After his job is terminated, a humanities professor and puzzle addict joins forces with a woman PC to travel the country while solving a cold case murder.






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Series cast summary:
 Oliver (5 episodes, 1995)
 WPC Diane Priest (5 episodes, 1995)
 Baxter (4 episodes, 1995)
Morgan Jones ...
 Michael Priest (3 episodes, 1995)


Oliver (we never learn whether this is his first name or his surname) is a middle-aged lecturer in Comparative Religion, with a passion for trivia, crosswords and anagrams, and a very strange taste in jokes. Having been made redundant from the University of the Rhondda Valley, and with no family ties, he decides to set off on a quest to find "Aristotle", a setter of crosswords. He soon teams up with WPC Diane Priest, who has just been suspended from the police force because she has been asking too many questions about a local murder that seems to implicate the Chief Constable. Pursued by Baxter ("the man with no name"), Oliver and Diane visit Shrewsbury, North Yorkshire, Durham, Hadrian's Wall and Kirkleven (in the Scottish highlands) on their journey to find "Aristotle" in the Orkney Isles. Along the way they uncover a major scandal centred around a property company. The laconic humour and the laid-back style are similar in many ways to The Beiderbecke Affair (1985), The Beiderbecke ... Written by Martin Underwood

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

3 October 1996 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


(5 episodes)


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Did You Know?


When Alan Plater wrote the novel "Oliver's Travels" on which this TV series is based, he dedicated it to his friend and fellow resident of Hull, Tom Courtenay. When the BBC decided to dramatise the novel for TV, Plater hoped that Courtenay would play Oliver, and was not pleased either with the casting of Alan Bates or with the way that Giles Foster directed the series. See more »


Diane Priest: Just go away... forever.
Oliver: If I do, you'll never find out.
Diane Priest: What?
Oliver: The very funny thing I know about sex.
See more »

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User Reviews

superb acting
24 December 1999 | by (cape cod) – See all my reviews

If you want to see what skilled acting is all about, watch these two masters

  • Alan Bates and Sinead Cusack - turn what could otherwise be a dull and

British story in something highly enjoyable almost solely on the strength of their personalities and acting skills. (A equally skilled director helps as well.) Imagine two young American actors in these roles, and you will see what I mean.

This series - which appeared in the US as a PBS Mystery presentation - which in other hands could have been a mess, is one of the most enjoyable things I've seen on television in a long time. I hope it will be shown again.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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