IMDb > "Shroud for a Nightingale" (1984)

"Shroud for a Nightingale" (1984) More at IMDbPro »TV mini-series 1984-

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Release Date:
9 March 1984 (UK) See more »
When a student nurse with a penchant for petty blackmail is lethally poisoned during a routine procedure... See more »
User Reviews:
"Shroud" ain't for my crowd See more (5 total) »


 (Series Cast Summary - 22 of 27)
Roy Marsden ... Adam Dalgliesh (5 episodes, 1984)

Joss Ackland ... Stephen Courtney-Briggs, surgeon (5 episodes, 1984)
Sheila Allen ... Matron Mary Taylor (5 episodes, 1984)
Liz Fraser ... Sister Mavis Gearing (5 episodes, 1984)
Thelma Whiteley ... Sister Ethel Brumfett (5 episodes, 1984)
Andree Evans ... Sister Hilda Rolfe (5 episodes, 1984)
John Vine ... DS John Massingham (5 episodes, 1984)
Rosalyn Elvin ... Madeleine Goodall (5 episodes, 1984)

Natalie Ogle ... Christine Dakers (5 episodes, 1984)
Judi Maynard ... Julia Pardoe (5 episodes, 1984)
Sarah Thomas ... Maureen Burt (5 episodes, 1984)
Marcia Tucker ... Shirley Dalston (5 episodes, 1984)
John Pennington ... Len Morris (4 episodes, 1984)
Nicholas Coppin ... Sergeant McPherson (4 episodes, 1984)
Annette Robertson ... Morag Smith (4 episodes, 1984)
Graham Faulkner ... Staff Nurse (4 episodes, 1984)
Margaret Whiting ... Delia Dettinger (3 episodes, 1984)
Eleanor David ... Jo Fallon (3 episodes, 1984)
Forbes Collins ... Chief Superintendent Bailey (3 episodes, 1984)
Robin Kermode ... Arnold Dowson (3 episodes, 1984)
Lennard Pearce ... Mr. Coles (3 episodes, 1984)

Ellen Thomas ... Staff Nurse (3 episodes, 1984)

Series Directed by
John Gorrie (5 episodes, 1984)
Series Writing credits
Robin Chapman (5 episodes, 1984)
P.D. James (5 episodes, 1984)

Series Produced by
John Rosenberg .... producer (5 episodes, 1984)
Series Original Music by
Richard Harvey (5 episodes, 1984)
Series Cinematography by
Geoff Greenleaf (unknown episodes)
Trevor Vaisey (unknown episodes)
Series Film Editing by
Kevin Waters (5 episodes, 1984)
Series Casting by
Jenia Reissar (5 episodes, 1984)
Series Production Design by
Jon Pusey (5 episodes, 1984)
Series Costume Design by
Gwenda Evans (5 episodes, 1984)
Series Makeup Department
Christine Penwarden .... makeup supervisor / makeup artist (5 episodes, 1984)
Series Production Management
Eddie Watts .... unit manager (5 episodes, 1984)
Ted Williams .... unit manager (5 episodes, 1984)
Series Art Department
William G. Fawcett .... production buyer (5 episodes, 1984)
Series Sound Department
Colin Lovewell .... sound (5 episodes, 1984)
Walter Sparrow .... sound (5 episodes, 1984)
Vic Thurston .... post production sound (4 episodes, 1984)
Series Camera and Electrical Department
Chris Brown .... lighting technician (5 episodes, 1984)
Philip S. Burne .... vision controller: location (5 episodes, 1984)
John Elphick .... vision controller: studio (5 episodes, 1984)
Geoff Greenleaf .... camera operator (5 episodes, 1984)
Peter Harvey .... vision controller: location (5 episodes, 1984)
Stan Thorpe .... lighting technician (5 episodes, 1984)
Trevor Vaisey .... camera operator (5 episodes, 1984)
Series Editorial Department
Mike Aston .... vision mixer (5 episodes, 1984)
John Bourne .... vision mixer (5 episodes, 1984)
Philip Bunn .... technical supervisor: post-production (5 episodes, 1984)
Tim Jeffes .... vision mixer (5 episodes, 1984)
Jill Shaw .... vision mixer (5 episodes, 1984)
Series Other crew
Christine Buck .... production assistant (5 episodes, 1984)
Alan Cordner .... location technical supervisor (5 episodes, 1984)
Walter G. Judd .... technical supervisor: studio (5 episodes, 1984)
Gerry Line-Parker .... floor manager (5 episodes, 1984)
Sally Montague .... production assistant (5 episodes, 1984)
Alethea Wigzell .... stage manager (5 episodes, 1984)
Peter Grant .... floor manager (3 episodes, 1984)
Tony George .... floor manager (2 episodes, 1984)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
UK:50 min (5 episodes)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Movie Connections:
Followed by "The Black Tower" (1985)See more »


