“Mandrake” Review

This is perfection – charming, eccentric, absurd yet oddly plausible – this could be the blueprint for the very best season 4 episodes. The plot is diabolical yet simple – doctors provide arsenic to would-be murderers (one client is described wittily as “an aspiring widow”), certify the death, and the body is then interred in a Cornish graveyard where the arsenic in the soil will disguise the true cause of death.

John Le Mesurier is perfect – reluctantly enslaved to his greed, there’s a hint of conscience and a touch of self pity, but insufficient confidence to get out whilst he’s ahead.

Cathy has a terrific fight with a cockney gravedigger (this, I think, is the fight where Honour Blackman knocked out her opponent during filming).

Steed gets to do some flirting in a cracker shop – and Steed’s chat-up has become far more charming than the crude sexism in the earlier series.

About Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more...

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