The Nine Tailors (1974)

TV Mini-Series  -  Mystery
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 199 users  
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The title refers to the nine strokes of a church bell to announce the death of a man. In this adaptation of Dorothy L. Sayers's intricate, nostalgic, and atmospheric novel of the same name,... See full summary »

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Title: The Nine Tailors (1974– )

The Nine Tailors (1974– ) on IMDb 7.9/10

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Series cast summary:
Ian Carmichael ...
 Lord Peter Wimsey (4 episodes, 1974)
Glyn Houston ...
 Bunter (4 episodes, 1974)
Elizabeth Proud ...
 Mary Thoday / ... (4 episodes, 1974)
Patrick Jordan ...
 Cranton (4 episodes, 1974)
Gail Harrison ...
 Hilary Thorpe (4 episodes, 1974)
Donald Eccles ...
 Venables (3 episodes, 1974)
Elizabeth Bradley ...
 Mrs. Venables (3 episodes, 1974)
Neil McCarthy ...
 Will Thoday (3 episodes, 1974)
Kenneth Thornett ...
 Supt. Blundell (3 episodes, 1974)
David Jackson ...
 Jim Thoday (2 episodes, 1974)
Dan Meaden ...
 Ezra Wilderspin (2 episodes, 1974)
Herbert Ramskill ...
 Hezekiah Lavender (2 episodes, 1974)
Peter Tuddenham ...
 Jack Godfrey (2 episodes, 1974)
Charles Lamb ...
 Harry Gotobed (2 episodes, 1974)
John Duttine ...
 Walter Pratt (2 episodes, 1974)


The title refers to the nine strokes of a church bell to announce the death of a man. In this adaptation of Dorothy L. Sayers's intricate, nostalgic, and atmospheric novel of the same name, Lord Peter Wimsey, stranded in a New-Year's Eve snowstorm ca. 1930 in the fens of eastern England, becomes the guest of a local clergyman, an adept enthusiast of the esoteric, mathematical art of change-ringing the eight swinging bells of his magnificent medieval church. Wimsey is pressed into service to assist with a heroic and historic all-night peal to welcome the new year. A few months later the vicar, having learned of Wimsey's reputation as a sleuth, summons him back to the village to investigate a mysterious body newly discovered in the churchyard, an unknown man secretly buried, who had apparently died about the time of Wimsey's first visit. A much earlier jewel robbery, details of church architecture, unclaimed letters from a French farm, and peculiarities of canon law are only a few of ... Written by Paul Emmons <>

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Plot Keywords:

church | bell | new year | grave | flood | See more »







Release Date:

13 April 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Nine Tailors  »

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[Lord Peter guesses that two suspects have run away to get married in secret]
Lord Peter Wimsey: Ah yes, I thought he had a nice easy number. May I use your telephone?
Supt. Blundell: Help yourself.
Lord Peter Wimsey: [into telephone] Canterbury 123, please. If you wouldn't mind, it's urgent.
[to Superintendent Blundell]
Lord Peter Wimsey: In their flight, you know there is one thing the Thodays certainly overlooked. We have an ally, Blundell. A haughty prelate. An arbitrary prince. To wit, the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Supt. Blundell: Oh yes, and Mr. Mussolini and the Emperor of ...
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Follows Clouds of Witness (1972) See more »

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User Reviews

Dorothy made an extensive study of campanology, but she made one egregious error. Can you spot it?
19 January 2005 | by (Jacksonville, Oregon, USA) – See all my reviews

Some rate THE NINE TAILORS as Dorothy's best "Lord Peter" novel. It is certainly very good, but I like GAUDY NIGHT for that encomium. Well, no matter, this BBC film may be the best in Ian Carmichael's 5 film series. It has quite a bit going for it, including giving one a chance to hear what the cacophony of change ringing really sounds like. There's some nice camera glimpses of the "Fen Country" of eastern England, spotted with a generous selection of local characters excellently portrayed by BBC's cast. The introductory material is good of itself. In the novel, most of what we actually see here is related in conversations and interrogations. BBC shows the action taking place, with the result that Ian Carmichael plays young "Lord Peter" as a subaltern about to ship over the channel to take part in The Great War, and the adult 15 or so years later, solving a mystery that had its roots in the wedding party he attended in 1914! We also get to see "Sgt. Bunter" rescuing "Major Wimsey" after he was buried when an artillery shell scored a direct hit on his dugout. Later, we see "Bunter" applying for the job as his lordship's valet, and getting it. It's a very effective adaptation.

Dorothy's tale as it unfolds in THE NINE TAILORS is a complicated one, which it is almost impossible to discuss without giving away plot elements important to beating "Lord Peter" to solving the mystery. I will say nothing beyond that it reminds me of many of Ross MacDonald's "Archer" novels, all of which involved events of usually many years previous to the current mystery, and which were responsible in good part for those current events.

Oh, what was Dorothy's egregious error relating to change ringing? Well, the rules are strict that the ringers who start the peal must complete it without any help or relief. Otherwise,the "record" cannot be certified. Vicar "Venables" stood in for several ringers during their 9 hour peal.

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