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Tasty Goings On in the Kitchen,
This review is from: Pie In The Sky - Series 2 - Part 2 [DVD] (DVD)
"Pie in the Sky Series 2, Part 2" a British mystery television series that happily blends cookery and crime was made by the British Broadcasting Corporation. It is a police procedural/comedy/crime/drama that debuted on BBC1 in March 1994 and ran for five series. We get here the second half of the second season; however, be aware that the age of the underlying material may lead to some glitches in the product.
The show stars Richard Griffiths ( The History Boys [DVD] ; also he is 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 was awarded. He here 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."
Griffiths receives solid support from Maggie Steed (Shine On Harvey Moon - 25th Anniversary Edition [DVD] ), 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  [DVD]) as ACC Freddy Fisher, with whom Crabbe supposedly trained, and worked; and Bella Enahoro (Mister Johnson [DVD]) as the particularly charming and lovely D.S. Sophia Cambridge, also turn in excellent performances. There are also some distinguished guest stars: 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 episodes are:
1 BLACK PUDDING: The sharp-tongued, sometimes senile goings-on of a popular, influential older food writer, her memoirs, and greedy nephew, make for a particularly funny, warm-hearted mystery.
2 SWAN IN HIS PRIDE: Fisher sends Crabbe away to investigate a drowned female cop, while the restaurant kitchen drowns, due to burst water pipes.
3 THE MILD BUNCH: Crabbe's assigned search for the Coverly sisters, senior confidence girls/check bouncers, leads him also to track their secret, perfect bread & butter pudding recipe.
4 MYSTERY OF PIKEY: Teenage Pikey, not the sharpest knife in the drawer, is involved in local robberies, and must be caught, but "Pie's" chef needs him for the pike, as in the fish.
5 LEMON TWIST: Fisher, Cambridge, and Crabbe have a seminar weekend as the restaurant gets a rave newspaper review. Success proves to have its hilarious ups and downs.
The series was created by Andrew Payne, who has also written some of its best, strongest episodes. The mysteries are, by and large, as in the first series, intelligent, surprising, ingenious and original, and the cooking tips are helpful and fun. Mind you, the mysteries are mild: there isn't even a murder in this batch. There are hardly any car chases; in fact, we never even see Crabbe getting into, or out of a car, let alone running: the shows are evidently carefully crafted to respect his girth, and his dignity. The shows are entertaining and enjoyable - I like the byplay at the restaurant, and the cop shop, and think someone's been cooking up something tasty in that kitchen.