Posted: 05/18/2009

 

Pie in the Sky: Series 1

(1994)

by Jef Burnham



Now available on DVD from Acorn Home Media


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Pie in the Sky is a British mystery series starring Richard Griffiths, who is probably best known to American audiences as Uncle Vernon from the Harry Potter movies. Griffiths stars as Henry Crabbe, a Detective Inspector mere weeks from retirement. In preparation for his retirement from the force, Crabbe, an avid chef in his spare time, has already begun to work on his restaurant, Pie in the Sky, when he is framed for various criminal acts by a notorious thief. At the risk of being indicted with heavily incriminated evidence against him, Harry is forced to remain on active duty, solving crimes for his political ladder-climbing boss, Assistant Chief Constable Fisher, whilst trying desperately to keep his restaurant afloat.

Pie in the Sky is more akin to a Rosemary and Thyme rather than the work of Agatha Christie in that there is heavy emphasis on Harry’s culinary side toward which he leans. Yet, no matter how deadest he is against taking on particular cases, his detective instincts always get the better of him. The primary differences between this and the aforementioned Rosemary and Thyme are that the cases do not always involve murder, and, sadly, the culinary arts rarely play a part in the solution of the cases, whereas all the murders in Rosemary and Thyme involve horticulture in one way or another. As such, the show rarely succeeds in creating a cohesive piece, jumping between murders or capital offenses and the daily troubles of running a restaurant, such as your assistant chef cutting his hand. Though the restaurant scenes are what carry and make the show, they hardly seem relevant to the bigger picture.

This 3-disc set, now available, includes all 10 hour-long episodes of the first series. Special features include a biography of Griffiths and an interview with Griffiths’ co-star, Maggie Steed. Steed stars as Harry’s accountant wife, who, much to Harry’s constant dismay, has a disturbingly common palate.

Jef Burnham is a writer and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. While waging war on mankind from a glass booth in the parking lot of a grocery store, Jef managed to earn a degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, and is now the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com.



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