Oliver (we never learn whether this is his first name or his surname) is a middle-aged lecturer in Comparative Religion, with a passion for trivia, crosswords and anagrams, and a very strange taste in jokes. Having been made redundant from the University of the Rhondda Valley, and with no family ties, he decides to set off on a quest to find "Aristotle", a setter of crosswords. He soon teams up with WPC Diane Priest, who has just been suspended from the police force because she has been asking too many questions about a local murder that seems to implicate the Chief Constable. Pursued by Baxter ("the man with no name"), Oliver and Diane visit Shrewsbury, North Yorkshire, Durham, Hadrian's Wall and Kirkleven (in the Scottish highlands) on their journey to find "Aristotle" in the Orkney Isles. Along the way they uncover a major scandal centred around a property company. The laconic humour and the laid-back style are similar in many ways to The Beiderbecke Affair (1985), The Beiderbecke ... Written by
When Alan Plater wrote the novel "Oliver's Travels" on which this TV series is based, he dedicated it to his friend and fellow resident of Hull, Tom Courtenay. When the BBC decided to dramatise the novel for TV, Plater hoped that Courtenay would play Oliver, and was not pleased either with the casting of Alan Bates or with the way that Giles Foster directed the series. See more »
When I first saw this on "Mystery" I was unsure I would like the show due to the fact that I had seen Alan Bates in only one other movie and really disliked his character. However, the miniseries proved to be quite lovely (it is really the only way to describe it). I am a fan of B-movies, horror and comedy and YET came away from this with a smile and a sigh of contentment. The interaction of the actors is seamless and highly professional. The movie is full of beautiful scenery and sweet nostalgia. I got my long-awaited copy of this in December but was disappointed to note that Diana Rigg's comments were absent from the DVD. I have other "Mystery" videos such as Ice House and Heat of the Sun (ok, that doesn't fit in with my purported preferred genres) both of which have the added information about the authors and the events related to the movie. Still, I heartily recommend this movie as a Saturday afternoon movie that leaves you with a smile and a brighter look on life. I also loved Mrs. Slokum (sp?) as the inn keeper.
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