The third series in 1992 saw a third host, Richard Madely. The studio set was redesigned, and it looked a bit tacky to be honest, it was a bit like Blind Date‘s set. One difference between this series and the others was that at the end of each episode they offered a competition to win a ticket to a murder mystery weekend, which viewers could phone in for.
Christopher Biggins is one of the most remembered members of the cast in this series, his name seems to come up a lot during online discussions of the show. Some people misremember him as playing Professor Plum for some reason, but he in fact plays Reverend Jonathan Green, and the Biggins version of him is adorably camp. He is the most likeable character in this series, though this being Cluedo he’s not exactly a saint. He’s a gambler and a card sharp.
Professor Peter Plum was played in this series by Tom Baker, best known as the longest serving and most iconic Doctor in Doctor Who. Tom Baker gets a lot of laughs in the studio. Funny as he is, this version of Professor Plum is one of the most malevolent. To say he’s an unethical scientist would be an understatement. He likes cruel animal testing and scientifically approves products he knows are unsafe for the public.
Still, beating him in the nastiness stakes is Colonel Michael Mustard (Lewis Collins). Colonel Mustard is always arrogant, but he is a real bastard in this series! A smug, callous foul tempered bully. With dyed black hair.
Mrs. Elizabeth Peacock is played by Susan George, and her version is the odd one out among the others. Perhaps after three high-glam divas in a row playing Mrs. Peacock they wanted to try something different. But the name “peacock” suggests extravagant colour and showiness, and Susan George’s version is the polar opposite of that. She doesn’t even wear blue, Mrs. Peacock’s colour, very much, she most often dresses plainly, in grey, black or white. She’s more of a graceful proper lady of the manor, which she is fine at playing, but she is fairly dull.
Lysette Anthony as Miss. Vivienne Scarlett is also a peculiar casting choice really. She’s pretty, but she’s an angelic porcelain doll sort of pretty, and she too doesn’t wear her character’s colour (red) much, more often wearing pastel pinks and greens. She only seems to get into the role when she is the killer, in ‘Deadly Dowry’. She owes money to a man named Clive, and he wants to marry her just to get her inheritance. She overhears Clive arrange a pool game with Colonel Mustard in the Billiard Room at 10pm. She fakes an illness saying she has to go to bed, and asks Colonel Mustard to tape a programme for her that finishes after News At Ten (VHS tapes! Having to record a programme when it was broadcast! Old TV shows often remind you how different things were in the past). Knowing that Clive will be in the Billiard Room, Colonel Mustard will be out of the way and that she has an alibi, Miss Scarlett goes to kill Clive. Susan George and Lysette Anthony do look similar enough to be believable as a biological mother and daughter, but… they’re supposed to be stepmother and stepdaughter.
Finally, there’s Pam Ferris as Mrs. Blanche White, who sadly is never given much to do. She does look very like Aunt Bessie, the logo from a certain popular brand of Yorkshire puddings.
The episode ‘Scared To Death’ is hilariously cheesy. Drink every time you see a horror movie cliche! Stock thunder clap sound effect, flashing lightning, gusts of wind blowing in leaves and candles out, lights flickering, billowing fog, organ music. Ruth Madoc plays the murder victim, a medium named Miss. Terry (geddit? Because it sounds a bit like “mystery!”). I quite liked the crafty red herring in this episode though. The characters hear a noise, and they say they think it’s from the kitchen or the study. This led to contestants guessing both of these rooms as where the murder too place at first, but by the end we find out the murder took place in the library.
Other murder victims in this series include a multimillionaire named Max Gold (geddit? Because he’s got a lot of money!) who wants to turn Arlington Grange into a theme park. There’s also a vindictive nun named Sister Concepta, and a tabloid hack named David Stringer.
This series has its moments, but it is my least favourite. It’s the most tonally inconsistent. All the other series at least seemed to have a clear idea of what they wanted to be, this series is a bit more of mish-mash of stuff which doesn’t really gel. It zigzags all other the place from to hammier and cheesier than ever, to looking like it wants to be straight drama, to like a comic strip to dark and sinister, and it never quite hits the mark with any of them. Don’t get me wrong, it’s watchable, but it is a slightly annoying watch at times.