Kindly magistrate Gerald Farquharson throws a party in Midsomer Morchard to celebrate local boy John Kinsella winning the world middle-weight title. Guests include local solicitor Giles Braithwaite, his nosy secretary Iris and Grace, tarty wife of Kinsella's abrasive manager Frank Bishop. Gerald, the Bishops - separately - and Sebastian, who is not Gerald's son but the product of his late wife's affair, all want to see Giles urgently but he is murdered and his office ransacked. Sebastian's wife Camilla is pregnant but Sebastian is not the father. In fact he is gay and had had an affair with Giles, for which Iris is blackmailing him. At a reconstruction of a Victorian prize fight in Gerald's gardens, Bishop is also murdered, having sacked John's trainer and Grace's lover Teddy, who, with Grace, was planning to take over John's management behind Frank's back. Iris is the third and last victim of a killer who has gambled rather too much on the outcome of the noble art. Written by
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Jane Wymark and Kevin McNally appeared together in the original Poldark as Morwenna Chenoweth and Drake Carne. See more »
When Libby Morris talks about going to 'the U S of A' she mentions Moose Jaw, Wyoming. The city of Moose Jaw is located in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. There is no 'Moose Jaw, Wyoming'. See more »
[Grace apologises for getting carried away in the heat of the moment when she was watching the boxing match a few days before]
Sorry for squeezing your hand like that.
[Iris looks uncomprehending]
During the fight the other night. You must think I'm awful.
Is that a smile? Or just your lips sliding off your teeth?
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'Midsomer Murders' and the dark and not so noble side of boxing
As has been said by me a number of times, 'Midsomer Murders' is one of my most watched and most re-watched shows. It is nowhere near as good now and the Tom Barnaby-era wasn't alien to average or less episodes, but when it was on form or at its best boy was it good.
"The Noble Art" is somewhere in the middle as far as Season 13 goes. It is a let-down after "Master Class", which blew me away and was the best 'Midsomer Murders' episode since "The House in the Woods". However, it is infinitely better than "The Made-to-Measure Murders" and especially "Blood on the Saddle" (almost anything is better than that episode this said).
Starting with what "The Noble Art" does well, the production values as always are just great, the idyllic look of it contrasting very well with the story's grimness, and quaint and atmospheric photography. The music fits perfectly, with some lush jauntiness and sometimes an ominous quality, and the theme tune one of the most memorable and instantly recognisable of the genre.
Writing provokes a lot of thought mostly, and has a healthy balance of the humorous and the darkly twisted. Love the chemistry between Barnaby and Jones, the incorporation of boxing is entertaining and there are some nice twists and turns along the way and intriguing subplots.
John Nettles and Jason Hughes are both superb, individually and together (their chemistry, and the chemistry with Daniel Casey and John Hopkins before Hughes, being a huge part of their episodes' charm). The supporting cast are good, especially Kevin McNally.
Little if anything in "The Noble Art" is done terribly, but it is one of those episodes that executes its components with competence but all those components have been done in previous 'Midsomer Murders' episodes better and with more impact. Competent but a bit safe and bland.
Very little is ridiculous (though there is the odd part that's a bit of a stretch agreed) and the story is mostly involving, plausible and easy to follow, but also too easy to solve and resolved slightly on the pat side in the episode. The killer is one suspected somewhat too early, and while the motives are far easier to swallow than most middle-period 'Midsomer Murders' episodes they're a little too restrained too.
Overall, decent and watchable episode but one of the forgettable ones. 6/10 Bethany Cox
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