Jack in the Box - Episode 2 - Jonathan Creek Podcast

Jack in the Box – Episode 2

Jack in the Box was the second episode of Jonathan Creek’s first season and featured a classic ‘locked room’ mystery with a twist. Or was it a flush? In this podcast Gerry and Iain take a look at a seemingly impossible challenge for Jonathan.



The ‘Jack’ referred to in the episode’s title was, of course, Jack Holiday, portrayed by John Bluthal. His wife, Kirsten (Maureen O’Brien), refuses to accept his death was the seemingly apparent suicide his killer made it out to be and accepts Jonathan’s help in solving the puzzle. Meanwhile, Maddy celebrates overturning a miscarriage of justice having helped set Alan Rokesmith (Robin Soans) free after many years in prison.


There were important supporting appearances for June Watson as Alan’s sister Rachel, Bernard Kay as Kirsten and Jack’s butler-cum-assistant Oliver and Colin Stinton as Scott Resiner, a producer at the film company who produced Jack’s final TV advert.


This episode was also written by the show’s creator, David Renwick. The director was again Marcus Mortimer in the second of his three Creek episodes behind the camera, while Susan Belbin continued as producer.


Jack in the Box was released in 1997. It is 59 minutes long and originally aired on the BBC. An abridged edition can be viewed on Netflix in the UK and Ireland and the original cuts are available on DVD in other countries, including a comprehensive box set of all the episodes up until Christmas 2016, released by the BBC.


22 thoughts to “Jack in the Box – Episode 2”

  1. Jack In The Box (or as I call this episode “The Bomb Shelter Without A Lavatory: A Sad Tale Of Murder And Deceit”) is a bit of a letdown, in my opinion, after the rather strong The Wrestler’s Tomb Jonathan Creek mystery. But part of my problem with Jack In The Box is that I figured out that Rokesmith was actually the murderer and had walled himself up within the bomb shelter after killing Holiday — all well before the show’s denouement. This episode was just under an hour and even though it moved quickly, there wasn’t that much time to develop all of the characters this time around. However, I felt that the humor worked much better in this episode than in the previous adventure. So overall, I’d give Jack In The Box a solid ‘B’ for a grade. Be seeing you! 🙂

    1. Jack… the arthritic comedian with underworld connections who murders his first wife, continues with the slapstick comedy, builds a nuclear bunker, married a second time, has a butler, lives in a beautiful cliff top house, does banana adverts and keep a glass cabinet with his dropping trousers in. You’re going to need more than an hour to develop that character 🙂

      1. Well, Ian — now that you’ve listed all of those ridiculous story elements involving the Jack Holiday character, I do believe that we’re going to need a miniseries type of production to help us wrap our heads around all of this crazy stuff.

        But about that nuclear bunker: it’s almost like the producers started with that seaside locale and the idea of this bomb shelter in the cliff side and then worked the story in from there. That whole nuclear paranoia surrounding Jack’s concern over the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s just didn’t convince me at all. However, this might be my Yankee bias via the historic lens of the ‘Red Scare’ in the USA during the 1950s and early 1960s.

        I don’t know. I just felt that there were too many desperate plot elements that were frantically searching for a single narrative to fall into and the one-hour format here made it a bit of a mess — but an entertaining one nonetheless. However, how could Jack instill so much loyalty in his manservant that said manservant would stab a melon with a knife and place it in a stranger’s hotel bed along with a threatening note? The mind boggles!

        1. Well, if I ever decide to get a manservant, and that’s a big ‘if’, then one of my interview questions will certainly be ‘If I asked you to stab a melon with a knife, add a threatening note, break into a persons room and leave it on a pillow, would you do it? 🙂

  2. Not only was William Hartnell the first Doctor Who, but he was also in the first Carry On movie: “Carry On Sergeant”. He played the sergeant of the title.

    As for the episode, I liked it overall. I agree it’s not as good as The Wrestler’s Tomb, but I like it.

  3. I thought that this Jonathan Creek episode was a really weird one. But I just knew that Jack Holiday was the true guilty party once I learned that he accepted a child’s marriage proposal and then followed through with it 15 years later. It was at this point that I cried out, “Guilty, guilty, guilty! That old creep is guilty!”

