This vintage television series is almost as old as I am, and definitely not to be confused with the more recent short-lived US show by the same name from CSI creator Anthony Zuiker which had something of the same overall approach, albeit modernised and infused with reality show trappings. The original Whodunnit? is an altogether more homespun affair, and was created by comedian Lance Percival and comedy writer Jeremy Lloyd (Dad’s Army, ‘Allo ‘Allo). Each episode features a dramatised crime – usually a murder – after which a panel of celebrities tries to guess the identity of the perpetrator and as many tell-tale clues among the red herrings as they can find.
I watched this ITV show as a kid mainly because it was hosted by Jon Pertwee in his first post-Doctor Who gig, and it’s entirely possible that this programme along with Scooby-Doo! are the main reasons why I’ve been into crime procedurals and mystery stories ever since. However, Pertwee isn’t in charge for the seven stories contained in this DVD set, which include a pilot episode presided over by Shaw Taylor (presenter of Police 5, an early Crimewatch-type show) followed by all six shows from the full first series that followed a year later where actor Edward Woodward took over as presenter. His presence is why the barebones DVD of season 1 was among those included in a recent weekend flash sale held by distributors Network, which meant it was available for well under half the price Amazon were charging for the same item – and was why it was most definitely worth my picking up if only to see whether the golden haze of nostalgia could survive a face-to-face encounter with the brutal reality 40 years down the line. Read the rest of this entry »