Monday, 4 July 2016


Following the success of a film for television aired in March 2015 on German private channel Sat.1 (1), crime comedy Einstein is due to return this fall as a full 10-episode series. 

Actor and singer Tom Beck (Alarm für Cobra 11 - Die Autobahn Polizeï ) stars as Felix Winterberg, great-great grandson of Albert Einstein and scientific genius himself, who unwillingly ends up as a police consultant.

Felix "Einstein" Winterberg, aged 33, teaches theoretical physics at this university. He also works for CERN (2) and on a new source of energy based on dark matter. To stay active 21 hours a day he's an heavy user of amphetamines. When Felix learns that he has Huntington's disease (like his father) and will probably not live past age 40, he tries to empty the medicine chest of his doctor! Elena Lange, a cop, arrests him on the way to the hospital for her 8-year old son Leon, who needs a pacemaker.

After Winterberg unexpectedy proves himself to be useful to the police while under arrest, Elena's boss Tremmel blackmails the scientist to assist them about the explosion of a flat rented by presumed terrorists. Felix deduces that they were actually drug dealers and teams up with a reluctant Lange on the case. Someone tries to poison him, his computer is hacked, his turkish dealer (and good friend) is murdered and a mysterious asian agent steals his notes.

Far from being another procedural with the inevitable eccentric sleuth, Einstein (the TV movie) is surprisingly enjoyable. Thanks mainly to Tom Beck's irresistible performance as the flawed genius, both hilarious and (a little) touching. He's surrounded by a solid cast, starting with Annika Ernst as Elena Lange and the talented Rolf Kanies as Stefan Tremmel. South African-born actress Haley Louise Jones plays forensic specialist Kirsten Maybach.

Beck, who played Ben Jäger in Alarm für Cobra 11 from 2008 to 2013, is joined by two other familiar faces from the RTL show: Mark Keller (Weigert) and Katrin Heß as Felix's student Caro. Also starring Jonathan Jakobbson (Leon Lange), Laura Berlin, Constantin von Jascheroff, Hubertus Hartmann (University dean Middelberg), etc. Written by Matthias Dinter & Martin Ritzenhoff and directed by Thomas Jahn, Einstein doesn't take itself seriously at all. It's more fast-paced comedy than a copycat of Elementary, which is certainly better like that as TV wasn't in a desperate need for a new police consultant.

Produced by Zeitsprung Pictures for Sat. 1. Till Derenbach exec produces. Dominik Frankovski & Michael Souvignier are the producers. Music composed by Karim Sebastian Elias. Einstein is distributed by Red Arrow International (Der letzte Bülle). In France, private channel M6 aired the TV movie in September 2015 as Équations criminelles.

(1) We mentioned Einstein on this blog at the time  but didn't review it due to unforeseen circumstances.
(2) Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire. 

Thursday, 30 June 2016


Goodnight Mister Tom (1998) is a wonderful film for television based on a children's novel by English author Michelle Magorian first published in 1981. Starring the great John Thaw (Kavanagh QC, Inspector Morse), it is available on DVD in France since the end of last year thanks to Koba Films and L'atelier d'images.
At the beginning of World War II, children from London are evacuated to the countryside. Tom Oakley, a lonely and grumpy old man who lives in an English village, is forced to look after one of the evacuees: a 9-year old shy boy named William Beech. Tom finds out that William is beaten by his mother, an extremely religious woman. He provides him with new clothes and teaches him how to read and write when the village schoolteacher, Mrs Hartridge, learns the child's illiteracy.

Willie befriends a Jewish boy, Zacharias "Zach" Wrench, while Tom accepts to play organ at the church. Both are transformed by each other's presence. But soon after William's tenth birthday, Mrs Beech requests that her son returns to her in London as she claims to be ill. Left without news of the boy after one month, Oakley decides to travel to London. Produced by Carlton Television for ITV, Goodnight Mister Tom is a truly heartwarming adaptation of Michelle Magorian's classic written by Brian Finch (Coronation Street) and directed by Jack Gold (Escape from Sobibor, The Medusa Touch).

The 101-minute TV movie is blessed with an absolutely magnificent performance by John Thaw as Tom Oakley. Goodnight Mister Tom is another collaboration of the revered English actor with executive producer Ted Childs (Kavanagh QC, Inspector Morse, The Sweeney) (1) and producer Chris Burt (Inspector Morse). William Beech is played by Nick Robinson. Annabelle Apsion plays the quite frightening Mrs Beech. The music was composed by Carl Davis (Coming Home, Pride and Prejudice). Translated in 13 languages, the book was also adapted as a play and a musical.  

The DVD from Koba Films contains the original dialogue track (subtitled or not) and the French dubbing.

(1) The other executive producer of Goodnight Mister Tom is Children's TV producer Lewis Rudd.

Friday, 24 June 2016


We're accustomed to working on this blog under unfavorable circumstances but since a few months it's getting more and more complicated (really). Ironically it coincides with its relaunch last december.

Maybe we infuriated a deity with a negative review, or we're cursed, or we're the kind of person who gets a piano on his/her head when in the street. Or two pianos...

Anyway, pianos or not, we will go on with this little blog because your interest never declined. Thank you for this interest, your trust and your comprehension. Never give up, etc.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016


[Spoiler-Free] The chairman of the Ancombe parish council is found dead near the local wellspring. 

He was about to cast his vote over whether to allow the lorries of the Ancombe Water company an access to the water through the village.

Agatha Raisin is back on track after last week's lacklustre and quite worrying Hell's Bells. Directed by Paul Harrison (Trollied), The Wellspring of Death is adapted from M.C. Beaton's novel Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death (1998) by Stewart Harcourt. Agatha Raisin (Ashley Jensen) is ready to attend the pub quiz when Roy Silver (Mathew Horne) offers her a well-paid freelance PR gig... for Ancombe Water. She refuses but changes her mind when James Lacey and his new girlfriend Mary Fortune decide to investigate the death of the parish council chairman.

Aggie displays her PR magic to the Ancombe villagers and Ancombe Water boss Guy Freemont is under her spell. Jealous of Mary Fortune, she decides to find the killer before James and Mary, with the assistance of Gemma (Katy Wix). DCI Wilkes is inspired by Inspector Morse, which would be reassuring in some respects but his main suspect is a persian cat. James doesn't like to be Mary's "Watson". Agatha's product launch is ruined by a demonstration and another murder.

Everything you expect from the TV version of the Agatha Raisin books is in this excellent episode: Agatha and her London PR queen manners in the Cotswold equivalent of Midsomer County, her complicated love life, some rural comedy à la Doc Martin, the totally clueless cops, etc. The only one who truly believes he's in your average detective drama is DCI Wilkes (the fantastic Jason Barnett). English actor and singer Jules Knight (Holby City) is very good as Guy Freemont. Let's hope the rest of the series is like this episode.

Also with Jamie Glover (James Lacey), Matt McCooey (DC Bill Wong), June Watson (Mrs Josephs), Daisy Beaumont (Mary Fortune) and Ron Donachie, Elizabeth Hopper, etc. Produced by Mammoth Screen and Free@Last TV for Sky. Michelle Buck and Stewart Harcourt are the executive producers for Mammoth Screen. Barry Ryan and David Walton exec produce for Free@Last TV. Produced by Matthew Mulot. Music by Rupert Gregson-Williams and Christopher Willis. Titles by Light Creative. Distributed by Sky Vision.