Long before Benedict Cumberbatch hit our screens as Sherlock, the BBC had another big-coated man with long floppy hair solving impossible mysteries. Alan Davies was perfect as Jonathan Creek – a magician’s creative consultant, who reluctantly gets roped into solving mysteries by an investigative journalist (played by the brilliant Caroline Quentin). The series started in 1997 and has gone on to have 5 series and 6 specials.
We’ve pulled some Jonathan Creek trivia out of the hat…
1) Alan Davies’ duffle coat
Throughout the series, you rarely see Jonathan without his duffle coat. It’s as iconic as Sherlock’s deerstalker. But it actually wasn’t a choice from the wardrobe department. Alan Davies turned up wearing it on the first day of filming, and everybody agreed it suited the character, so it stayed.
2) Anthony Head had to leave to star in Buffy
Adam Klaus (the womanising magician who Jonathan works for) only appeared once in the first season. As any keen fan will remember, he was played by Anthony Head. And although the writers had intended to feature the character more, Anthony Head was whisked off to America to play Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
3) Rik Mayal and many others turned down the role
Although it’s hard to imagine anyone else filling that famous coat (since it was Alan Davies’ coat anyway), Davies was far from the first actor considered for the role. Young Ones and Bottom star Rik Mayal had to turn down the role due to theater commitments. He did have a couple of guest roles later on though. Nicholas Lyndhurst, Angus Deayton and Hugh Laurie were all also offered the role.
4) There was a clash with a real magician’s name
In the first draft of the script, Jonathan’s boss, Adam Klaus, was originally called Adam Faust. However, the BBC’s legal team soon had the writers change it, due to the fact that Adam Faust is the name of a real magician.
5) King’s Mill
The external shots of the windmill that Jonathan lives in are actually of King’s Mill in West Sussex. The public could visit the windmill and go inside right up until 2009. More recently, an owner applied for planning permission to convert the windmill into residential accommodation (probably so they could live their best Jonathan Creek life) but it was rejected.
6) Maddy was going to be Jonathan’s stepmother
When writer David Renwick was originally coming up with the concept for the series, the dynamic between Maddy and Jonathan was going to be very different. Instead of a will-they-won’t-they set up between two begrudging friends, Maddy was actually going to be Jonathan’s stepmother. The pair would investigate crimes in honour of Jonathan’s murdered father.
7) Jonathan Creek is named after a place
You might have thought that the name of the main character came from the imagination of David Renwick. However, it’s actually a real place in Kentucky. David and his wife were on holiday and drove through Jonathan Creek. Renwick took note of the name.
There you have it – some Jonathan Creek trivia you might not have known!