The Suspicions of Mr Whicher
|The Suspicions of Mr Whicher|
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher DVD cover
|Directed by||James Hawes|
|Screenplay by||Neil McKay|
|Based on||The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House
by Kate Summerscale
|Original airing||25 April 2011|
|Running time||95 minutes|
|Followed by||The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder In Angel Lane|
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher is a 2011 television film made by ITV and starring Paddy Considine in the title rôle of Jack Whicher. It is based on the real-life Constance Kent murder case of 1860 as interpreted by Kate Summerscale in her novel The Suspicions of Mr Whicher or The Murder at Road Hill House (2008). A follow-up, the fictional story The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder In Angel Lane was filmed in early 2013 and was broadcast on 12 May 2013.
When three year-old Saville Kent is found murdered in dreadful circumstances at the family home in Wiltshire, Commissioner Mayne (Tim Pigott-Smith) sends Scotland Yard detective Inspector Jack Whicher (Paddy Considine) to investigate the crime. Local Superintendent Foley (Tom Georgeson) believes that the murder is an 'inside job', committed by Saville's nurse Elizabeth Gough (Kate O'Flynn), whom he suspects was caught by the child when in bed with a man, possibly the child's father, Samuel Kent (Peter Capaldi), but he is reluctantly forced to release her due to lack of evidence.
When Whicher arrives Foley reluctantly agrees to help, suspicious of outside interference and more progressive police methods. When a torn piece of a woman's blood-stained garment is found, Constance Kent (Alexandra Roach), Samuel Kent's sixteen-year-old daughter from his first marriage, claims that her night-gown had been lost by the laundress. Dr. Stapleton (Ben Miles), the family's doctor tells Whicher that Constance, like her late mother, is mentally unstable and jealous of Saville, she immediately becomes a suspect. It is discovered that Constance and her younger brother William Saville-Kent (Charlie Hiett) hate their stepmother Mary (Emma Fielding), their former nanny, and with whom their father had had an affair while their mother was still alive. As the circumstantial evidence builds Whicher arrests Constance convinced that she has killed her half-brother out of revenge against her father for his treatment of her mother but he fails to get a confession from her and, at her trial, her lawyer discredits Whicher's case and manages to get her acquitted.
Whicher suffers a breakdown and leaves the police force, but five years later in 1865 Constance confesses her guilt to a clergyman, the Rev. Arthur Wagner (Antony Byrne), and is put on trial for murder. In court the Rev. Wagner gives a declaration that he must withhold any information on the ground that it had been received under the seal of "sacramental confession". At the same time it is revealed that Superintendent Foley had withheld evidence from Whicher during the original investigation. Constance Kent confesses her guilt, but refuses to corroborate Whicher's theory that her brother was also involved in the murder.
Constance Kent is sentenced to death, but this is later commuted to life in prison.
- Paddy Considine ... Detective Jack Whicher
- Peter Capaldi ... Samuel Kent
- Tom Georgeson ... Superintendent Foley
- William Beck ... 'Dolly' Williamson
- Emma Fielding ... Mary Kent
- Tim Pigott-Smith ... Commissioner Mayne
- Kate O'Flynn... Elizabeth Gough
- Donald Sumpter ... Peter Edlin QC
- Ben Miles ... Dr. Stapleton
- Alexandra Roach ... Constance Kent
- Jay Simpson ... George Redman
- Peter Gordon ... Holcombe
- Charlie Hiett... William Kent
- Sarah Ridgeway ... Sarah Cox
- Ben Crompton ... William Nutt
- Ruairi Conaghan ... Benger
- Anthony Hunt... Constable Urch
- Julian Firth ... MP
- Richard Lintern ... Henry Ludlow
- Katy Murphy ... Mrs. Holley
- Beth Cooke ... Emma Moody
- Lizzie Hopley ... Harriet Gollop
- Andrew Woodall ... Magistrate
- Antony Byrne ... Reverend Wagner (as Anthony Byrne)
- Lucy Scarfe... Elizabeth Kent (uncredited)
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder In Angel Lane
In January 2013 ITV announced that a new two hour film was in production, with Paddy Considine reprising his rôle as Inspector Jack Whicher, who is now a private inquiry agent, in a new fictional adventure. The film will co-star Olivia Colman. The television film is produced by Hat Trick Productions, and is again to be written by BAFTA award-winner Neil McKay. It was directed by Christopher Menaul with Mark Redhead as executive producer, and Rob Bullock as producer.
