Cole Moreton: Who killed Cluedo's Col Mustard?

It was Hasbro, in the boardroom, with a plan

Share
Related Topics

Thank you for coming. You may be wondering why you have all been called here, to the drawing room. I am afraid there has been a terrible murder. Colonel Mustard is dead.

Yes, madam, you may well gasp. The Colonel has received his last orders. And he is far from the sole victim, I am afraid. Mrs Peacock struts no more. Miss Scarlett's blood soaks the Persian carpet. Professor Plum is beyond reinvention. The Rev Green hasn't a prayer. And Mrs White, doyenne of the kitchen? Her goose is cooked.

For nearly 60 years, these characters have roamed the Hampshire mansion of one Dr Black, puzzling over who made toast of their host. They were all, frankly, suspect. Players of the board game Cluedo were given reason to believe it was one of the guests who had done for the doctor, with a revolver, a rope, a length of lead piping or a candlestick (by roasting his toes?).

Cluedo became a worldwide phenomenon, but the six suspects never changed. Until now. The game has been relaunched. Bang! The Colonel is out of action, replaced by a football pundit called Jack Mustard. Aaagh! The Professor has mutated into a "self-made video game designer billionaire" called Victor Plum. Oof! The vicar is now an unsaintly fixer and wide boy called Jacob Green. All the suspects have lost their titles and been given first names as well as new, funky occupations. Diane White is a former child star; Eleanor Peacock a vain social entrepreneur; Kasandra Scarlet (dropping a "t") a Hollywood leading lady.

Poor old Dr Black, meanwhile, remains slumped on the floor. And alongside him is the corpse of old England. Cluedo was originally created in the depths of war, in 1943, by a solicitor's clerk from Birmingham called Anthony Pratt. With his wife and parlour-gaming friends, Mr Pratt devised a setting and a list of characters that seemed quintessentially English: the clergyman, the retired officer, the inventor, the rosy-cheeked cook, the respectable wife and the slightly racy single gal.

It was nostalgic even then, an evocation of a genteel pre-war England in which people knew their place and all a policeman had to do was lay his hand on the murderer's shoulder. Hasbro says Cluedo has been remade to be "more in tune with modern society". So what do the changes tell us about the way we are? That footballers are more respected than war heroes. That video games are cooler than science. That age and experience count for little. Youth, beauty and money are what matter now.

And that we're all still as gullible as ever. Remember New Coke? Coca-Cola messed with a winning formula in 1985 and launched a sweeter taste to try to match the sales of rival Pepsi. There was outrage across America – so much so that only 77 days later the company reintroduced the original, rebranding it as Classic. Everyone was reminded how much they loved the original, which now felt special instead of tired, and soon it was outselling Pepsi. Which may have been the plan all along.

Hasbro says it has stopped sending out the old Cluedo. Asked if it will be relaunched, a spokesman laughs and says, "I don't know about that." But as we all know, in murder mysteries people often say the opposite of what they mean. Inspector, there is your answer: Col Mustard was killed by the money people, in the marketing department, with a plan. My advice? Don't wait for Cluedo Classic to come out in a year or so. Borrow granny's. Far better to die in England than Blingland.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Taking on Ukip requires a delicate balancing act for both main parties

Andrew Grice
Today is a bigger Shabbes than usual in the Jewish world because it has been chosen to launch the Shabbos Project  

Shabbes exerts a pull on all Jews, and today is bigger than ever

Howard Jacobson
Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker