Admin and I were greatly saddened to hear of William Simons‘ recent passing at the age of 79. Mr. Simons was such an indelible part of the “Inspector Alleyn Mysteries”, playing Alleyn’s stalwart, imperturbable right-hand man, Inspector Br’er Fox. He was a constant, steady, reassuring presence, providing Alleyn with more than competent assistance and avuncular, at times even fatherly, advice. He went on to other series after “Alleyn”, but he’ll always be Br’er to us, so we thought we’d remember him by analyzing one of our favourite scenes from “Death in a White Tie” (1993), S02E01 of the “Inspector Alleyn Mysteries“.
In this scene, Alleyn is pursuing the murderer of family friend Lord Robert Gospell (Harold Innocent), fondly known as “Bunchie”. Bunchie was helping Alleyn solve a society extortion case when he got too close to the blackmailer and was killed for it. Devastated and feeling responsible for Bunchie’s death, Alleyn has been pushing himself more than usual, and dealing with suspects more emotionally than usual – even to the extent of rowing with his girlfriend, Agatha Troy (Belinda Lang), who would surely otherwise understand. It’s at about this time that Fox steps in with a little advice, gently admonishing his guv’nor to take better care of himself.
[Fox enters Alleyn’s office with a loaded tea tray.]
Fox [cheerily]: Here we are, sir. Just what the doctor ordered.
[Alleyn doesn’t respond; he’s sitting quietly, chin in hand, obviously hashing over events again and again in his mind.]