Thank you so much for booking on one of my Original Murder Weekends. I am so pleased that you will be joining the many thousands of people in our ‘Murder Weekend Family’. It’s hard to believe this is the 138th new plot since we performed the very first Murder Weekend, on 30th October 1981, which eventually led to an innovative worldwide industry of interactive Murder Mysteries.
Blimey, nearly 38 years since I invented the concept of interactive Murder Weekends! I am incredulous to think that I’ve been here for so long and very happily spending so much of my time with such lovely actors and fabulous guests. What a super career I created for myself! What else could I do that would mean spending days laughing, screaming, fighting and causing mayhem in everyone’s lives?! I hope you love the new plot and enjoy all the many twists and turns that I promise there will be.
If this is your first time, we really hope that you thoroughly enjoy the experience and that we live up to your expectations. If you’ve been before, thank you so much for returning, welcome back and thank you for spreading the word!
Each Original Murder Weekend plot is based around a fictitious theme which is the vehicle to explain why a group of strangers would all meet up together in a hotel for the weekend. We hope that you, our very welcome guests, will enjoy playing along with the main characters in our plot. I always try to create a really fun theme where we can all stretch our imagination and become people that we’re not, both actors and guests – and I hope that I’ve come up with a theme where we can all really get involved.
Maggie Magarrity is the head of ‘One Big Happy Family Productions’, a well-respected TV production company who have made many reality shows for ITV, BBC and Netflix. Maggie, spurred on by the Davina McCall programme, ‘This Time Next Year’, has approached ITV and got the go-ahead for her new programme “Hearts and Minds”. They have advertised for people who are looking for love and would be prepared to let themselves be filmed finding a partner, then following them for a year and seeing how the relationship develops – or not – over the next 12 months. A little like ‘First Dates’, which is always very frustrating when people hit it off and the viewer doesn’t see how it develops, “Hearts and Minds” will follow these people to see how they get on. At the end of the year, the viewer will see how the whole process unfolded. They may have found love, perhaps excitingly got married and even have children on the way. Or if they split up immediately, we will see where they are now and how their quest for finding love has continued.
All of Maggie’s immediate family work for her in the company. Some are researchers, some cameramen and some have other roles, but all are experienced in getting the best out of people and are all trained to watch out for any sparks flying! They will then whittle down to the top 6 couples on the weekend, who will be featured in the programmes, going out in July/August 2020!
The reason the programme is called “Hearts and Minds” is because they try and match people together who are on an intellectual level, rather than just the physical, unlike Match.com and other dating websites and companies!
We thought all our guests could have so much fun with this theme. If you arrive with your wife, husband, partner or best friend, you can still pretend that you have applied for the show and have arrived looking for love. We thought all partners could pretend they’re strangers, but become attracted to each other over dinner, what a coincidence that they are sitting together (or did the matchmakers in the company engineer that the perfect match would be sitting right next to you! Best friends could be fighting over the same man, and husbands and wives can pretend that they are single and playing the field – only with joint consent – but back to being life-long partners once it’s bedtime – OBVIOUSLY!!
We always have a colour theme on Friday night and over the years we’ve done so many of the obvious colours. For this plot, it has to be red for love, so grab anything red in your wardrobe but I thought it would also be great if you could make or wear some hearts, whether it be a T shirt with a red heart badge on, or red heart fascinator or red heart bow tie. It’s weird but whenever I decide on a theme, I see it everywhere. I don’t know whether I just start noticing, or whether it’s a current trend, but I’ve seen so many ‘hearty’ things recently. There will be a prize for the best red outfit but also the best home-made heart whatever. Please don’t spend lots of money, as much as possible try and find things that you already have.
As usual, throughout the weekend, there will be some fun themed games, with prizes for the winning tables (but NOT for ‘Googlers’!!). None of them are complicated but just a light-hearted way to get you chatting to your fellow guests to break the ice and alleviate the stress on your brains from trying to make sense of the dastardly deeds – after all, if we were only sitting around talking about murder, it could get quite deep and dark and what we most enjoy on Murder Weekends is to laugh!
Nothing is compulsory on Murder Weekends, so if you’d rather sit out a game, go for a snooze or visit the Incident Room to study the evidence, that’s absolutely fine. But remember there is always quite a lot of action and we have to do that when all the guests are assembled. This is usually over mealtimes and also when we’re marking games, so even if you don’t play, do come back, otherwise you may miss something vital that’s related to the plot, like another murder! Timings will be in the timetable in your arrival pack.
On Saturday night, there will be a fun themed party. A few years ago we did an ‘F’ night, everyone had to come as something or someone that began with ‘F’ – it was so much fun as it was so diverse. So I thought I would replicate that great night by having an ‘L’ night – L is for Love, of course! So anything you fancy that begins with L.
You could come as famous Lovers – Mark Anthony & Cleopatra, Homer and Marge Simpson, J.F & Jacqueline Kennedy; you could wear lots of home-made green leaves and come as a lettuce; wear a brown sack, a belt and carry a light saber and come as Luke Skywalker; make yourself a lighthouse and have photos of your children – ‘Lighthouse Family’.
Often the most simple are the most subtle and ingenious, so don’t panic, you can do as much or as little as you want.
Please don’t hire anything unless you want to, we’d hate you to spend any money on what is, after all, just a bit of fun which always causes amusement and is a great photo opportunity for our guests. If you do get stuck, give Geri a ring at our office and she’ll help you with some ideas.
The Murder plot lasts for the entire weekend and the actors will be in character from the welcome reception on Friday night until the end of the summing up on Sunday. Over the course of the weekend there will be at least three murders in the complex plot and so that no one misses anything, they usually occur when everyone is together. Saturday morning is free and you won’t miss anything by going out shopping or visiting the local places of interest, but do pop in to the Police Incident Room to see the first pieces of evidence before you go out. Although the police will have announced on their arrival that no one is allowed to leave the hotel, I’m sure they’ll turn a blind eye!!
We know you’ll have a lot of fun no matter how you decide to play the game, but for those of you who want to solve the crime, I have enclosed some tips. Please read them as they will help. It is also a good idea to bring along a small notepad and pen to jot down conversations you overhear or evidence you think is important.
As we’ve already explained, the main reason for the plot theme is so we can all role-play and get involved, which adds to the realism of the characters and, consequently, the plot. If there’s anything that you’re unsure of before the weekend, please do not hesitate to ring us at the Murder Weekend office.
We very much look forward to meeting you on Friday at the Welcome Reception at 8.00pm, before dinner at 8.30 pm. We hope you have a marvellous time and manage to crack the case, which will be solved when the Detective makes an arrest at 12 noon on Sunday, before we check out at 12.30pm.