The Wrestler's Tomb - Episode 1 - Jonathan Creek Podcast

The Wrestler’s Tomb – Episode 1

The Wrestler’s Tomb was the first episode of Jonathan Creek’s inaugural season and introduced audiences to Alan Davies in the title role, alongside Caroline Quentin as the show’s co-lead. In this podcast Gerry and Iain take a look at the plot, characters, actors and others involved in the creation of The Wrestler’s Tomb.



Besides Davies and Quentin’s protagonists, this episode featured a number of other important characters. Former Doctor Who Colin Baker appeared as the victim, Hedley Shale, with Saskia Mulder (now a leading agent at The Artists Partnership) as his killer, Francesca Boutron. There were important roles, too, for Anthony Head as Creek’s employer Adam Klaus, Sheila Gish as the abruptly widowed Serena Shale and Jane Hazelgrove as the victim’s lover Katrina Toplis.


Supporting the main cast were Lloyd McGuire as DS Davey, Mem Ferda as an engaging drunk, John Marquez as a frazzled supermarket manager whose tills have been taken to task by Jonathan’s mental arithmetic and Rebecca Charles as a swiftly-disposed-of love interest of Klaus early in the show.


Like all of the others to come, this episode was written by the show’s creator, David Renwick. The director was Marcus Mortimer in the first of his three Creek episodes behind the camera, while Susan Belbin produced the episode.


The Wrestler’s Tomb was released in 1997. It is 89 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.


33 thoughts to “The Wrestler’s Tomb – Episode 1”

  1. Looking forward to discussing the episode with all of you. What does everyone think of the series’ first outing?

  2. My alternative title for The Wrestler’s Tomb is “The Sixth Doctor Likes His Women A Bit On The Dowdy & Plump Side.” 😉

    But any way you cut it (in my humble opinion, of course), all of those paintings are just atrocious! However, I thoroughly enjoyed the overtly pretentious analysis of these paintings by the art curator in this episode’s opening sequence at the exhibition gallery. Overall, I wasn’t that impressed with any of the characters in this opening episode. The sole exception is Alan Davies as the wonderful Jonathan Creek. As with Lieutenant Columbo, I’d truly like to spend some time discussing world affairs and pretty much everything with Mr. Creek — in a pub somewhere in jolly old England! Be seeing you! 🙂

    P.S. — I’ll stop by sometime later after I re-watch this episode and then listen to today’s podcast. Right now I’m at work and my boss is telling me to get off of my @ss and do some work!

    1. As I previously mentioned, I really don’t like those Hedley Shale paintings at all. I define art as something I couldn’t do in my spare time — and that Shale scrawling on various canvases displayed in this episode is something I could easily imitate. But if one really wants to create works of art involving the female form, Alberto Vargas is definitely at the very top and in the pantheon of superb artists that truly inspire. [Yeah, I’m at work and on my lunch break and I’m bored]

  3. Anthony Head was in Taster’s Choice coffee adverts. Also his brother is Murray Head, famed for a 1980s one hit wonder song “One Night in Bangkok”.

    1. I *knew* it was a different brand! (Presumably owned by the same company?)

  4. Strong episode to start us off, it’ll be interesting to see how it develops as I’ve only really dipped in and out of the show before with big gaps in-between over the years.

    I fear the ‘love interest/partner’ is really just a device to get Jonathan to the crime scenes and suffers a bit as we move though the episodes, we shall see.

    You guys have a great style with the podcast, top trivia, good fun and well put together. Great choice for a podcast, looking forward to it. Thanks 🙂

    1. Thanks Ian. The personal relationships will certainly develop. It’s an interesting counter to a show like Columbo where nobody else really showed up more than twice except Dog.

      1. The advantage of watching Jonathan Creek again, in order, with the podcast for company, will be seeing Jonathan’s personal story develop. I think I’ve lost that overs the years watching a random episode focusing on the puzzle solving and just thinking ‘who’s that he’s with’ or ‘ where did the other one go’. His parents got a mention, and again I’m wondering if they will come into it. I’ll be patient and find out 🙂

        1. Aw I just love JC it’s the best. I can’t believe how many ppl watched it. I thought i was the only one!! Love these podcasts gives me something to look forward to. After years of watching them over and over again. Hope you enjoy listening too 🙂

    2. “I fear the ‘love interest/partner’ is really just a device to get Jonathan to the crime scenes and suffers a bit as we move though the episodes …”

      You’ve really said it, Ian! I just can’t stand Maddy and I shudder to think about a possible romantic coupling between her and Jonathan Creek! Sure, Jonathan has some personal issues, but there’s a warm and fuzzy side to him that I find endearing. However, whenever Maddy is onscreen with Jonathan, I really feel like smacking her a good one! MEOWRRR HISS!!! 🙁

