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Episode guide > Season 2 > The mother redcap

Season 2, Episode 6
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corner imageSummary info
Writer: David Renwick
Director: Keith Washington
Original broadcast date: (UK) 28 February 1998 on BBC1
Filmed in: 16:9 aspect ratio
Guest stars
Brian Murphy as Ken Speed
Nicola Walker as WPC Fay Radnor
Leonard Kavanagh as Judge Forrest Sweetland
Georgine Anderson as Gwynneth Sweetland
Barbara Horne as Dr. Laura Climpson
Marcus Gilbert as Jason Tippet
Jan Linnik as Burley Man
David McKail as Clifford Jennings
Hilary Sesta as Bag Lady
Scarlett O'Neal as Young bag Lady
Mark Wong as Chinese Hitman

View guest cast

A picture of the Mother Redcap pub signAt the home of Judge Forest Sweetland, a swarm of police surround the house. Tomorrow morning he will preside over the sentencing of a number of nasty Chinese criminals who all have friends in bad places. These friends have promised he will be dead by morning, and thus the police have stepped up protection around the Judge.

Judge Sweetland and his wife, Gwynneth, plan an early night as he has to be up early in the morning, 6am on the dot. The police make one final sweep of the room, and they go to their separate beds (but in the same room!), with two policemen sitting outside the door. One of which is WPC Fay Radnor.

At 6am, as the policemen outside the door are brought a welcomed cup of coffee, a noise is heard in the judge's bedroom. Fay rushes in and finds a frightened wife just waking up, and the judge half out of bed collapsed on the floor. Going over to the judge, she discovers he is dead, and as she stands up we see blood on her hand.

Soon even more police are on the scene, including a doctor who establishes the cause of death as a stab wound through the heart. The entry wound is only one millimetre in diameter, as if he had been stabbed with a rapier. The strange thing is the time of death. The doctor comments,

"Well if you're saying they heard it happen at 6 O'clock, any earlier, you wouldn't have seen this carpet for blood."

As Chief Inspector Ken Speed comments on the impossible situation - a guarded door, barred windows, no sign of a murder weapon, the Doctor spots something on the floor. It's a finger nail, but one which looks like it's been ripped from the hand of it's owner.

Meanwhile back at Maddy's house, she is complaining how dull her life is. She's had nothing of interest for five weeks now, and doesn't have an in-tray of a budding investigative writer. Jonathan then spots a letter from a Jason Tippet and asks what it's about. Maddy replies she doesn't know, she got as far as "Estate Agent" and gave up reading the rest. Jonathan reads the letter allowed,

"I wonder if you'd be interesting in collaborating with me on a rather fascinating history I'm compiling of a London hostelry called The Mother Redcap. If convenient I would very much like to ring you Monday evening."

At which point Maddy steal the letter out of his hands, and runs to turn on her answer phone. Alas before she can the phone rings, and being a cordless phone and who she is, the phone is not where it should be! Jonathan answers the phone for her, and Maddy tells him, she's dead (i.e. she's not in if it's Mr. Tippet). The call is from Jason Tippet, and Jonathan hands the phone over after telling him that Maddy is indeed in!

Jason Tippet is naked while he calls MaddyAfter calling Jonathan an unsavoury word, Maddy takes the phone and is all prepared to get rid of Jason quickly. However she soon changes her mind due to Jason's smooth talking, and agrees to go to dinner to discuss The Mother Redcap mystery which he is investigating. What Maddy doesn't know is that on he other end of the phone Jason is completely naked!

Jonathan is frog marched out of Maddy's house by policeWhile Maddy goes upstairs to run a bath, rather pleased that Jonathan seems slightly miffed, we hear a knock at the door. Jonathan answers it and two men ask if he is Jonathan Creek. He replies yes, where upon they force one hand behind his back and whisk him away into a car! Maddy returns down stairs to find Jonathan gone, and smiles when she thinks he's left because he's jealous.

At dinner, Jason fills Maddy in on the story. Since 1969 when the previous owner died (a man called William Ambergast), The Mother Redcap pub in Edmonton, London has been on the market. But then, it's not everyone who would buy a hundred year old property where seven men were literary scared to death. Back in the 1940's it all started with a man named Clifford Jennings, a managing director of a big clothing company. He was staying overnight with a "lady friend" in a special guest room for visitors. As he was getting ready for bed, he looked out of the window. There he saw something which literally scared him to death. The death certificate said it was his heart, but the truth is no-one really knows what killed him. The girl he was with swears he saw something out of the window. Jason then quotes a newspaper cutting,

"Something so utterly horrible it set off a fatal seizure"

Between 1947 and 1951 there were five other incidences, which still haven't been explained. All in the same room, and all when they were looking out of the window. No evidence of poisoning, or suffocation, no marks or scratches. Four men were found on the floor, and three were actually seen to die of fright.

