: Maskelyne
      Another one on Jonathan's wall and a hero of his. John Nevil Maskelyne (1839 – 1917) was a descendant of the Astronomer Royal, and teamed up with George Alfred Cooke to present a unique entertainment of magic. They presented their shows at the Egyptian Hall Piccadilly from 1873 until 1904, and transformed the art of conjuring into something more dramatic and special.

    • Poster: David Devant
      Another one of Jonathan's heroes, David Devant (1868 – 1941) was a British magician and film exhibitor. He introduced the theatrograph (a kind of film projector) into magic programmes, and was part of the Maskelyne & Cooke company. He was the author of several manuals on conjuring. One of his acts was filmed by famous cinema pioneer George Melies (D. Devant, prestidigitation).

    • Poster: Robert-Houdin
      Another on Jonathan's wall. Jean-Eugene Robert-Houdin (1805 – 1871) was a French magician. He was the first to use electricity in his magic, and one of the first to perform the 'bullet catch', supposedly catching a bullet between his teeth. He is often credited as being 'the father of modern magic'. Before him, magicians usually performed in marketplaces and at fairs. He performed in the theatre and at private parties, and chose to wear formal clothes.

    • Poster: Servais Le Roy
      Jonathan refers to his poster collection. Jean Henri Servais Le Roy (1865 – 1953) was a great entertainer and inventor of magic. He was the first to perform his 'Asrah' illusion, in which a woman is levitated and then vanishes in mid-air. He was born in Belgium and toured the world with his wife, Talma and a comedian named Bosco. His wife was known for her own magic tricks with coins and together they were billed as the Monarchs of Magic.