Based on the series of novels written by Dorothy L Sayers in the 1920s and 30s, Lord Peter Wimsey
was dramatised for TV by the BBC between 1972-5. Ian Carmichael, veteran of British film comedy, played the genial, aristocratic sleuth; Glyn Houston was his manservant Bunter. The pair are similar to PG Wodehouse's Jeeves and Bertie Wooster (whom Carmichael played in an earlier TV adaptation) though here the duo are equal in intelligence, breezing about the country together in Wimsey's Bentley and stumbling with morbid regularity upon baffling murder mysteries to test their wits.
Those for whom this series forms hazy memories of childhood might be surprised at its somewhat stagy, lingering interior shots, the spartan paucity of music, the miserly attitude towards locations, especially foreign ones, and the rather genteel, leisurely pace of these programmes, besides which Inspector Morse seems like Quentin Tarantino in comparison. It seems that initially the BBC was reluctant to commission the series and ventured on production with a wary eye on the budget. The Britain depicted by Sayers is, by and large, populated by either the upper classes or heavily accented, rum-do-and-no-mistake lower orders, which some might find consoling. However, the acting is generally excellent and the murder mysteries are sophisticated parlour games, the televisual equivalent of a good, absorbing jigsaw puzzle.
There were five feature-length adaptations in all. "The Nine Tailors" weaves an especially elaborate tale, involving jewel theft, campanology (the art of bell-ringing) and dual identity. --David Stubbs
Stranded in the fens of eastern England one snowy New Year's Eve, Lord Peter Wimsey (Ian Carmichael) seeks refuge with a vicar who has a passion for bell-ringing. A few months later the clergyman gets in touch when an unidentified, mutilated body is found in the grave of the newly deceased Lady Thorpe, which was dug around the time of Wimsey's first visit. As he investigates the death, Wimsey discovers an unexpected link with the theft of a valuable necklace which took place many years earlier...