When former police Detective Inspector Jack Whicher (Paddy Considine) finds wealthy Susan Spencer (Olivia Colman) searching for her 16 year-old niece Mary Drew in a low public house in London's notorious Angel Lane, she enlists his services to find her niece. When the body of Mary is found brutally murdered in Angel Lane robbed of a family heirloom and having recently given birth to a child, Spencer persuades Whicher to bring those responsible to justice.
The search begins for Stephen Gann (William Postlethwaite), Mary's 19 year-old lover and the father of her child. Whicher finds the missing child at the Church-run home for fallen women where she has taken refuge, and later confronts Gann, who in a struggle pulls a knife which is identical to the murder weapon and makes his escape.
Whicher seeks the help of his former colleagues in the Metropolitan Police, including 'Dolly' Williamson (William Beck) and Commissioner Mayne (Tim Pigott-Smith), but, with the exception of Inspector Lock (Shaun Dingwall), they warn Whicher off from interfering in what is a police matter. When Whicher visits Miss Spencer’s country home he learns that her father had been murdered by Gann’s uncle.
Whicher’s investigation takes him to a lunatic asylum where his suspicions lead to a fresh grave being reopened but without finding the body he expects to be found hidden in it. Shaken by his failure and convinced that he no longer possesses the skills necessary to solve the crime Whicher decides to give up the investigation but then discovers a new clue after Mary Drew’s funeral when he finds Stephen Gann at Mary's grave. Whicher seems to be close to solving the case and returns to the asylum where he is accused of being mentally unstable and after a struggle is strapped into a straitjacket and locked up at the instigation of Dr Casement (Alistair Petrie) and Inspector Lock.
When Stephen Gann's grandfather, an inmate in the asylum, finally reveals the true identity of Mary Drew Whicher makes his escape and confronts those responsible for her murder in a chilling finale.
- Paddy Considine ... Inspector Jack Whicher
- Olivia Colman ... Susan Spencer
- William Beck ... Chief Inspector 'Dolly' Williamson
- Tim Pigott-Smith ... Commissioner Mayne
- Shaun Dingwall ... Inspector George Lock
- William Postlethwaite ... Stephen Gann
- Mark Bazeley... Thomas Gann
- Sean Baker ... Joshua Gann
- Alistair Petrie ...Dr Casement
- Joanna Jeffrees ... Nursemaid
- Siobhan O'Neill ... Housemaid
- Asher Kemp ...Baby Stephen
- Justine Mitchell ...Sister Anne
- Angela Terence ...Charlotte
- Sam Barnard ... Robert
- Justin Edwards... Rev Marlow
- Jody Halse... Clarence Shaw
- Andy Gathergood ... Sergeant Parker
- James Wilson ... Pickpocket Youth
- Brett Allen ... Landlord
- Neal Barry ...Finch
- Tom Padley ... Pub Bystander
- Creed's Woman ...Carolyn Tomkinson
- Nick Caldecott ... Dr Drake
- Mark Kempner ... Toby
- The Suspicions of Mr Whicher at the Internet Movie Database
- "Filming The Suspicions of Mr Whicher", The Daily Telegraph, 18 April 2011
- Review of The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, New Statesman, 5 May 2011
- The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: Costume Q&A with Lucinda Wright, Clothes on Film website
- The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder in Angel Lane at the Internet Movie Database
- The Suspicions of Mr Whicher II, ITV Media
- The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder in Angel Lane, cast list