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5.0 out of 5 stars The Cookery Tips Are Always Helpful, 26 Feb 2010
Stephanie De Pue (Carolina Beach, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Pie in the Sky: Series 1 [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
"Pie in the Sky Series 1," a British mystery television series that happily mixes cooking and crime, was made by the British Broadcasting Corporation. It is a comedy/crime/drama that debuted in March 1994 and ran for five series. It now comes to us as a 3 volume boxed DVD set, comprising ten episodes that run approximately 488 minutes, plus an 18-minute bonus program. And, among the usual bonuses, subtitles: bless us who are a bit hearing-challenged.

The show stars Richard Griffiths (a Tony-winner on Broadway for "The History Boys," also the film of the same name, The History Boys [DVD] [2006]; he's also featured in the Harry Potter films); and make no mistake about it, along with his everyman looks, the man can act. I saw him in "The History Boys" on New York's Broadway, and his performance certainly rated that Tony. He plays Detective Inspector Henry Crabbe, an intelligent, sensible, mild-mannered man, who, after 25 years on the force, has lost his hunger for what the job can provide, and is ready to pack it in and open his own restaurant, "Pie in the Sky." But the police force isn't ready to let him go. So he bounces back and forth, cooking delectable steak and kidney pies, and solving crimes. "The Times [U.K.]" describes the show as "as much a pleasure for culinary enthusiasts as it is for crime fans," and, by Jove, I think they've got it.

Griffiths receives solid support from Maggie Steed (Shine On Harvey Moon - 25th Anniversary Edition [DVD] [1982]), as Margaret, his accountant wife, who's not all that pleased at suddenly finding herself a restaurateur. The rest of the company, led by Malcolm Sinclair (Casino Royale [2006] [DVD]) as ACC Freddy Fisher, with whom Crabbe trained, and worked; and Bella Enahoro (Mister Johnson [DVD]), as the particularly lovely D.S. Sophia Cambridge, also turn in excellent performances. There are also some distinguished guest stars: Michael Kitchen (Foyle's War - The Complete Collection (Series 1-5) [DVD] [2002] ); Andy Serkis (The Lord Of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy [DVD] [2003] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] ); Pete Postlethwaite (In the Name of the Father [DVD] [1994]), and Julian Fellowes (Monarch Of The Glen - Series 1-7 [DVD]), among others. The BBC hasn't stinted on extras; streets and cop shops bustle as they should. Nor has the BBC stinted on location filming: the fictional restaurant "Pie in the Sky," was located on the Old Town High Street in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, in premises that were then a florist, but have since become a restaurant called "Pie in the Sky."

The ten episodes at 49 minutes each are:
1 The Best of Both Worlds- Crabbe gets shot, his retirement delayed.
2 The Truth Will Out- Restaurant begins, along with police corruption.
3 An Innocent Man- Many food regulars, but one needs investigated.
4 Once a Copper- Seafood menu time, & a dead man returns.
5 A Shot in the Dark- Red herring and smuggling make a mixed menu.
6 Undesirable Elements- Crabbe public relations assignment finds crime.
7 Passion Fruit Fool- Fisher vacations,Crabbe stirs in restaurant crime.
8 A Matter of Taste- Wine menu, and Margaret gets involved with crime.
9 Who Only Stand and Wait- Farm fresh veg's, mix with buried body parts.
10 Endangered Species- Crabbe gets set up, must he arrest Margaret?

They are, by and large, ingenious and original, and the cookery tips are always helpful.
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Pie in the Sky: Series 1 [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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