Friday, 19 January 2018


Al Dorsey is a private eye from Tahiti who hates adventure and chose that job just because it looked "classe" when he watched movies of the 1950s.

This bumbling and anxious young man thinks that nothing serious ever happens on the island. Until a case of counterfeit money puts his fiancee in a terrible predicament.

The bottom line: Ted's Excellent Journey.

Al Dorsey, détective privé is a 6 x 52-minute detective series from Polynésie française (French Polynesia) commissioned by the Outre-Mer 1ère French overseas public network. It is based on the first two Al Dorsey books written by lyricist and novelist Patrice Guirao: Crois-le! (2009) and Lyao-Ly (2011) (1). Alban Casterman plays Tahiti private investigator Al Dorsey, whose real name is Édouard Tudieu de la Valière. The detective and his cop best friend Commissaire Sandona "Sando" Philibert  (Guillaume Ducreux), who's now Buddhist, go to the hospital. Al's fiancee Lyao-Li (Chloé Folliot de Fierville), wholly burnt by acid, is wrapped in bandages like a mummy. At the insistence of her mother, Al Dorsey consults Tamatua Orini, a Tahu'a (a Tahitian sorcerer).

The Tahu'a gives him a sample of a Ra'au, a traditional remedy which turns out to be very effective on what remains of Lyao-Li's right arm. But if Al wants more he'll have to bring the sorcerer two Tiki statuettes exposed at the Musée des Îles. In other words, he must commit a robbery in a museum whose curator is his own cousin. Worse, the security of the exhibition is provided by Sando himself. Besides, Mamie Gyani (Dadou Paille), Al Dorsey's mother, wants  "Doudou"  to help Jean Reaumard (Laurent Brissonaud). Jean, a TV show host from Paris, is looking for a man named Alexandre Leglise. Al Dorsey, détective privé is produced by Big Band Story and Merapi Productions with Les Films du Pacifique.

The series was filmed in Tahiti and Moorea from June to August 2016 with the support of the Ministère de la Polynésie Française and the participation of France Télévisions. More than 200 persons from Polynesia worked in the cast and crew. Written by Sydélia Guirao & Nassim Ben Allal and directed by Thierry Bouteiller (RIS Police Scientifique), the first detective drama "made in Tahiti" aired on Polynésie 1ère each week from September to October 2017. It was shown in metropolitan France by France Ô on December 5 and December 12 as 2 X 3 52-minutes episodes. Episodes 4 to 6 are adapted from Lyao-Li, the second novel.

Hardened by circumstances, Al begins a journey into the mysteries of local traditions to save his girlfriend at the risk of betraying his cousin and Sando. During this adventure he learns a couple of things about himself and his father. Alban Casterman and Guillaume Ducreux expand their characters with talent. Al Dorsey becomes an unlikely knight and the commissaire appears to be wiser than he seems. Thankfully, the quest of our anti-hero is not deprived of the humour displayed in the previous episodes. Produced by Thierry Bruant, Gilbert Di Nino, Benjamin Dupont-Jubien, Mehdi Sabbar, Clara Laplace and Frank Courvoisier. Hervé Boitelle exec produces. Cyril Colbeau-Justin and Jean-Baptiste Dupont are the associate producers.

Olivia Delplace is the assistant director. Cinematography by Laurent Dhainaut.  No composer is credited (unless we're mistaken) for the musical ambience between Trip hop, Jazz and the BBC series Hustle. Also starring Ione Lenoir (Tamatua Orini), Mate Iaou (Gilles), Julien Gué (Paupol), Benoît Barbier (Docteur Durol), Laurent Jacques (Infirmier), Nicole Edmunds (Simone), Vaihina Tapare (Paula), etc. Yves Edouard Malakai (Maui et Coco) plays Oscar. A good cast gives life to the engaging characters created by Patrice Guirao (2) in an enjoyable Tahitian pastiche/homage to the P.I. genre which gradually builds its own identity.

(1) Followed by Si tu nous regardes (2013) and Tu vois (released this month).
(2) Toti is definitely our favourite.

Review of Episodes 1 to 3 here:

(Amandine Attard contributed to this review) (Trailer) (The books)

Tuesday, 16 January 2018


Agatha Raisin will be back in 2018 but not on Sky 1.

PR turned sleuth Agatha Raisin first appeared in a series of mystery novels written by M.C. Beaton (the pseudonym of Marion Chesney), who's also the author of the Hamish Macbeth books. Penelope Keith played the character for BBC Radio 4 from 2004 to 2006. In 2014, Ashley Jensen (Ugly Betty, Extras) starred in the title role of Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, a fun, fast-paced and charming Christmas special aired on Sky 1

Following the success of The Quiche of Death, Sky commissioned a 8 X 60-minute series aired from June to July 2016. In France, Agatha Raisin was shown by pubcaster France 3 and Koba Films released it on DVD. Sky 1 chose not to commission a second series but streaming service Acorn TV has decided to order new episodes, based on three M.C. Beaton novels: The Wizard of Evesham, The Curious Curate and The Fairies of Fryham.

Ashley Jensen, Mathew Horne, Matt McCooey and Katy Wix will reprise their roles. all3media International (Midsomer Murders) will distribute the new series, except for English-speaking territories, which will be handled by Acorn Media International. Interestingly, the three stories will be available internationally as three 90-minute TV movies or six 45-minute episodes. The 90-minute format will be definitely better than 60-minute for this detective drama.

Monday, 15 January 2018


[Spoiler-Free "mini review"] Four world class players are in Saint Marie for the final of the Caribbean Poker Masters Tournament. and a pot of three million dollars. 

They sit around the table when one of them dies poisoned.

DS Florence Cassell (Joséphine Jobert) needs to rest her leg because of a sprain. So she can't investigate with DI Jack Mooney (Ardal O'Hanlon) and the team. Officer Dwayne Myers (Danny John-Jules) is temporarily promoted to detective because of his expertise in poker. He teaches a few things to Jack, who also learns some magic tricks... or at least he tries.

Commissioner Patterson (Don Warrington) expects DI Mooney to do a speech in front of his niece's lecture group. Dwayne is interested when he learns that it's composed of 13 nurses. Meatballs, glasses in a sock and Descartes are some of the other elements of this absolutely brilliant (and funny) episode written by Jake Riddell (Suspects, EastEnders) and directed by Stewart Svaasand. Tobi Bakare plays Officer J.P. Hooper. Catherine Bordey, played by Élizabeth Bourgine, is absent. 

Guest starring Theo Barklem-Biggs (Tatau, Kingsman: The Secret Service), Charlotte Beaumont (Broadchurch) as Adelaide, Mark Benton (The Halcyon) as Les Doyle, the legendary Nigel Planer and Nigel Whitmey. Created by Robert Thorogood, Death in Paradise is produced by Red Planet Pictures for the BBC. Joséphine Jobert had actually a week off during the filming of this episode, hence Florence's injured leg story.