Wednesday, 13 February 2013


Fantasy Bob shed a silent tear at the end of the last ever episode of Lewis which was screened earlier this week.  Not that he was a devoted fan of the series, but the occasional sighting of it was a comforting reminder of the glory that was Morse.  Perhaps it was the crosswords, perhaps it was the Wagner, perhaps the Oxford College locations but  for FB this was the best of all detective shows.  And Lewis was Morse without Morse and none the worse for that.  And Lewis will be missed because under his bluff Geordie exterior was a cricketer of some potential who had devoted his life to putting Oxford's many murderers behind bars.

Cricket is not often featured in detective shows and far less nowadays with forensic pathology the dominant genre.  But cricket was central to one of the finest episodes of Morse - Deceived by Flight was first screened in January 1989with a script by Anthony Minghella from an idea by Morse's creator Colin Dexter.  FB would like to think that the episode's cricket theme was Dexter's idea.

The plot revolves around an ex student cricketing team who visit Oxford each summer to relive old glories.  Some are old acquaintances of Morse himself and almost inevitably one of them is murdered.  As the plot wanders on through its idyllic locations, Lewis finds himself going undercover as a college porter and is eventually pressed on to play in the cricket team.  This he does with much modesty but earnestly hoping that Morse his boss will watch and be impressed.  At that stage in the life of the show Lewis felt he had to make special efforts to impress Morse.  There was also a running joke during this episode of Test Match Special coming onto Morse's Radio 3 just when he was hoping for some consoling classical music.

One of the most authentic looking cricket matches in TV drama happens during which Lewis is run out for 1 by the prima donna batsman, takes a fine catch and bowls to take a wicket.  But his over is interrupted by the discovery of another corpse in the pavilion and the outcome of the game is left in doubt as Morse springs into action.

Kevin Whately, playing Lewis, looked like he had played cricket before - unlike many actors who are pressed into similar roles.

Just one reason why Morse is much missed and now Lewis is.

For the nostalgic among FB's worldwide readership, here is a link to the full episode.  Lewis cricketing skills are on display at around 1hr 02 Batting  1hr 07 (fielding) and 1.08 bowling.


  1. Kevin Whately has given age as his reason for relinquishing the role of Lewis - he feels he is now too old to play a credible police detective. It may be a reflection on our own advancing years but he still looks young enough to me and certainly considerably younger than John Thaw in his later years. However Oxford may breathe a sigh of relief at the demise of the series, given the unusually high murder rate ascribed to the city, although it was always fun trying to identify individual colleges and those institutions will no doubt miss the location fee income.
    Many thanks to FB for posting the cricketing episode. Dead bodies in the pavilion? - that would never happen at Grange loan.

  2. Many thanks - indeed dead bodies in Grange Loan's pavilion have been missing so far inspite of the many who have claimed to have laughed themselves to death on witnessing FB's efforts at the crease.