[Note possible hic-up here. Jason is heard to clearly say there were 5 other cases between '47 and '51. Including the first case this would make 6 cases. He then goes on to say 4 were found on the floor the following morning, and 3 were actually seen, making a total of 7 cases.]

Meanwhile Jonathan is at the police station in Chief Inspector Ken Speed's office, rubbing his bruised elbows! Ken apologises for the way he was brought to the station, his officers were under the impression he was a suspect being brought in for questioning! The truth is Ken is so baffled about the case, that when he heard about Jonathan's work in the House of Monkeys from a fellow officer, he thought if anyone could shed some light it would be Jonathan. As he starts to fill Jonathan in on the case, WPC Fay Radnor comes into the room carrying a tray with refreshments on. She looks at Jonathan, he looks back, they exchange smiles.

Maddy arrives with Jason at The Mother Redcap pub. The lock has been forced, and he tells her a lot of vagrants come here to stay. He takes her to the room, and Maddy looks out of the window and pretends to scream! She turns round to tell Jason she was kidding, and finds he's disappeared. She calls his name, and he doesn't answer. Eventually he does, complaining that his torch must have a lose connection somewhere. Crouched down beside him, they get a shock when the torch springs back into life, shining light on an old bag lady, who has clearly died recently.

Back at the police station, Ken Speed is telling Jonathan about the torn fingernail found at the crime scene. Maddy is also at the police station with Jason, after reporting the body they found at the Mother Redcap pub. As they talk, Jason decides to tell Maddy about his "alternative lifestyle". He and a few friends he lives with are nudists. Sadly, at the point which Jason tells Maddy, she spies WPC Fay Radnor leave Ken Speed's office, and spies Jonathan behind her. Suddenly her attention seems to wonder, and she simply nods and says, "absolutely, I think its wonderful!". Jason is surprised, but Maddy makes her excuses before she can realise her mistake. She kisses Jason goodbye, and then waits outside the door of Speed's office trying to listen in.

Fay then returns and asks what she's doing. Assuming she's the press, Fay asks her to go through the proper channels. Maddy replies that she is in fact Madeline Creek, Jonathan's wife, and wants to know what's going on. Fay enters the office, but for some reason doesn't return Jonathan's smile. Jonathan is puzzled, but then sees Maddy in the doorway!

The following day, Jonathan is in a car with Ken Speed driving. His name is well chosen, as Ken is driving a lot faster than he should be! After a near crash, and the revelation that Ken's daughter is gay and expecting her first baby courtesy of the local sperm bank, they arrive at Judge Sweetland's home. Ken tells Jonathan that the room was checked thoroughly, that ultrasonic detectors were in place, and that two policemen were on the door outside.

Jonathan then gets a picture of what happened in his mind. The judge was found half out of bed, with his lamp, some papers, a glass of water, and an alarm clock beside him on the floor. Sweetland's wife then comments that she had a lot of trouble sleeping that night. She remembers clearly waking up and glancing at the alarm clock and saw the time of 05:10. She went back to sleep and then later she saw the clock again, but this time it said 04:06. But how could time have gone backwards?

Maddy meanwhile has taken a trip down to the morgue to see if she can find out what the old bag lady died of. The pathologist on duty (who is the same doctor who saw Judge Sweetland) refuses to tell her anything. Maddy then tells her, she'll have to post these pictures after all, pretending to have some compromising pictures of the doctor in a brown envelope. Dr. Climpson calls her bluff and snatches the envelope and looks at the pictures. They turn out to be off a couple of footballers! Climpson tells her to leave, and Maddy does so.....after she's picked up the photos which just so happen to be on top of the file she's after. Using the envelope and pictures as a cover, she borrows the file!

As she leaves Maddy looks at the file, and sees something she clearly wasn't expecting to see. We then see Jonathan on his mobile phone outside the Sweetland house saying, "You're kidding? When d'you find that out?". At the same time, Ken Speed is on the phone in his car. He hangs up and comments to Jonathan,

"And we thought this case was already complicated! "

At the Morgue we see the body of the old bag lady. Dr. Climpson is taking the torn nail taken from the scene of the crime and placing it next to one of the nails on the bag lady. It's a perfect match.

