During an exclusive tour an elderly woman dies suddenly and the priceless piece of Medieval jewelry she was going to donate to a local museum vanishes.



(screenplay), (story)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Theodore Kemp
Cedric Downes
Roberta Taylor ...
Sheila Williams
Peter Woodthorpe ...
Robert Arden ...
Eddie Poindexter
Christine Norden ...
Laura Poindexter
Bill Reimbold ...
Howard Brown
Helena Stevens ...
Shirley Brown
John Bloomfield ...
Phil Aldrich
Mildred Shay ...
Janet Roscoe
Jane Bertish ...
Marion Kemp
Christine Kavanagh ...
Lucy Downes
Cherith Mellor ...
Fiona Hall


Morse and Lewis investigate the death of Laura Poindexter, an American tourist who is part of an exclusive tour group visiting Oxford. Missing from her personal effects is her jewelry, including the Wolvercote Tongue which she was going to donate to the Ashmolean Museum. The pathologist determines that she died of natural causes, but Morse feels there's something not quite right. The mystery deepens when Theodore Kemp, the Ashmolean's expert on the Wolvercote Tongue, is found dead and Mrs. Poindexter's husband goes missing. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

25 December 1987 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


Colin Dexter based his full-length novel "The Jewel That Was Ours" on his storyline and Julian Mitchell's screenplay for this episode. See more »


When Morse speaks with Mr Brown in the museum, Mr Brown tells him that he saw Eddie in Didcot on a train to London at about 11:35, and that he captured it on his video camera. However when the video camera recording is shown it has a time of 14:01 on it. See more »


Chief Inspector Morse: I don't think, Lewis, I deduce. I only ever deduce.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The character name Shirley Brown and the actress Helena Stevens were the wrong way round in the credits. See more »


References Excalibur (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

A jewel episode to possibly the best crime drama series ever!
2 July 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Wolvercote Tongue is based on an idea by author of the Inspector Morse books Colin Dexter, and a few years after this episode first aired, a book was published entitled The Jewel That Was Ours. The book is certainly very good, though there is one chapter that is written as a letter, and because of the small print you can't read most of it. The episode The Wolvercote Tongue has a superb idea of an American woman dying suddenly whilst on a tour to Oxford, and the Wolvercote Tongue goes missing. The episode also has intriguing subplots like the murder of the museum owner, who is having an affair with the wife of one of the tour guides. It is carefully constructed, and while simply told, is held together by some strong acting, lovely camera-work showing the beauty of Oxford and a well-written script. As always, John Thaw is perfect as Morse, and I can't imagine anyone else playing the character. I loved the line "Lewis, never interrupt me when I am booking the opera", and I loved the exchange between the doctor and Morse when they're examining the victim in the hotel. Kevin Whately is his usual charming self, and there is some stellar support from Kenneth Cranham as Downes(though he looked exhausted), Roberta Taylor as Shiela and Simon Callow as Kemp. Not to mention a wonderful performance from Peter Woodthorpe as the pathologist Max, who brings a sense of humour to the proceedings. All in all, an excellent episode, with a 10/10. Bethany Cox.

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