"Pie in the Sky Set 1, 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.
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 - Series 3  [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 five episodes at 49 minutes each are:
1 Undesirable Elements- Crabbe public relations assignment finds crime. 2 Passion Fruit Fool- Fisher vacations,Crabbe stirs in restaurant crime. 3 A Matter of Taste- Wine menu, and Margaret gets involved with crime. 4 Who Only Stand and Wait- Farm fresh veg's, mix with buried body parts. 5 Endangered Species- Crabbe gets set up, must he arrest Margaret?
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.
The DVD arrived promptly and in apparently good condition but as I had not understood that the DVD world is divided into regions, I was not able to play it as it is in Region 2 format and I require Region 4. However, Amazon responded to my query about this problem and has re-imbursed me for much of the amount spent. It would be helpful if this information could be included for people who are novices in this area.