  5. I decided to road trip to Largo’s Lair to catch up on the latest happenings and I ended up watching a few DVDs with my brother. Jonathan Creek was my first choice because the series’ premise intrigued me. While watching “The Wrestler’s Tomb,” I really admired Jonathan Creek’s ingenuity while designing various stage illusions and the fact that he was a bit of a loner and socially awkward. I also enjoyed that he was kind of a reluctant participant at first in Maddie’s investigation of the murder of Hedley Shale. Even with all of the clues that were presented as the show progressed, the mystery kept me guessing and I wasn’t able to figure it out before the resolution. So in summary, I liked the Jonathan Creek character and really enjoyed his crime investigation skills, which reminded me of Columbo, but with a fresh twist.

    That’s all I have for now. Being a wolverine I must eat every twenty minutes, so I’m off to the nearest ‘all you can eat’ buffet (I sure feel sorry for the owners). Bye for now!

  6. Doug in Edmonton, This show grew on me the more I watched. I can hardly put Columbo or Holmes in the category of lovable loser, but they’re all equal in the brains dept. As a comparable character, I would say Patrick Jane from The Mentalist. btw Iain, since my Oilers are out I guess I’ll pull for your Preds. 😉

    1. Hi Doug. Going to be tough for the Preds to dump the Ducks three years running, but we can hope!

  7. Thank you so much for this wonderful first Jonathan Creek Podcast episode, Gerry and Iain! To summarize this premiere episode in just two words, I’ll repeat what my father used to say from time to time: “Splendid, splendid.” I thoroughly enjoyed your detailed analysis and the trivia tidbits throughout this podcast. I also enjoyed Gerry taking the moral high ground whenever discussing Maddy’s unethical behavior while she attempted to obtain her investigative story at any cost. And your choices involving the various audio clips from The Wrestler’s Tomb were all superb!

    However, I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on the subject of the chemistry between the character of Maddy and Jonathan. While there is some kind of chemistry present between them, I personally find it to be utterly charmless and totally unconvincing. I find it very difficult to believe that Jonathan is that clueless as to how he comes across whenever he discusses Maddy’s supposed ‘romantic’ motivations and tactics in such a overly self-righteous and arrogant manner. I also fail to see how anyone could find Maddy’s personality at all attractive since she is so tactless and abrasive at almost every juncture.

    I truly wish that David Renwick had written Caroline Quentin’s Madeline Magellan character to be a strong, but warm woman who calls Jonathan out on his rude behavior and puts him firmly in his place — but with much more tact and maybe a twinkle in her eye. I would have liked to have seen Maddy be honest and up front about her feelings for Jonathan while having her make it clear to him that he needs to change his arrogant, overthinking ways concerning their potential romantic relationship. I feel that Maddy and Jonathan’s romantic ‘sparring’ should be: competitive, but friendly; slightly snarky, but flirtatious; perhaps a bit on the edgy side, but still warm; and most of all, make all of us in the viewing audience WANT them to eventually get together!

    But that’s just me. I’d much rather see Maddy wear Jonathan down while getting him in the right frame of mind and have her smooth out his rough and socially awkward edges. As it is for me now, I can’t stand either one of these characters whenever the narrative forces this ridiculously unconvincing ‘romantic’ element upon all of us viewers. I guess David Renwick found all of this to be terribly humorous when he chose to include it in this series, but I find it all terminally unfunny and a detriment to the Jonathan Creek series as a whole. The puzzle box mysteries are wonderful, but the ‘romance’ stuff and most of the humor is truly annoying to me. Be seeing you! 🙂

  8. Hello, Gerry and Iain! I really must congratulate you both on such an awesome debut episode of your Jonathan Creek Podcast! Both of you lads really knocked this one out of the park! Just to let you both know, I’ve finished with all of the Series One episodes. Overall, I enjoyed most of these shows, but I really didn’t like that one with all of the monkeys. Still, I’m looking forward to all of your future Jonathan Creek podcasts. Please keep up the good work, Gerry and Iain! Toodles! 🙂

  9. Well I think it’s great that we can have podcasts and talk amongst fellow fans so thank you Garry and iain. love Jonathan and Maddie think they work well together. This episode just touches the edges of the relationship they have and the uncertainty of saying or not saying how the other really feels about being dragged into solve the case. Maddie wants to validate she can do it and has done for years while Jonathan can’t help but point her in the right direction. Everyone will have different views but I think this was a good first episode. Jonathans comment at the end ‘well don’t ring me again if you need my help will you?’ suggests that he might want her to as he secretly enjoyed their time together.

