Quick DVD Box Set Review – ‘Hetty Wainthropp Investigates’

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

For Christmas 2021, I gave my Mum the complete series of ‘Hetty Wainthropp Investigates’. This is a crime drama series, featuring Patricia Routledge as the title character. Many of you will know her for playing Hyacinth Bucket in ‘Keeping Up Appearances’. It was nice to see her in this TV drama series.

‘Hetty Wainthropp Investigates’ ran for four seasons from 1996 to 1998 on BBC One. The series was created by John Bowen and David Cook, based on the characters from the David Cook novel called ‘Missing Persons’. I haven’t come across the book, but I liked the atmosphere featured in the series.

Essentially, Hetty Wainthropp is a sprightly, intelligent pensioner who wakes on her 60th birthday and decides to become a private investigator. Armed with just her handbag and common sense, she proves she can outwit the professionals. Hetty is helped by her young assistant Geoffrey Shawcross.

I like that this series doesn’t deal much in murders like you would expect the ‘Miss Marple’ shows and ‘Grantchester’ to do. Instead, Hetty Wainthropp deals with ‘missing persons’ mysteries as well as robberies, bullying and such. It took a while to get into the series for me, but it got better later on.

Patricia Routledge stands out very well in the series. It’s so unusual to see her in a more serious role compared to when I saw her in a ‘Steptoe & Son’ episodes and in ‘Keeping Up Appearances’. She might not have lost the Hyacinth in her, but I like how serious she is when conducting crime cases. 🙂

It was also fun to see Patricia Routledge paired up with Dominic Monaghan who plays Geoffrey Shawcross, her assistant in crime cases and her lodger. Dominic Monaghan is well-known for playing Merry in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ film trilogy. This was something he appeared in before doing ‘LOTR’.

Part of me is amused to see Patricia Routledge and Dominic Monaghan together in a crime drama series like this and yet they work well with each other when solving crime cases. It was also nice to see how Dominic Monaghan’s character of Geoffrey gets to have his own journey in the crime series.

The series also features Derek Benfield as Hetty’s patient husband Robert. Derek Benfield has also been in the ‘Timeslip’ TV series, playing Frank Skinner. I like how his character develops from being sceptical of Hetty’s detective agency business to eventually liking it, as they manage to earn income.

There’s John Graham Davies who plays the local chief of police called DCI Adams. I like how Hetty’s relationship with DCI Adams works well when she receives police help from him. There’s Suzanne Maddock as Janet, a feisty young auto mechanic who becomes Geoffrey’s girlfriend in the TV series.

And there’s Frank Mills as Robert’s brother Frank in the series. Frank appears in episodes of Series 3 during Robert’s absence when he’s away in Australia. To be honest, I found Frank’s character annoying, as he tended to be a nuisance at times and he hampered Hetty and Geoffrey’s investigations.

As well as John Bowen and David Cook, the series also featured writers like Jeremy Paul, Brian Finch, Philip Martin (who did ‘Doctor Who’) and Peter Gibbs. There are also episodes directed by John Glenister, Robert Tronson, Roger Bamford, David Giles, Don Leaver, Jim Goddard and Michael Vardy.

The series did seem to end on a note as if it was going to continue. Maybe there was going to be a Series 5. Sadly it didn’t happen, which is a shame, as I enjoyed the progression of the characters and their relationships, especially between Hetty, Robert, Geoffrey and Janet, as they became a family. 🙂

‘Hetty Wainthropp Investigates’ is an enjoyable crime drama series featuring Patricia Routledge along with Dominic Monaghan and Derek Benfield. I’m glad I purchased this series for my Mum, as she enjoyed it and it got better in later episodes compared to the earlier ones, which I suppose is to be expected.

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂


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