Jonathan Creek made an impressive return to BBC One last night with overnight ratings of 33m/29.2%, over 4m more than anything else at 9pm last night. The return of the amateur detective wasn’t without its critics though, with many taking to twitter to complain that the series had “lost its magic.”
Still annoyed about last night’s Jonathan Creek. I’ll get over it one day.
— Anna Scott (@annascottjots) March 1, 2014
After that disappointment think I’ll go back to my old boxset & watch the decent episodes again! #jonathancreek
— vickster51 (@vickster51) February 28, 2014
Had been looking forward to the new Jonathan creek for ages but was disappointed! How can the audience know the mystery before JC!
— Lauren Thain (@LaurenCThain) March 1, 2014
The main criticism came as writer David Renwick took the unusual step to show how the victim was killed. Surely Renwick hasn’t forgotten that the joy in Creek is being utterly bamboozled until Jonathan cleverly unravels the mystery. The unveiling of how the victim met her sticky end robbed viewers of that treat. That’s not to say the episode was completely devoid of action, but sadly nothing seem to lead anywhere and as the episode rolled on I too (a huge Jonathan Creek fan from the very start), started to slightly lose faith in the idea of resurrecting a series I had once loved.
The introduction of Sarah Alexander as Creek’s wife Polly was a nice touch, but I realised quite quickly that Creek works best when Alan Davies has a sidekick like Caroline Quentin or Sheridan Smith to bounce off of. I can just about cope with Creek not reaching for his beloved duffel coat, but without a sidekick, and a proper mind boggling mystery this felt really flat.
If I were to find some positives it would be David Renwick’s not so subtle jibe at Steven Moffat by introducing a new character whose deductions were utterly ridiculous. You could almost hear Renwick screaming “WE DID THIS FIRST!” Whilst, the Sherlock references were a funny touch, they used the character too often, meaning the joke wore thin quickly. I think the main flaw here is that Alan Davies didn’t have enough to do, any mystery elements on offer weren’t strong enough to fully invest ourselves in and it all felt a little old fashioned. I said recently that I wasn’t sure if Jonathan Creek would feel dated and out of place in 2014, but I do believe with the right story he prove a worthy adversary for our contemporary sleuths, the problem is this first story didn’t deliver that. Although the overnight ratings prove there is still a great deal of affection for Creek I worry this opener may have driven away even the most devoted of fans.
Jonathan Creek Continues Friday’s at 9.00pm on BBC ONE.