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Category:    Home > Reviews > Mystery > British Telefilm > TV > Inspector Morse - The Infernal Serpent (6 Telefilm Set)

Inspector Morse The Infernal Serpent (BFS/6 telefilm set)


Picture: C Sound: C+ Extras: C Telefilms: B



In the late 1980s, early 1990s, Inspector Morse was the detective show to beat. Remarkably, only 33 telefilms were produced, but even revivals of Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes could not match what was the end of the line for a long tradition of such shows on British TV going back to the 1960s. BFS has issued a terrific six-DVD package of the telefilms dubbed The Infernal Serpent, named after one of the six shows contained within, among several sets now available on the market.


John Thaw became an international TV star as the famous Chief Inspector, riding around in his Jaguar XK-120 (a car previously associated with gangsters and highly collectible by fans in its long out-of-production Dinky Toys diecast edition) solving case after case. The shows are as follows from the beginning of 4th season as follows and its known guest stars:


1)     The Infernal Serpent Geoffrey Palmer, Barbara Leigh-Hunt and Tom Wilkinson

2)     The Sins Of The Father Lionel Jeffreys

3)     Driven To Distraction Patrick Malahide

4)     Masonic Mysteries Iain Cuthbertson

5)     Second Time Around Ann Bell

6)     Fat Chance Zoe Wanamaker


Colin Dexter also appears uncredited in some shows.


These shows avoided formula more often than their counterparts or imitators and that Thaw could carry the show among so much talent is amazing. There is something better rounded and better paced about these shows. The fact that they were hits makes total sense after you watch just a couple of them. There is real thinking and detective work involved that is palpable and best of all, it is not as talky (like the better Columbo shows) in a way that demands that viewers have more of an attention span than usual for recent Detective Fiction on TV. That is a great reason to catch Inspector Morse on DVD, especially if you never have seen it before.


The 1.33 x 1 image was shot in 16mm film with Panaflex 16 camera on Kodak film. These are PAL video masters converted to NTSC and the results are mixed. These have the older BFS logo on them, so we can chalk up part of the slight haziness to transfer age in this case. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has no Pro Logic surrounds, but sounds very good. All DVDs have text extras on Thaw, the cast (bio/filmographies) and even trivia. This is one of several mega sets BFS has issued, something fans will be happy to hear. Thaw went on to another hit in the genre with Kavanagh Q.C. (also out on DVD from BFS) and exceptional TV movies like Goodnight Mister Tom (all reviewed on this site). Thaw is no longer with us, but what a great legacy to leave.



- Nicholas Sheffo


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