Wexford and Burden: Circle of Lebanon
George Baker and Christopher Ravenscroft pictured on location at the Circle of Lebanon, Highgate Cemetery. Murder Being Once Done 1991.

“Michael Burden was properly of too high a rank to accompany a chief inspector on calls of inquiry. He did so because that was the way they worked, the way it worked…”

Michael Burden is the lean, gloomy inspector whose reactionary nature acts as a foil to Wexford’s more liberal and less judgmental take on life.

Wexford likens Burden to a character from Kafka who reluctantly finds himself the centre of dramatic events. Early in the series, Burden is widowed and has to learn to cope as a single parent. He nearly loses his job over an affair with a beautiful actress, and is stalked by a suspect before finally finding happiness with Jenny Ireland and her collection of murderous friends.

Christopher Ravenscroft: “Inspector Burden is somewhat pedantic and very logical - but he never solves the case - whereas Wexford does. I don’t particularly like him - because he is so judgmental and puritanical - but it makes him so interesting to play as he keeps getting his nose rubbed in it.

He started off as extraordinarily prudish and right wing. Then he gradually loosened up, partly because of what has happened to him. His first wife died, and that put him through the mill but gave him a real insight into life. He found he couldn’t control everything. He had made a success of his life but then discovered that he was not infallible. His second wife is a teacher, fairly left wing and a feminist, and this new situation has opened up possibilities he would never have imagined…”