I had an interesting trip down memory lane the other day when I discovered that the Hallmark TV channel is showing episodes from "Morse", the tv version of one of my favourite fictional detectives. As these programmes were made in the 80s and 90s, I only watched them haphazardly (maybe only when in holiday in Britain), and so I only barely remember them.
The episode which I saw was entitled "Flight of deception", and was written by Anthony Minghella, fan of Van der Graaf Generator, and later to be the director of "The talented Mr Ripley", amongst other films. I'm sad to say that it was fairly forgettable, with only the negative points about it being retained in my memory. Was Morse always so irritable? The programme also featured a laughable cricket match; obviously none of the actors had ever played cricket, because their moves were ludicrous. The 'whodunit' part of the story became fairly clear early on, which took away whatever was left of the story's enjoyment. There was one turn in the plot which completely surprised me, but that's all. One actor in the episode, whose name I didn't catch, played a baddie; a few years later he too was to play the part of a tv police inspector (whose name also escapes my memory).
I see that there are episodes from various seasons being shown during the week (some of which are repeats), so it will be interesting to see whether I fell on a poor example of the series or a representative. Of course, it may well be that my viewing perspective has changed in the twenty years since these programmes were made.
The Morse books were something else. Whilst certain aspects were very good, there were other aspects which became very annoying (mainly attributes of the author, having little to do with the story). At times there was a very patronising tone which became too much at time. Maybe just as well that the author caused his eponymous detective to die, because I'm not too sure that I would have continued buying the books. As there are 33 television episodes compared to 11 books, it is obvious that failures in the screen version can't be blamed on the books.