Wycliffe

ITV3 presents this weekend special celebrating the notorious detective series Wycliffe. Jack Shepherd hand picks ten of his favourite episodes in Jack Shepherd: Wycliffe and Me, offering his personal insight in to the renowned character Detective Superintendent Charles Wycliffe, and discusses his reasons behind selecting each individual episode.

The first night sees Jack Shepherd introduce his first choice The Last Rites. He describes this as a favourite as it is ‘how it all began’. In this episode the Rev Jordan arrives at the village church and discovers the partially clothed body of Jessica Dobell, the church cleaner, spread-eagled below the cross. A satanic cult is thought to be behind the gruesome death, but Wycliffe believes responsibility lies elsewhere. There is an air of violent hatred in the village and not all of it directed towards the dead woman.

Jack introduces Charades next, a favourite because it shows the breaking down of the criminal. In this episode Wycliffe and his team investigate the death of a man found blasted by a shotgun at a Cornish holiday home. They discover evidence of ill-feeling between the dead man and his brother-in-law.

Total Loss is Jack’s third choice because it focuses on politics and policing. When a fishing boat goes down taking one of the crew with it, Kersey and Lane discover a fishing community that is struggling to survive under the strain of legislation, as well as a new competitive edge to their working relationship.

Jack chooses the fourth episode because it is the most action packed. On Account sees Wycliffe and Kersey exchange strong words as they investigate a disturbing case involving the contamination of jars of baby food in a local supermarket by a blackmailer. Meanwhile, the disciplinary enquiry into Wycliffe’s team continues to run its course.
Strangers is Jack’s fifth choice in this one-off season of Wycliffe. He describes this episode as having the darkest story line. Tragic events unfold after a wedding with a bizarre guest list: the bride and groom, who have only known each other for three weeks, advertised for guests to attend the ceremony in Penzance. Next day, one of the couple is found stabbed to death in their luxurious honeymoon hotel.

Jack introduces Old Times, New Crimes as his next favourite as it sees the personal and professional life of a policeman uncovered. In this episode Wycliffe is pursued by the press, under the spotlight of an internal investigation and, lacking support from his superiors, his problems multiply when an old case resurfaces, and DCC Stevens seems out to prove Wycliffe is no longer up to the job.

The seventh episode Jack picks is the Wycliffe Christmas Special of 1997, Dance of the Scorpions, a favourite because it features Wycliffe’s closest call. In this episode, Wycliffe clashes with his superiors over the way he’s handling a gruesome double murder case, after a building society manager and his wife are gunned down.

Standing Alone was directed by Jack Shepherd and for this reason is his next much-loved choice. This episode sees the wife of one of Kersey’s friends goes missing after an evening class and later her tutor is found murdered. Kersey’s relationship with Lane threatens to lead him into deep waters.

Jack introduces Feeding the Rat as his penultimate favourite top ten episode. Jack favours this episode as it focuses on the inside of a criminal mind. Wycliffe is recovered and back at work. A local climber is killed in a cliff fall, and an unreliable informant claims he was pushed. A re-enactment of the fatal climb only adds to the suspicions.

In the last episode of Jack Shepherd: Wycliffe and Me, we see Jack introduce Seen a Ghost. He describes the murder in this episode as very British. A dark family secret comes to light when a girl deliberately runs over a woman on a pedestrian crossing. Meanwhile the results of the internal investigation board are revealed.

Friday 21 March 2008 10:00pm – 12:20am on ITV3

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