Wednesday, July 8, 2009

BRITISH TV ~ PIE IN THE SKY!

BRITISH TV ~ PIE IN THE SKY!

HAS ANYONE SEEN THIS SERIES WHO CAN TELL ME IF IT’S WORTHWHILE?


Perfecting a recipe is like solving a crime, suggests Pie in the Sky, the clever British mystery series featuring sleuth-turned-chef Henry Crabbe (Richard Griffiths, The History Boys). After being shot by a notorious embezzler, Crabbe tried to retire from the police force so he could open a restaurant--but his weaselly superior officer, ACC Fisher (Malcolm Sinclair) blackmails him into remaining a detective.

Thus begins Crabbe’s dual career, which of course proves handy as mysteries feature everything from omelets to edible snails. He’s assisted at the restaurant by his wife, Margaret (Maggie Steed, Sensitive Skin), despite her maddening indifference to food; he’s assisted in his investigations by DS Cambridge (Bella Enahoro), who works for Fisher but whose sympathies lie with Crabbe.

Pie in the Sky has an excellent balance of suspense and humor, exemplified by the very first episode’s opening: The snappy banter of policemen on a stake-out turns abruptly taut when a car careens into their territory, then segues into an elegant and almost eery face-off between Crabbe and the embezzler (played with crisp malice by Michael Kitchen, Foyle’s War).

Some later episodes are more conventional, but odd narrative turns are a staple of the series (in one episode, it turns out a crime was never committed in the first place!).

Griffiths is probably best know as Uncle Vernon Dursley in the Harry Potter series, but others know him as lecherous Uncle Monty in Withnail and I--which only demonstrates this superb actor’s remarkable range. His approach to Crabbe is almost gentle, yet with a decisive, cunning undercurrent. The ten episodes of Pie in the Sky: Series 1 unfold like a well-made meal: Unexpected yet delightful flavors are revealed with each bite.

1 comment:

edgbastonben said...

Yes, it is. If only for Richard Griffiths performances.