Inspector Morse (1987–2000)
7 user 1 critic

The Wolvercote Tongue 

During an exclusive tour an elderly woman dies suddenly and the priceless piece of Medieval jewellery she was going to donate to a local museum vanishes.


Alastair Reid


Julian Mitchell (screenplay), Colin Dexter (story)




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
John Thaw ... Chief Inspector Morse
Kevin Whately ... Detective Sergeant Lewis
Simon Callow ... Theodore Kemp
Kenneth Cranham ... Cedric Downes
Roberta Taylor ... Sheila Williams
Peter Woodthorpe ... Max
Robert Arden ... Eddie Poindexter
Christine Norden ... Laura Poindexter
Bill Reimbold Bill Reimbold ... Howard Brown
Helena Stevens Helena Stevens ... Shirley Brown
John Bloomfield ... Phil Aldrich
Mildred Shay Mildred Shay ... Janet Roscoe
Jane Bertish Jane Bertish ... Marion Kemp
Christine Kavanagh Christine Kavanagh ... Lucy Downes
Cherith Mellor Cherith Mellor ... Fiona Hall


Morse and Lewis investigate the death of Laura Poindexter, an American tourist who is part of an exclusive tour group visiting Oxford. Missing from her personal effects is her jewelry, including the Wolvercote Tongue which she was going to donate to the Ashmolean Museum. The pathologist determines that she died of natural causes, but Morse feels there's something not quite right. The mystery deepens when Theodore Kemp, the Ashmolean's expert on the Wolvercote Tongue, is found dead and Mrs. Poindexter's husband goes missing. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery







Release Date:

25 December 1987 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


Both Colin Dexter and Julian Mitchell are seen, deep in discussion with a third man, sitting at a table behind John Thaw and Kevin Whately in the bar of the Randolph Hotel. The bar is now (last checked in 2019) known as "The Morse Bar". See more »


There are two doors; an outer door which opens into the hallway and an inner door which opens into the room. Both doors can been seen clearly when Max is leaving the room and Lewis holds the door for him. See more »


[first lines]
Sheila Williams: This street's called St. Giles and there's been a fair here every September since the Middle Ages. The whole road is blocked for days.
Shirley Brown: Well, how do people get around?
Sheila Williams: They walk.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The character name Shirley Brown and the actress Helena Stevens were the wrong way round in the credits. See more »


Referenced in Endeavour: Trove (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

A first class outing for Morse and Lewis.
29 January 2018 | by Sleepin_DragonSee all my reviews

It's very difficult to say an episode of Morse is one of the best, kind of like saying a ruby is nicer then an emerald, they're all fabulous, but The Wolvercote Tongue is a seriously good watch. One of the early offerings, so now Morse and Lewis are at their all time best, the dynamic between the pair is a joy to watch, a superb duo.

It's a cracking story, very intriguing, but it's the beautifully drawn and realised characters that make the episode, the likes of Kenneth Cranham, Simon Callow and Roberta Taylor are all wonderful, but each time I watch it I am bowled over by Peter Woodthorpe in this one, Max is in stupendous form here, extremely funny, but the way he cuts Morse to the quick is a joy. The group of Americans are terrific, headlined by the infuriating Mrs Roscoe, you can't help wondering why she wasn't first on the killers list, a cracking performance again.

A good musical score, wonderful scenery as always, in fairness they'd never fail to make Oxford look stunning. Overall The Wolvercote Tongue is a first class episode from one of the best TV series of all time.

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