Heroine, she wrote

The recent revival of Murder, She Wrote on the BBC should have been a cause for celebration. Every so often programming controllers think it’s a marvellous idea to take what can only be described as the greatest piece of televisual art of all time off the air, sometimes for months at a time. Usually, it comes back in a blaze of glory – and to the immense relief of every student, housewife and old person with taste – to its rightful seat on BBC1.

But this time, it has been relegated to the mighty BBC1’s lesser-loved brother BBC2. I am shocked and appalled, to say the least – this is sacrilegious for those who worship at the throne of Jessica Fletcher, played perfectly by the ever fabulous Angela Lansbury.

It is yet another insult thrown at the discerning viewer who has to endure the inferior Diagnosis Murder in those moments of madness when Jessica is ousted from the schedules.

Let’s face it, Dick Van Dyke, the ‘star’ of that ‘show’ is no match whatsoever for the supreme and enormously varied acting ability of Ange. You only have to look at the ridicule he received for his ludicrous Cockney accent in the otherwise near-flawless Mary Poppins to compare the two. In Murder, She Wrote and her stellar film career alike, Lansbury’s accents are perfection, whether she is pretending to be from Brooklyn whilst dancing in a seedy bar (‘dressed like a whore’ according to one creator of a particulary spectacular YouTube tribute video) or cracking out a faultless impersonation of a New Orleans local whilst attempting to garner evidence for a voodoo-based crime.

My personal favourite talent of Ange’s is her amazing ability to hit the English accent on the head , whether as a snobby country bumpkin in Bedknobs and Broomsticks or as a 1940s Cockney charwoman upset after being refused the purchase of a Dior dress in the (disgracefully) little known Mrs ‘Arris Goes to Paris.

The absolute highlight of every programme is without a doubt the way that Jessica manages at the end of every single episode not just to crack a wry smile after exposing the murderer(s) but to give a full-on joyous laugh. To be perfectly honest, if you’re convinced that you’ve ‘better’ things to do with your time, just catch the last 30 seconds of it – that’s all you need to see.

The only problem with Angela Lansbury and her wonderful career is that it gets a bit addictive, to the extent that when I was in Paris earlier this year I posed as Mrs ‘Arris outside Dior. The doorman certainly didn’t seem to appreciate my best charwoman face…

Angela Lansbury worshipping is an expensive hobby too. In one episode JB comes to London and, of course, performs a resoundingly perfect representation of a city woman. She visits the Dorchester hotel and finds a body in the kitchens. I decided it was my Lansbury loving duty to go and have a hideously expensive cocktail there to celebrate the spirit of Jessica. “20 quid down the drain!” I hear you cry. Oh no, not for me! You can’t put a price on a bit of JB.

Of course, there are those lunatics who don’t appreciate her amazing work and ridicule Murder She Wrote. They say the Seventies clothes are hideous, the plots are corny and the plastic fantastic ‘guest stars’ are no-hopers never to be seen on screen ever again. These cynics are quite simply to be pitied; they just don’t get it like those of us who know true genius when we see it.

When having a think about what to do when I finally escape the bubble next year, I have recently realised that I actually have only one real ambition. To be perfectly honest, I just want to be Jessica Fletcher – she is, after all, a seriously fabulous woman. Angela Lansbury isn’t just an actress – she’s a lifestyle choice.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.