At Maddy's house Jonathan asks her if she told Fay that she was his wife. Maddy denies the accusation, and Jonathan is suitably unimpressed! Maddy then takes some washing out of her machine, only to find one of her shirts has shrunk very badly in the wash! She then tells Jonathan of a theory she's come up with. The old bag lady was in fact Sweetland's cleaner or someone with access to the house. She was paid to kill Sweetland, and then to shut her up the gangsters killed her and dumped the body in an old pub where no-one would find it. Jonathan remains silent, cheesing Maddy off and she demands his mobile phone. As Jonathan asks how did the old lady get into Sweetland's room, "astral projection?". Maddy then dials a number, and soon we hear her own phone ringing. She can't remember where she left her cordless phone! Jonathan then goes on to point out that the lady had been dead for at least a week, placing her death before Sweetland's.

Jonathan then sees an advert on Maddy's table for the Mother Redcap Pub, and starts thinking about the story again. Maddy can't see the significance of the story, but Jonathan comments the killer obviously did. Seven baffling deaths in a bedroom, then Judge Sweetland, another baffling death in a bedroom. Maddy then asks if Jonathan thinks that the deaths in the Mother Redcap 50 years ago were murders. And that the same elaborate method was used to kill Sweetland? Those deaths were never explained she points out, and Judge Sweetland they know was stabbed through the heart. Jonathan then quotes from the autopsy report,

"Single clean puncher through the right oracle, unaccompanied by any peripheral tearing or tissue damage."

Which, he goes on, implies there wasn't a struggle. But the lamp, papers, clock and glass of water, were all over the floor, suggesting there hand been a struggle. He then asks when Maddy is next seeing Jason. Tomorrow she replies, why? Jonathan then tells her to get him to flesh out the story of the Mother Redcap pub. Background information on the landlord, and everything she can find out about each of the victims, etc. Something about the Mother Redcap murders, holds the key to Sweetland's murder he thinks. And it has nothing to do with a finger nail!

While Maddy discovers that she should have listened a bit harder to Jason's "alternative lifestyle" speech back at the police station, Jonathan is having lunch with Fay Radnor at his windmill. As they eat, Jonathan asks why she became a policewoman. Both her brothers were in the force, and they twisted her arm. Jonathan comments what sods they must have been, and Fay tells him they were both killed by an axe murderer whilst on duty. A silence descends across the table! Jonathan then notices that while she's eating the pasta she sticks her tongue all the way out. Very off putting!

Maddy wishes she had paid attention to what Jason said earlierMaddy meanwhile, is feeling slightly uncomfortable being surrounded by naked men and women all drinking tea, dead civilised like!

Ken Speed, is also busy, having arrested his prime suspect, one of the gangsters friends.

Jonathan and Maddy then arrive at the Mother Redcap pub that night. As they pull up outside in Maddy's car, Jonathan is still complaining about Fay's eating habits! Maddy's says he should be grateful that's all he saw! At least she has everything you ever wanted to know about the Mother Redcap pub. Jason has also had the power re-connected so the lights should be working now. They go into the pub, and Maddy starts telling Jonathan all about the victims, while he looks around the room. Jonathan notices a bad case of wood worm in the floor. He then comes up with how they were killed after Maddy shows him a picture of the sixth victim. The man is lying on the floor and his shoes are on the floor next to a chest of drawers. All seven men were getting ready for bed, which implies they were all walking around without any shoes on. Of course it wouldn't work every time, but...

Jonathan shows Maddy how the Red Cap murders were doneJonathan then walks out of the room in search of something. Maddy then sits down on the floor and takes off one of her shoes to massage her foot. She then spies a rat, and throws her shoe at it. It runs away, and she gets up to close the door. Jonathan then finds what he's looking for in a cupboard just outside the room, and lifts up some floor boards from the bottom of it. Maddy is slowly walking towards the window, when Jonathan comes back into the room and seeing Maddy he shouts, "Don't go near the window!" He then runs and jumps towards her, throwing her to the ground with a bump. The rat then comes back into the room and as it nears the window a burst of electricity sparks out of the floor. The poor thing is electrocuted. Jonathan nearly killed Maddy!

It turns out the wood worm in the floor isn't wood worm after all! They are just holes that small metal prongs come out of. The prongs are flush with the floor so they aren't seen, and are hooked into a powerful electricity supply. All the men were electrocuted by the landlord!

Jonathan then shows her what he found in the cupboard. There's a lever to raise the prongs up and down, and a switch to turn the power supply on and off. Maddy then asks, what has this got to do with Judge Sweetland's murder?

Looking at his book through a glass of water, he sees the writing on the spine is reversedDuring the night Jonathan can't sleep. He wakes up and has a sip of water from his bedside table. As he puts the glass back on the table something clicks. A book is behind the glass, which has the title of Blackjack. As he moves the glass in front of the book, the title is reversed, because of the internal reflection of the water.

