The Nine Tailors (1974– )
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Episode #1.2 

After a car accident in the snow, Wimsey and Bunter are put up by the local country vicar on New Year's Eve, Wimsey stands in for an ailing bell ringer.



(novel), (adaptation)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Donald Eccles ...
Elizabeth Bradley ...
Mrs. Venables
Geoffrey Russell ...
Gail Harrison ...
Hilary Thorpe
Bill Gavin ...
Dr. Baines
Judith Fellows ...
Mrs. Gates
Will Thoday
Elizabeth Proud ...
Mary Thoday
David Jackson ...
Jim Thoday
Patrick Jordan ...
Kenneth Thornett ...
Supt. Blundell
Mrs. Tebbutt


After their car crashes in a snowbank, Wimsey and Bunter make it to a local pub and meet Reverend Venable, who agrees to put them up for the night at the vicarage, the same parish that was the scene of the emerald robbery twenty years earlier. Lord Peter discovers that in 1920 a decayed corpse was discovered clothed in the remnants of a convict's uniform, which was assumed to be Deacon, the disloyal butler. In order to repay the vicar's hospitality, Winsey agrees to replace an ailing bell-ringer on New Year's Eve. The next day Lord Peter and Bunter are back on the road and encounter an enigmatic traveler on the road. After Sir Henry Thorpe passes on the following Easter, gravediggers working to bury him with his recently deceased wife in the local churchyard discover a mysterious extra body in the grave. Written by

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Release Date:

20 April 1975 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


There are frequent references to the Spanish Flu outbreak, and several characters in the series contract it. However, the "Spanish Flu" epidemic took place in 1918-1919, while the events in The Nine Tailors took place in 1928 or 1929. The character "Deacon" spent 4+ years in prison before escaping, impersonating a soldier and being shipped to the Western Front in France (1918), then spent a further ten years incognito as a French farmer before returning to England in the major action of the story. This made the narrative time frame 1928 at minimum, and there was no Spanish Flu outbreak then. See more »


Lord Peter Wimsey: A beautiful case! Quite charming! I wouldn't have missed it for the world!
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Title Music
Written by Herbert Chappell
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User Reviews

A Confusing Chronology Explained
24 August 2014 | by See all my reviews

This is a most fascinating episode from Dorothy Sayers' "Lord Peter Wimsey" series and the second one produced for television with the wonderful Ian Carmichael, but understanding it requires piecing together its sometimes difficult and ambiguous chronology. In fact, an IMDb contributor correctly points out that terming the flu outbreak in this episode Spanish Flu is an anachronism as he sets the time frame as the late 1920s.

The 1918-1919 outbreak was one of the most horrific plagues ever, killing 40 to 80 million people worldwide. Although the 1918 pandemic is correctly termed Spanish Flu in Episode 1, by the end of 1919 it had mutated into a different, less virulent outbreak of influenza. The events of this episode and the two subsequent ones clearly occur in 1934, so having the characters use the term "Spanish Flu" adds to the already vague and hazy chronology.

This is logical as Dorothy Sayers' novel was published in 1934. Although no mention of that year is made in this chapter. it can clearly be extrapolated from the date given by the vicar, who says that the decomposed corpse dressed in prison garb and presumed to be Deacon was found in 1920, the year he and his wife moved in and two years after the real Deacon had killed a warder and escaped. Therefore, the disloyal butler had made good his jailbreak in 1918 after serving four years of his prison term.

That would date his conviction and jail term, as well as the robbery of the emerald necklace, back to 1914, four years earlier. That dovetails with the mention of Kaiser Wilhelm's "sabre rattling" at the wedding reception in Episode 1, and clearly refers to the German monarch's actions prior to the outbreak of hostilities on July 28, 1914.

During this episode, which takes place on New Year's Eve and Day and the subsequent Easter, it is mentioned several times that the robbery occurred twenty years earlier. If 20 is added to 1914, it adds up to 1934, the new year Sir Peter agrees to help bring in by tolling one of the churchbells as well as the year Sayers' mystery was first published.

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