Sunday, 4 February 2018

"I 'ave one question... 'oo dunnit?"

"I 'ave one question... 'oo dunnit?"

For Episode Eight we covered the 'Whodunnit?' episode 'Time To Dye' from series 4.

Set in a beauty salon/hairdressers, it features an extraordinary performance from Paul Darrow. In fact, he's playing it almost exactly like Peter Falk's Columbo; he doesn't quite get around to saying "Just one more thing, sir..." but it's a close-run thing...

The victim, Lady Penelope (no, not that one!) is killed during a botched robbery and bears a startling resemblance to Janice from 'The Muppets'.

One of the things I love about 'Whodunnit?' is the range of guest stars that appear both in the filmed playlets and on the panel in the studio.

Though I will admit to my heart sinking a little if Rodney Bewes or Richard O'Sullivan are on the panel, as can both be a little crude. And I find them uncomfortable to watch.

In one episode, the actors playing the suspects are dying from a poison one by one, even during the subsequent questioning process, which annoys Honor Blackman as no-one ever survives long enough to answer her!

In another episode, the odd pairing of Arthur Mullard and Kingsley Amis feature. They are positioned at either end of the panel, as obviously if they touch it would be like matter and anti-matter clashing. Arthur Mullard does not appear to be taking it as seriously as Kingsley Amis, who asks lots of art related questions to actors from the playlet who he assumes must be art experts. We think he is either confused or he thinks they have actually done some research, instead of just turning up and acting.

Edward Woodward is your host for series 1, but was either unavailable or was possibly ousted by Jon Pertwee for the next series. Jon, who enjoys himself very much, comes up with a weird arms-upraised 'W' gesture to close the episodes, which sticks in the mind.

From the start, the studio audience are also involved and can win a prize, which is either a special 'Whodunnit?' magnifying glass or something from the set.  In a couple of the series one of the panel is the winner of a 'TV TImes' competition and they do pick the correct answer quite a few times.

One of the more unusal episodes is 'Future Imperfect' from series 4 which (surprise, surprise!) is set in the future and features Bernard Horsfall in a very strange costume giving it his all.

The last series was recently released on DVD by Network and contains possibly the oddest run of episodes over the whole 6 series, almost as if they knew it was their last throw of the dice. Lance Percival plays a cut price Inspector Clouseau and Kate O'Mara plays a pirate with the suspicious name of 'Treasure Chest'. Ahem...

I can watch episodes of 'Whodunnit?' over and over again , even if I know who the villain is. It's a very addictive series and we'd say add it to your collection at the next opportunity.

(By Lisa Parker)

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