    On the flip side, good ol’ Jonathan Creek provided some laugh out loud moments. Unfortunately, I must confess that I laughed myself silly when poor Jonathan slipped on that dog poop. I mean, how completely embarrassing for him, huh? People — never, never, NEVER experiment with slipping on a banana peel whenever dog droppings are close by …. along with a freakin’ cliff side right next to the flippin’ sea!!!

  4. A locked room murder who do we call to solve this one?? Yay!!! Jonathan is back! He definitely shows little interest whilst also being interested. It’s a strange skill he has but works well. Slipping on the dog shit also cracked me up! This episode also made me analyse toilet positions more then I ever did before lol!

  5. Can I just say I love your accents! I’ve listened to jack in the box podcast twice now lol. I have ordered my world of Jonathan creek book. Can’t wait till it arrives!! You guys are awesome! Keep up the good work! Also are you planning podcast for every episode of JC or just doing a few??

      1. Aw brilliant!! ​ I’ll look forward to listening to them all then. Interested to see peoples views on the newer episodes of JC.

        1. Me too. Personally, as with many shows, I think the later episodes have lost some of the magic (no pun intended) the earlier ones carried. But nearly everything I’ve watched has kept me entertained and has at least been on an even keel, if not above average. We’ll see if I agree with myself as we go back through them in order. It’s been awhile since I went through the later ones….

          1. I personally got rather upset they made so many changes in the newer episodes. I agree the stories are ok and still keep a good pace and make you think a lot. I did enjoy watching but in a different light I guess. Still think Caroline Quentin was the best for him.

          2. Agreed. None of the other partners have equaled Caroline Quentin, in my book. And to see poor Jonathan married, living and working in the city in the later shows–tragic. (Hated to see the windmill go.)

          3. Yes!! I totally felt the same it was like they took all the fundimental bits out of it. For years I’ve been meaning to visit the windmill but after some research they don’t open it to the public now can only see it down the lane. Very sad. I understand these things move on with the times but still felt a feeling of loss!

          4. Yep. I totally want to live in that windmill. I’d trade out all of Jonathan Creek’s Magician wall art/paraphernalia for classic genre movie art/paraphernalia, and be all set! 🙂

    1. Definitely planning to go through them all, Kiara. Glad you’re enjoying them!

  6. The missus and I enjoyed this second outing of Jonathan’s, as well. It did feel a bit more brisk in its pacing–I hadn’t realized it had a shorter running time than the first one. I personally missed seeing a little Adam Klaus this time around.

    My thoughts on this one:

    New Favorite Job Title: “Chauffer-Slash-Helper-Man”
    New Favorite Phrase: “Meanwhile, back at the windmill….”

    Favorite quote (this time around):
    Maddie: You know, Jack Holiday shot himself last week.
    Jonathan: Yeah, it’s the only thing he ever did that made me laugh.
    Maddie: The poor man’s dead!
    Jonathan: Well, I don’t suppose that’ll stop him overacting.

    Enjoyed the elastic and gun theory, and agree it wouldn’t surpise me to find it was a deliberate nod to the Bye Bye Columbo case.

    I absolutely did NOT know what “dricket?” means. Obviously something to do with being wet, I’m guessing? Please enlighten me (and tell me what the word actually is: “dricket” is the best the missus and I could come up with from listening).

    Along the same lines: “The young slapper pops it.” Slapper refers to the prostitute, right? Not sure what “pop” refers to. Runs away?

    Hah! I’ve actually seen the movie Trog. Not sure how proud I am of that….

    And you were asking during the podcast why Rokesmith would choose fudge for the letters and that maybe he did it to tip his sister off? But it was Jack writing the letters, right? So maybe Jack came up with the fudge thing arbitrarily and Rokesmith had nothing to do with it.

    Toying with the idea of joking about parking a bike between a woman’s buttocks, but I can’t quite bring myself to do it. It WAS a great line in the episode, though.

    Great work as always, guys!

    Oh, thought the link for Chauffer-Slash-Helper-Man was quite interesting, and from the last two links on Renwick, seems he’s a bit of a down-in-the-mouth fellow. Tends to see the dark versus the light of things. Interesting (but not uncommon) from someone so gifted at writing comedy.


    1. Thanks again Salty, love your contribution as always! I think the word we were using was ‘drookit’. It just means soaking wet.

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