Interview: Solve-A-Long-A-Murder-She Wrote’s Tim Benzie
We caught up with showbiz icon and Solve A Long A Murder She Wrote creator Tim Benzie to talk about your new fave Angela Lansbury night out, his influences and favourite London haunts.
Tell us about Solve-Along-A-Murder-She-Wrote how did the idea come about?
I’m not sure! I loved Singalong A Sound of Music and have loved Murder, She Wrote from when I was a teenager. The name just popped into my head. Then there was a much longer process of sourcing permission to do it – which thankfully has been granted by NBC Universal Television. Oh and working out how it was all going to work!
What happens on the night?
We screen an entire episode and solve it together! Everyone gets a goody bag with their own JB paddle to ooh along to the clues, there are Whodunnit polls taken every ‘commercial break’, and a party popper group explosion when Jessica has her once-every-episode epiphany. There’s more but I don’t want to spoil the surprises!
Were you expecting it to grow into the touring phenomenon it has now become?
No but I’m delighted it has. The show and Dame Angela Lansbury are so beloved – and when our London shows keep selling out so I thought I’d spread the love. We had our first out of town event in Birmingham and it went down a treat (and sold out too – book early!).
Who or what are your influences for making events around pop culture?
My husband Paul created a night called PopHorror a few years ago, which is a night of cabaret acts that mashes up pop music and horror movies. Since then we’ve done The Cher Witch Project, I Still Know What You Did Donna Summer, and a Kylie special called I Should Be So Chucky.
We have another amazing Anti-Valentine’s Ball coming up (on 14 Feb at the RVT!) which includes Speed Hating, a Damaged Goods Tombola and a Drunken Power Ballad Singalong. Between us we keep thinking up weird ways of giving people a fun night out that fits our strange sense of humour. Thankfully there are a lot of other weirdos out there!
What are your favourite London haunts? (to eat, to party, to be entertained)
Both the Royal Vauxhall Tavern and the Eagle London are my spiritual homes. They both put on amazing events all the time – both really friendly places, and very open and welcoming to a wide range of people.
Paul has a monthly 80s night at the Eagle called Athena that is my regular outlet for dancing like an idiot. Food wise, there’s an amazing stall in Lower Marsh that does a Pad Thai wrapped in an omelette that’s to die for.