    1. I think there’s definitely something drawing JC to Maddie at this stage!

    2. I think there’s definitely something drawing JC to Maddie at this stage!

  10. Also having watched every episode over and over. I enjoyed listening to the podcast and visualising the story as we went. Great for when on the move. Very much looking forward to next instalment. 👍

  11. Hello, Gerry and Iain! Fantastic first episode that has the missus and me looking forward to more. We’re late to the game and playing catch up before the third episode is due–want to watch and listen as each becomes available. As you may remember, we’re both JC fans and were hoping you might give JC a go. And while we both gave Sledgecast the old college try, we couldn’t stick with it, in spite of you providing the usual excellent production and chemistry. But we’re definitely in for this one. 🙂 I believe the conversation went along these lines:

    Dan: Huuuuunny, I’ve got a surprise for you.
    Paula: Oh yeah? What’s that?
    Dan: (Turns laptop with JC Podcast website to face her.)
    Paula: (Face lights up and grins.) Jonathan Creek? Oh, wow! So cool. Who’s doing it? …Wait–it’s not The Guys, is it? Is it THE GUYS?!
    Dan: It IS The Guys.
    Paula: Seriously?! It’s Gerry and Iain??!! (Face lights up considerably more, say from that of a 40 watt bulb to a 100 watt bulb, and grin gets bigger. Then SQUEALS in delight and dances out of the room, calling back…) Looks like we’ve got some watching and listening to do this weekend!

    At any rate, we both greatly enjoyed the re-watch (only been a couple of months since our last one, but we wanted to start things off right, so we pulled it out for a fresh viewing) and the podcast. Agree with the two of you: this is a nice introduction to characters with lots of focus on them and a mystery that supports but doesn’t eclipse getting to know the main characters.

    And can I just say I totally want to live in that windmill? I would settle for a similarly appointed lighthouse, too.

    Afraid I’m not a Doctor Who fan, or maybe it’s fair to say I’m a very casual fan–my first wife was a big classic fan (long before the new series were out) and I had a bit of exposure to Tom Baker and the like, but don’t recall seeing Colin Baker in the role. Although he seems familiar, I’m not aware of anything else I’ve seen him in and it might just be the fact I’ve seen him in this JC so many times that accounts for the familiarity.

    Same holds for many of this episode’s characters. Saskia Mulder has always seemed familiar, and I have seen The Descent, although I don’t remember her specifically from that. Sheila Gish is another familiar face, possibly I remember her from the Highlander films back in the day, or that Inspector Morse episode she was in. And Jane Hazelgrove is another familiar face. IMDB didn’t show me anything I remember seeing her in except a Lynley episode. Don’t remember her specifically in that, but we’ve got that whole series on DVD, so I’ll have to go back and give it a watch with her in mind. Lloyd McGuire is another familiar face, but it looks like I’ve seen him plenty of times: Rosemary and Thyme, Inspector Morse, Prime Suspect and Poirot are all staples at our house (sensing a theme, anyone?). I don’t believe I’ve seen Anthony Head in anything but this (oh, I take that back: I watched some Buffy and Merlin, though not religiously, and saw him there), and I know he was replaced pretty quickly but I enjoy the character regardless of who’s playing him. Quite a cad and someone we “love to hate” as the show goes along.

    The missus and I personally love the chemistry between Jonathan and Maddy and felt the show suffered when she left. I’m a person who tends to enjoy the beauty of someone like Caroline Quentin or Jane Hazelgrove over Saskia Mulder, so apparently I have something in common with dear departed Hedley. 🙂

    At any rate, top notch podcast–enjoyed the cast itself, as well as the show note links immensely.


    1. “Afraid I’m not a Doctor Who fan, or maybe it’s fair to say I’m a very casual fan–my first wife was a big classic fan (long before the new series were out) and I had a bit of exposure to Tom Baker and the like, but don’t recall seeing Colin Baker in the role.”

      Colin Baker was the sixth actor to portray ‘The Doctor’ on the Doctor Who series. Unfortunately, Colin Baker was forced by the producer to wear a ridiculous and outrageously garish outfit as The Doctor. Once you see this awful costume it will be seared into your memory cells and you will never forget it. To offset this neurological trauma, here is Colin Baker pictured with the very lovely Nicola Bryant (as Perpugilliam “Peri” Brown) —

  12. I may have been too quick to judge some sleuths as lovable losers. Jonathan Creek seems perfectly happy with his job. He’s a little shy and keeps getting lured away to use his ability for more important things. Something may have happened to Columbo’s wife that he can’t accept and lives his life as if she’s still there, although his wrinkles and habits belie him. At the core of Patrick Jane, his whole raison d’etre is to catch and kill the serial killer who’s victims include his wife and child. On the lighter side. Blackadder seems like a troubled soul who’s always scheming to get out out of a predicament only to step into another. Sledge Hammer is a happy go lucky guy. I don’t know what to say other than, in spite of him I do believe police should be armed.

