Jonathan Creek Review: The Judas Tree

April 2, 2010 by  
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JONATHAN CREEK: Sunday 4th April, BBC1, 8pm ALERT ME

A disappearing cottage, a dodgy old bloke in a field and an Egyptian curse: JC really has got his work cut out this Easter. Rather than giving the hairy sleuth a new series, the BBC seem to have crammed a series worth of mystery into a one-off special. But weโ€™re not complaining, we love a bit of Creek.

Whodunnits are so common on TV these days that even EastEnders has been getting in on the act, yet what Alan Davies and David Renwick have always given us is something much tastier โ€“ a howthehelldunnit.

When Miss Summerton (who has already experienced some pretty weird goings on in her life) takes a job at a stately home, she is warned by the housekeeper not to get too close to the charming lord of the manor. Apparently a young Egyptian maid did in the 1800s and ended up putting a curse on him after he spurned her. Unsurprisingly he mysteriously snuffed it pretty quick.

But more about that later, in the present day young Miss Summerton bumps into Jonathan Creek at the bus stop and starts pouring her heart out about that, the man in the field all those years ago and the fact that someone is now sending death threats to her current employer. Are you still with us?

As you can imagine, a right tangle ensues and soon a distant-looking Creek and his latest assistant Sheridan Smith (fresh from a highly acclaimed shift in the West End) are getting their teeth into a plot which is outlandishly diverse. You might even have to check this one out again on the iPlayer just to get your bearings.

Ironically enough, The Judas Tree branches in several different diretions at once, but fans of the show will be pleased to see that the writer hasn’t lost his macabre knack of storytelling. Indeed when the delightfully pitched Adam Klaus starts having his obligatory PR nightmare, it feels just like old times.

Victor Meldrew says:

I do not beLIEVE it!

Kelly says:

I am assuming that they got out of the cellar from the policeman who was searching for the blonde girl.. as he walked past the cellar there was a very faint “help help” so we assume they were heard? there is no other mention in the episode of them being found…

also the other thing i thought of .. would the torch batteries lasted the time that they were in the cellar? i dont recall how long they were down there but Jonathon read a large chunk of that book so did his female companion..

I have no idea about injecting the tree though.. i looked on the internet which said about insects… maybe the tree was planted in memory of his brother and .. i have no idea.. ( this website mentions that its nutrients are suitable for the Judas tree in small writing on left hand side top of first page….


Laura says:


How did they get out of the cellar? There was a policeman searching for the blonde girl who heard them shouting as he walked past.
What was the tree syringing all about? They were keeping it alive.
What was the judas tree to do with his brother? They planted the tree in his memory on the spot he was found.

Paul Carter says:

I thought Johno Creek – The What’s It Tree was fan bloody-tastic. The link between the house falling over to the injecting of the tree was seamless. Oh, and when Creeky bumped into Joeys old pall (who happened to be a murdering innocent) at a buss stop I just thought to myself – ‘this is the cutting edge performance art’. No wonder it’s work of a BAFTA winning writer!


Marco says:

I have just watched The Judas Tree episode and cannot believe the cheap skate version I have just watched – this is nowhere near the usual quality.
Far too many questions unanswered:
How did they get out of the cellar?
What was the tree syringing all about?
What was the judas tree to do with his brother?
How did the vicar die?
How did the old housekeeper text the couple without them wondering whose phone it came from? And what did the text say – ‘Please come and syringe the tree urgently’?

Totally confused and cheated X

Bob H says:

Did my DVD miss something. I recorded it so I could watch it later but could not find the bit where JC and and his chic got out of the celler. Can you help.
Great show though.

Lin A says:

A fantastic Jonathan Creek. His side chick was incredibly annoying though, Sheridan is a terrible actress, her accent is awful and her character was very irritating. Bring back the fat bird!

The story was fantastic, I hope the joker who the one dimensional house fell on survived once the girl gave him a pasting in the field.

True to say the young blonde looked nothing like the older blonde, but dare I say it, appearances do change over time, and the dispatched can did state 1988. The blonde was terribly attractive, what a fantastic body, if she was 17 back in 1988 she would be 39 now although she did look younger.

The wife of the writer was gorgeous and a fantastically devoted wife for the efforts she put in to avenge the killers of her husband’s brother.

Questions have been asked about the handwriting, but I would argue the husband wife combo were extremely clever, they were capable of copying her handwriting, and she was merely accused of writing the note there was no need for her to plead her innocence as the note was trivial in piecing the duo’s conspiracy against the blonde.

I loved the part where the old lady mentioned that ‘your sins are never forgotten’ and I must totally agree, somewhere along the line they will come back to haunt you in the future, and rightly so!

The two girls were wanting a joy ride, but I do feel the asian girl was a silly girl killing the chap, totally unnecessary and being killed is fair. For the blonde, spending the rest of her life in prison may be a bit too harsh, especially as she had only helped cover up the murder, but I would say she should have come clean a very long time ago and ‘given up’ her friend to the police.

I can only assume the syringe in to the tree is a method used by tree experts to keep a tree nourished, and the husband wife duo were intellectually capable to know these methods, only the ignorant few may question this technique being used in the show.

A brilliant show, I was a bit disappointed in the quick manner Creek was able to seduce the blonde, especially since he is terrible with ladies and only just got it up with the fat bird when they tried having a sexual relationship in one of the past shows, I would probably like to think a chap as eccentric as Creek would be an asexual and this would suit his awkward character.

The show kept me gripped, I was very impressed, and pleased Creek did not even attempt to pass of the real theory to the police as it would be very incredible. The girl must pay for her past sins albeit a life sentence is harsh, that is life. My greatest disappointment was that Sheridan or indeed her character did not die after falling down those stairs in the ceramic pot.

8/10 Brilliantly entertaining.

Dominic says:

Jonathan Creek was brilliant and i enjoyed it loads!

If the girl didn’t write the letters how was the writing in her handwriting?

I don’t understand the injecting tree thing either… but oh well, i loved the episode and I hope there’s another one coming up!

great acting from Davies aswell ๐Ÿ™‚

ali says:

I’ve always loved Jonathan Creek, but this was the worst ever episode, the best ones are the simple but completely baffling ones, this was just confusing. Yes why inject the tree? How did they get the same clothes for the one they killed? how did the pair know what the girls had done in the first place? did paul mcgann’s character kill the vicar at the end? where was the evidence to prosecute the blonde girl in the first place? wtf was the significance of the cat? How did they get that stupid painting to be exactly the same as one painted 150 years ago but with an almost photographic representation of her face? Why did the young emily look nothing like the older one? How did a scream shatter glass?

Chris Henderson says:

I found this creek very disapointing. To many loose ends and not enough back story. Why did these 2 seemingly nice girls murder someone trying to help them lost in a country lane. yeah and what was the injecting of the tree all about. I also dont beleive Jonathan creek would let the vigalanties off the hook without going to the police when he finallly found out the truth.
All way to wishhy washy and all over the place.

Mary Jeffries says:

Write up states; 2 you may have to check this one out on the i player afterwards to get your bearings”. Get your bearings, there were no bloody compass points. Tosh.

annie says:

why were they injecting the tree?????