Tag Archives: Murder

The Unicorn and the Wasp

Last nights episode of Doctor Who was perhaps one that could be classed as primarily an entertaining romp. The basic plot was your regular Doctor against a monster – in this case a giant wasp – but around that was placed a classic Agatha Christie murder mystery at a stately home, with guests being killed off one by one, plus a notorious jewel thief on the prowl, and complete with Agatha Christie herself in attendance.

Structured into the plot is also Agatha Christie’s well publicised disappearance – although since that actually occurred in December, the summer garden party and trees in full leaf don’t exactly fit. Needless to say the explanation for her disappearance, leaving her car in Surrey and reappearance a few days later in Yorkshire is explained in the programme as being amnesia caused by her final encounter with the giant wasp followed by a trip in the TARDIS, resulting in a bit of a paradox as the Doctor deposits Agatha Christie where he knows she will later be found.

Gareth Roberts and Russell T certainly had some fun with the script. The first murder is classic Cluedo, with Professor Peach being murdered with the lead piping in the library. From there we have someone killed by a falling statue, and stabbed in the back at dinner, ending up face down in the soup course. You of course have the local vicar in attendance, and a butler too, and lots of people with dark secrets. The team also have a fun time with flashbacks – which never quite match up with what the protagonists are actually saying. It all finishes up with a relatively low speed car chase in classic cars setting everything in place for the disappearance. Buried in the script are also numerous references to classic Agatha Christie book titles, and also Donna inadvertently giving Christie a number of story ideas. The episode also references previous episodes with Donna remarking on how amazing it is being with Agatha Christie, almost as amazing as meeting Charles Dickens with ghosts at Christmas

In some ways this was a bit of a comedic interlude before we get into the more serious stories in the second part of the season, kicking off with the much anticipated (and apparently very frightening) Steven Moffat story Silence in the Library, leading in to the return of Rose as part of the final four episodes which are all scripted by Russell T, usually indicating that they are fairly important episodes in terms of the series. In the case of one of the four episodes the title has yet to be revealed for fear of giving too much away. Suffice to say that the Daleks have appeared in the series trailers, but are not appearing anywhere else in the series as far as we have been told so far…


This afternoon, Thomas Palmer was convicted of the double murder of two of his friends in Finchampstead, that so shocked the village 18 months ago.

That Palmer killed Steven Bayliss and T.Wood Nadauld wasn’t in any doubt – he had pleaded guilty to manslaughter – however the prosecution maintained, and proved the charge of murder this afternoon.

The arguments that it was manslaughter were presented last week, firstly that they had been drinking, and had disagreed – Palmer saying that the alcohol had meant that he couldn’t think straight. However, medical tests indicated that he had no drink or drugs in his bloodstream at the time of the attack.

Later, there was evidence from a psychiatrist of Palmer’s mental state. He had reported symptoms of paranoia associated with the early stages of schizophrenia, and also with his use of cannabis – somewhat of a sad irony considering the front page of the Independent yesterday. He also had a fascination with knives, and according to his girlfriend a film about a serial killer had recently become a favourite.

Hopefully, Palmer being convicted will bring some sense of closure to the families, who from their statements after the verdict are still struggling to make sense of what has happened. According to her victim impact statement read at the trial, Steven’s mother has not even changed the sheets on her son’s bed. (Incidentally, there is a separate article exploring the impact of the murders on the BBC site.) However the life sentence with a recommended tariff of 20 years, of which Palmer has already served 2 years, has already sparked much discussion as being too lenient – certainly with all the talk of schizophrenia and paranoia I was expecting him to be sent somewhere like Broadmoor, whether he was found guilty of the murder charge or manslaughter.