Guilty as charged, Monsieur Poirot

OK, I admit it: I'm a royal pain in the arse when it comes to watching detective shows on the telly. I don't try to work out who dunnit, you see; I'm far too busy looking for mistakes.

It all started when I was a kid in the Seventies. "Back projection!" my dad would call out, whenever they showed a close-up of Telly Savalas supposedly driving his car in Kojak. Once I discovered what back projection actually was, I started to join in.

Then along came Columbo: "But there's just one thing I don't understand…" Peter Falk would begin during the denouement scene. "MI-CRO-PHONE!" dad and I would shout in unison, as the overhead boom sneaked into shot. And I couldn't help noticing that whenever my heart-throb, the delightful Cheryl Ladd, did anything dangerous in Charlie's Angels, she suddenly grew a lot less petite and lost her totally mesmerising 35-23-34 figure: it was a bloke in a wig!

Spotting mistakes in detective shows was a fairly harmless hobby until time-shift TV came along. Now that we have Sky+, I have developed the annoying habit of placing the programme on hold, rewinding a bit, and asking Jen if she can spot the mistake. It must be totally infuriating.

"Look, there! UPVC windows in 1940s Brighton!" I will declare during Foyle's War. Or, while watching Inspector Morse, "Somebody has done a wonderful job of polishing Morse's Jag: look, you can see the reflection of the entire film crew in the door!"

On Saturday, I surpassed myself. We were watching an old edition of Rebus. I had already paused the picture several times to show Jen how immaculately clean people keep their car windscreens in detective shows: "It's so they can film through them without dirty smudges' appearing across the actors' faces," I explained. Then Rebus and his detective mate (who would die shortly afterwards) decided to get filthy drunk: "No way is that Laphroaig," I objected, as Rebus's mate uncorked a new bottle: "look, it's totally the wrong colour—it's way too dark! That's cold tea, that is!"

Mind you, when it comes to Laphroaig, I consider myself a bit of an expert.

Laphroaig, you say. Don't mind if I do…

By Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.

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