Virtual Murder: A Dream of Dracula

In a change to my usual practice I am going to start with a list of the guest stars of this episode of Virtual Murder: Ronald Fraser, Jill Gascoine, Alfred Marks, Peggy Mount, and Julian Clary as a most unusual undertaker dressed all in pink. How in hell is this show not well known if not on its own merits but because it managed to obtain a list of guest stars like that in one episode? What is wrong with the TV viewing public?

The show is also an absolute delight. It's insane and I love it.

Unusually this one is much more focussed on the university in the unnamed city, its daily life and rivalries. Specifically we're in the run up to a play and there has been a sudden spate of attacks by an apparent real world vampire. In this way we are set up to expect a particular ending to the show, because when you've got a university production of Dracula going on and people start reporting a real life vampire, you tend to assume the two are related.

Of course we all know that the unnamed city is Birminghamiensis, which again gives its best for locations. In fact you get to see some of the top spots in the city in this one. The council house/art gallery/school of art complex gives its best as a foggy Victorian setting. The real start is Warstone Lane cemetery with the catacombs and we get to see the Round House on Sir Harry's Road and Perrott's Folly. Some other houses around Edgbaston appear and I think, but am not sure, that the house used as the dentist's surgery may have been designed by City Architect John Madin. Look him up if you love modernist architecture (but not if you like modernist architecture being demolished sob).

My only criticism would be that I think it's a little obvious who the vampire is, but honestly the point of this one is much more the procession of eccentrics - voodoo priestess housekeepers, bat keepers, the dentist with mammoth teeth in her consulting room, coffin manufacturers and the woman who kept her deceased husband in the corner like you do - than the solution of the actual crime. If this reminds you of other key 1960s TV shows, well obviously I'm sure I've said that that is obviously the whole point.

Proud to be a member of the Guardian-reading, tofu-eating wokerati and the anti-growth coalition. - - - - -

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