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
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 »
I have to agree that "Oliver's Travels" was one of the most enjoyable and cleaver mysteries I have seen on my PBS channel, I only regret two things. One that here in American we saw a cut down version of the series with several scenes deleted for time. And Second NO ONE HAS THOUGHT TO PUT THIS WONDERFUL SERIES OUT IN FULL ON VIDEO TAPE, EITHER HERE OR IN THE UNITED KINGDOM. I have a taped copy of the series and I have to admit my family has played it so often, that it is starting to wear out. For those who enjoyed this series, there is at least an Audio tape of the Alan Bates reading the story. Which also includes the often referred to but never told joke of "The Horse that like to sit on eggs" that Bates speaks about in the series. The tape "Oliver's Travels" is produced by Hodder Headline Audio Books, London ISBN # 1-85998-045-7
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