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1 out of 12 people found the following review useful.
"Shroud" ain't for my crowd, 29 October 2010
Author: El Cine from Southeastern Massachusetts

Being 5 hrs. long, shot on "live" film stock resembling soap operas and taped plays, and having a cast of typically good British actors, a miniseries like "Shroud for a Nightingale" (SfaN) is certainly a unique and potentially very good viewing opportunity. SfaN falls far short of that potential, however.

Since adaptations of mystery novels often suffer from short running times and insufficient consideration of clues, you would think a 5-hr. miniseries format would be ideal for letting the viewer try to solve the mystery herself. Thus it's disappointing when, after investing so much time, SfaN gives up on the "fair play" solve-it-yourself aspect, choosing simply to reveal the answer in a way that no viewer could discover. (And it's not the only Dalgliesh miniseries to do this.) Strangely, SfaN goes on and on for 5 hours but never seems to think about clues any more than a 90 minute movie.

In fact, SfaN fails to maintain coherence or resolve some basic questions, even as it wastes time on redundant scenes. A character's mysterious knowledge of a victim's private financial details is treated as suspicious, then never explained. Certain innocent suspects act excessively secretive for no apparent reason. Meanwhile, events that could be conveyed in seconds are given minute upon minute of dead time. In the end, there's no reason this program should be 5 hrs. long.

One "mystery" is why sidekick Massingham, typically so accommodating to his bossy boss, suddenly spazzes out a couple of times. Goodall remarks that fellow nursing student Fallon is old compared to most students, yet Goodall looks at least 40. Weirdest of all is the scene of a drunk dancing to music from "The Godfather!" This precedes a sudden, absurd turn to bedroom farce, only enjoyable because it takes the priggish Dalgliesh down a notch.

Speaking of whom...

Lots of film fans understandably chafe at formulaic Hollywood conventions, like the insistence on making main characters "likable." However, doing the exact opposite, and having a main character who is completely unlikable, simply isn't viable for a 5-hr. miniseries. SfaN does this, and it's a serious detriment. Dalgliesh here may be the most insufferable, imperious detective protagonist I've seen. He acts like his greatest aspiration is to treat suspects as disrespectfully, even cruelly, as possible. Most of the time, my reaction was, "(insert vulgar phrase) this guy"...and to think, "Why should I spend my time with this character?"

He's associated with another series problem. Reactionary moralizing seems to surface now and then in the Dalgliesh shows I've seen. It feels just as weak and outdated as the appearance of Dalgliesh himself -- balding, mustachioed, forever in 3-piece suits and blue tie.

SfaN is not as bad as another Dalgliesh series, in which Dalgliesh went up to a sexually active bachelorette who was unconnected with the crimes, and basically blamed her promiscuity as partly responsible for what happened. Still, when one or two promiscuous people in SfaN question if Dalgliesh disapproves of their activity, he only stares at them stonily for a moment, then asks something else.

In a series that gives the soapbox to no less than three anti-abortion advocates, it would've been nice to also have at least one person stand up for a prochoice outlook. Predictably, but still annoyingly, no less than a minister persuades the pregnant woman to change her mind and not have her abortion. A holy roller proves to be a hypocritical blackmailer, but the series quickly brushes her off as an anomaly from a tiny radical sect. This time around, lesbians lose out on the sympathetic portrayal they got in "Death of an Expert Witness" -- here, they're all misandrist, crooked, and/or dirty old women.

The one challenge to this reactionary tinge is a scenario made from the blackest of irony -- a character prays for God's guidance to a good life, literally at the same time s/he unwittingly finishes his/her murderer's job with his/her own two hands. The angriest of atheists would avoid writing such a scene as too contrived!

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