Letter from the editor: Appreciating a detective series


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The Independent Online

Do you have to be a certain age to appreciate detective series?

Are they like opera, or wine tasting, in that you can only see the point once you’re over, erm, 25? I’m pondering this following news that ITV are to make a prequel to the Inspector Morse series.

I am addicted to most detective series, especially Morse. I also love Lewis, the spin-off from Morse, starring a craggier Kevin Whately and the wonderfully cerebral Laurence Fox. And Midsomer Murders (the John Nettles version).

But while I find the late John Thaw’s curmudgeonly detective the very definition of thinking woman’s crumpet, my 17-year-old daughter would rather have her fingernails pulled out than watch anything that features an “old” man whose interests include solving crossword puzzles and classical music.

Perhaps I just like my detectives to be implausibly clever and sexy. Indeed, I never watched Poirot, or A Touch of Frost. I regard both David Suchet and David Jason as fine actors, but – sorry, guys – I just can’t imagine sitting down and discussing Wagner or moral philosophy with them over a glass of Fleurie. (Sadly, that is my idea of a romantic evening.)

Strangely, the same doesn’t apply to women detectives. I’m a huge fan of Miss Marple (the Joan Hickson version) and ITV’s Scott and Bailey had me hogging the sofa every Sunday evening this spring.

I’m hopeful my daughter may yet be convinced. She has shown a slight interest in Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes – thanks, I suspect, to his clothes which are rather dashing and stylish. Who knows? Perhaps the young Endeavour Morse will manage to seduce her to the dark side. In other words, ITV3.

Stefano Hatfield is away