At the police station, Judge Sweetland's wife is being shown the men Ken Speed has arrested. One of the men she recognises as the man who followed her last Thursday and made himself scarce when he saw the police outside of the house. He then asks her to follow him to the canteen where Jonathan reveals all!

When Judge Sweetland's wife first looked at the clock, she saw the wrong time because she was seeing it through a glass of water. The actual time was 02:10, but as the clock is digital and seen through a glass of water it appears to be 05:10. Between then and the second time she sees the clock, Judge Sweetland's had a sip of water, and replaced the glass on the table, but not in front of the clock, so she sees the right time 04:06. The problem of how did someone get into the room to kill the Judge and then out again still remains. According to the autopsy report, there was no struggle, so how do you explain that he was half out of bed, and all the things on his bedside table were on the floor? What if you go with the hypothesis that he was stabbed after he was killed...? Now a different cause of death is to be found. Jonathan then quotes the case of William Ambergast, the landlord of the Mother Redcap pub. He electrocuted his victims. Someone had to have rigged up something in the Judge's bedroom, something they knew he would touch, but looked entirely harmless. Something like an alarm clock...?

The alarm clock had been rigged so that the alarm button was made live, so when the Judge went to turn it off at 06:00 it killed him. The shock caused him to half fall out of bed, and knock everything off the bed side table. Since the police came into the room some 15 seconds later, it means that within those 15 seconds the Judge was stabbed. And if that's true, there is only one person who could have done it.

We then see Fay come into the canteen, and she finally looks up. Ken Speed looks at Fay but she says nothing. Maddy then continues the story. A quick trawl through the newspapers fills in the gaps for Fay's motive. The man who killed her brothers, was realised on bail pending another charge for assault. Her brother's wouldn't have died if he hadn't been released. The Judge who released them was Judge Sweetland.

Fay then confesses. She couldn't believe it when she was chosen for protection duty of the Judge. Her first thought was what the hell, just produce a gun, and to hell with what they did to her. But then, one night about a week before the murder, she came across the old bag lady in the Mother Redcap in. She had fallen down, and her finger had been caught in something. Fay ended up pulling part of her nail off which was caught and broken to get her free. She stays a while and talks to her. It turns out that the old lady used to work in the pub back in the 1940's. The room upstairs was basically a knocking shop, where highly paid businessmen could find some "companionship" for the right price. The landlord was paid by their wives, who found out they were cheating on them, to kill them, which he did by electrocution. This set Fay thinking. If she was clever she could kill the Judge and get away with it.

The spike Fay uses to through investigators off the scentShe found some expert help from the Chinese gangsters, who gave her a specially prepared duplicate clock. It was simple enough to swap them during the day, and she could swap them back again later when things died down a bit. Her new found Chinese friends gave her a small retractable spike which lay hidden under her sleeve, to help throw people off. So when, at 06:00, a noise was heard in the room and the Judge was found on the floor. All Fay had to do was go over to the body and use the spike.

Mrs. Sweetland then sees that Fay is proud of what she's done, and proceeds to lash out at her. Ken Speed tries to separate them, but ends up being thrown across a table by a rouge blow. Jonathan then comforts Mrs. Sweetland, and Maddy sees to Ken. She tells them to call for an ambulance, his pulse had gone.

Back at Jonathan's windmill, Maddy is round for dinner. While Jonathan puts the finishing touches to the meal, Maddy is watching television. A news report about the death of Ken Speed is on. It tells the story of how Ken managed to solve the 50 year old mystery of the Mother Redcap Pub. Maddy comments on what a softy Jonathan is for letting Ken take the credit, when he wouldn't have given two hoots who got the credit!

As they start to eat, Jonathan asks if the salad he's served is okay. Maddy says it's bliss! She's finally found something Jonathan is crap at! It's the worse Caesar salad she's ever tasted, and tells him to get his coat so they can go down the chippie! Jonathan goes upstairs to retrieve his coat, and Maddy tucks into the wasn't that bad after all!

corner imageGuest cast
Ken Speed
Ken Speed
WPC Fay Radnor
WPC Fay Radnor
Judge Forrest Sweetland
Judge Forrest Sweetland
Gwynneth Sweetland
Gwynneth Sweetland
Dr. Laura Climpson
Dr. Laura Climpson
Jason Tippet
Jason Tippet
Clifford Jennings
Clifford Jennings
Bag Lady
Bag Lady
Young Bag Lady
Young Bag Lady
Chinese Hitman
Chinese Hitman
Season 2, Episode 6
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