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Dermot Crowley, Deborah Grant, Geoffrey McGivern and Zoe Hart.
Directed by Sandy Johnson
First transmitted 31st January 1998
Ratings 9.15 million
Norman Stangerson is temporophobic: terrified of the relentless passage of time. Despite this, he's doing rather well for himself, hopping back and forth across the Atlantic in his job, working for a New York publishing house.
Norman's world falls apart, however, when an employee of a fast food restaurant in Bishop's Stortford returns his wallet, supposedly left at the establishment when Norman should have been tucked up in bed after a meal with colleagues in the Big Apple.
Stangerson swears he was in America, a fact to which all his colleagues testify. Jonathan Creek has other ideas however, and when Norman seemingly dies in a freak accident during his next trip, Creek's suspicions are confirmed. [Solution]
Five quick questions to test your knowledge of the episode.
"I can't even imagine what it must be like having two families and two wives - it would be very, very strange. Dermot Crowley gave a great performance. He was really, really good, one of the best actors we've had on, and Deborah Grant playing his wife. We all agreed she was the most beautiful actress we've had on.
"Then there was a hilarious comedy plot where Jonathan Creek sleeps with his VAT inspector - played by Zoe Hart - who turns out to be bald as a coot. So that was a good one; that one's been shown quite a lot on UK Gold."
"I do personally share Norman Stangerson's neurosis in this episode - the phobia of time inexorably passing by, never to be reclaimed. Not quite to the extent that I can't bear to watch the hands on a clock go round, but my wife and I have got to the stage where we find it very painful to look at old photographs and discover how young we looked only seven or eight years ago.
"I suspect it's something that gets more of a grip on you as you grow older. I'm 52 now, but I guess it began in my forties. A bit of a worry really.
When Maddy tries to excuse her lateness as being "time of the month", Jonathan retorts that she said that 13 days ago. Only Jonathan would keep count. Surely?
Temporophobia, the fear of time passing, isn't a recognised named phobia, although it does sound rather cool. The nearest real phobia to Norman Stangerson's is Chronophobia, the fear of clocks and time.
Steve Nallon, who plays chess partner Rupert, made his name as the voice of Margaret Thatcher on the satirical ITV puppet show Spitting Image.
The Solution: (point your mouse over the space below)
Norman was actually living a double life, with a second wife and son in another town. His salary was large enough to pay half to his former business partner, who met him at the airport before each Transatlantic trip and pretended to be Norman in New York. Nobody over there had seen the real Norman, so none of them were suspicious.
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