While Peter is on a governmental mission, Harriet attends a reunion at Oxford and is recruited to find the author of a rash of vicious poison pen letters there.




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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Sheila Burrell ...
Dr. Baring
Carol MacReady ...
Miss Martin
Dilys Hamlett ...
Miss Devine
Miss Burrows
Miss Lydgate
Charmian May ...
Miss Hillyard
Auriol Smith ...
Miss Barton
Charlotte West-Oram ...
Miss Pyke
Nina Edwards ...
Miss Chilperic
Desmond McNamara ...
Eileen Bell ...
Carrie Sadler
Annie Wilson


Harriet Vane attends a reunion at her Oxford College and is asked by the Warden to investigate a series of poison pen notes that several members of staff have received. She takes up residence in the college and receives one of these notes herself. In the cloistered environment of the school, there is any number of possible suspects. In the absence of a motive however, it is difficult to determine if the culprit is a member of staff, a student or even if it is a man or a woman. When Lord Peter Wimsey visits the college - as much to see Harriet as for anything else - he agrees to assist in the investigation. What he finds is that one member of the staff had reason to seek vengeance. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

13 May 1987 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


The poem that Harriet quotes from in conversation with the Dean is The World Is Too Much With Us by William Wordsworth. See more »


Lord Peter Wimsey: This bowtie is a mess.
Bunter: Yes, too perfect. Quite like a made-up affair.
[Wimsey pulls off the tie and begins to re-tie it]
Bunter: Ah.
Lord Peter Wimsey: Bunter, what does "ah" mean?
Bunter: I have observed, my lord, that on the few occasions when our sangfroid slips, it means we have a rendezvous with Miss Vane.
Lord Peter Wimsey: Bunter, you have a wonderful gift for impudence.
Bunter: Thank you, my lord.
[Wimsey finishes re-tying]
Lord Peter Wimsey: Bunter, how's that?
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Pop Goes the Weasel
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User Reviews

Gaudy Night spoiled
9 February 2003 | by (Muinnesota) – See all my reviews

It is difficult to give an unbiased opinion of this show, for as an adaptation of Gaudy Night, it stinks. There is none of the subtlety or wit of Dorothy Sayers' dialog, and much of the plot is a shambles. Does it make good tv if one hasn't read the book - I couldn't say.

Well, what are the problems? First, the opening. We hear voices upraised in anger, the sound of a shot, then someone's coffin lowered into the ground. There's no establishing time period, no nothing. It could be the day before the events that are to come, for all we know. No grieving people shown over the coffin (from a suitable distance so we wouldn't recognize anyone), nothing to make us care who this person might have been, or what it has got to do with the rest of the story.

Then there's the bloopers. The Warden of the college wants to ask Harriet Vane to come investigate the happenings in college, so she gathers together all the dons and asks their opinion! And yet a little later on Harriet is asking questions and pretending that she's merely there to help Miss Lydgate with her research. (In the book, it is to the students alone that she pretends to be other than what she is).

Wimsey as played by Edward Petherbridge is quite good, if a little old for the part (in closeups at least) and he's given a quite gratuitous scene on a train going into Germany. If they must give him more screen time, why not more screen time in Oxford?

The actress who played Harriet didn't catch my fancy, and she wasn't given much to do in investigating the crimes. Sayers' dialog was replaced in most cases by bad dialog from the scriptwriter.

I'll check the other videos out from the library - thank goodness I didn't have to buy this one!

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

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