    1. And since I brought up the subject of James Thurber, I hope that all of you don’t mind if I share this famous satirical fable written by James Thurber:

      The Unicorn in the Garden

      Once upon a sunny morning a man who sat in a breakfast nook looked up from his scrambled eggs to see a white unicorn with a golden horn quietly cropping the roses in the garden. The man went up to the bedroom where his wife was still asleep and woke her. “There’s a unicorn in the garden,” he said. “Eating roses.” She opened one unfriendly eye and looked at him.

      “The unicorn is a mythical beast,” she said, and turned her back on him. The man walked slowly downstairs and out into the garden. The unicorn was still there; now he was browsing among the tulips. “Here, unicorn,” said the man, and he pulled up a lily and gave it to him. The unicorn ate it gravely. With a high heart, because there was a unicorn in his garden, the man went upstairs and roused his wife again. “The unicorn,” he said,”ate a lily.” His wife sat up in bed and looked at him coldly. “You are a booby,” she said, “and I am going to have you put in the booby-hatch.”

      The man, who had never liked the words “booby” and “booby-hatch,” and who liked them even less on a shining morning when there was a unicorn in the garden, thought for a moment. “We’ll see about that,” he said. He walked over to the door. “He has a golden horn in the middle of his forehead,” he told her. Then he went back to the garden to watch the unicorn; but the unicorn had gone away. The man sat down among the roses and went to sleep.

      As soon as the husband had gone out of the house, the wife got up and dressed as fast as she could. She was very excited and there was a gloat in her eye. She telephoned the police and she telephoned a psychiatrist; she told them to hurry to her house and bring a strait-jacket. When the police and the psychiatrist arrived they sat down in chairs and looked at her, with great interest.

      “My husband,” she said, “saw a unicorn this morning.” The police looked at the psychiatrist and the psychiatrist looked at the police. “He told me it ate a lilly,” she said. The psychiatrist looked at the police and the police looked at the psychiatrist. “He told me it had a golden horn in the middle of its forehead,” she said. At a solemn signal from the psychiatrist, the police leaped from their chairs and seized the wife. They had a hard time subduing her, for she put up a terrific struggle, but they finally subdued her. Just as they got her into the strait-jacket, the husband came back into the house.

      “Did you tell your wife you saw a unicorn?” asked the police. “Of course not,” said the husband. “The unicorn is a mythical beast.” “That’s all I wanted to know,” said the psychiatrist. “Take her away. I’m sorry, sir, but your wife is as crazy as a jaybird.”

      So they took her away, cursing and screaming, and shut her up in an institution. The husband lived happily ever after.

      Moral: Don’t count your boobies until they are hatched.

  13. Greetings! I know this a late entry but just wanted to say that I really loved the Columbo podcast, & was thrilled Iain & Gerry decided on Jonathan Creek as part of the next line up. Thank you both for the time and effort you’ve put in and for all those thoroughly enjoyable podcasts. I was thrilled to learn Columbo was popular in the UK. Although Stephen Fry once called it the best tv show, so I figured it must have been shown over there. Glad about Blackadder too, although I don’t really like the first season of Blackadder, so I’ll listen to your fabulous podcasts, but I’ll wait for the second season to follow along with the shows. So woof!

    How I came to watch Jonathan Creek was because of Carolne Quentin. She is just perfect as Maddy, and I love her character for her adventurous spirit, creativity, toughness, bravado, and the vulnerability that still comes through. Thank goodness the writers didn’t turn her into the dreadful good-woman-by-his-side rubbish, instead she’s ambitious, resourceful and complex. I thought there was no need for the writers to put that garbage romance between the two, awful. After CQ left the show I still watched it because well–I’m a proud member of the frying pan contingency, and of course AbFab, so stuck with it for a bit. However I don’t think I saw all the episodes, and never got to see the specials — esp the most important one (frying pan contingency). I thought Alan Davies fit the role well, and I liked his character. So I’m looking forward to watching and listening along. Thanks again! ttfn…

    1. Thanks DianeEllen – glad to hear you’re enjoying the podcasts!

      If it helps, we agree about the first season of Blackadder, so we skipped it and started at Blackadder II.

      All the best. 🙂

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