Sunday, 21 June 2020

AGATHA RAISIN - SERIES 3, EPISODES 3 & 4: LOVE FROM HELL & AS THE PIG TURNS (ACORN TV)

The third series (four 90-minute episodes) of British mystery comedy-drama Agatha Raisin premiered on U.S. streaming service Acorn TV between Autumn 2019 and Winter 2020. 

Ashley Jensen (Catastrophe, Ugly Betty) plays the title role, an ex-London PR queen turned private investigator. 

In Love from Hell, James (Jamie Glover) vanishes after a row with Agatha about a young woman named Melissa Shephard. Melissa is found dead in Aggie's cottage and James becomes a fugitive. The detective teams up with James' sister Sheila Barr in spite of their enmity. Sir Charles (Jason Merrells) and Toni (Jodie Tyack) meet John Dewey, one of Melissa's ex-husbands and the weird owner of a vintage toy shop. DC Bill Wong (Matt McCooey) prepares his sergeant's exam. Mrs Boggle (Marcia Warren) is Carsely's Dirty Harry. Sarah (Lucy Liemann) knows what is a bong. DCI Wilkes (Jason Barnett) has a new friend.

Although Roy Silver (played by Mathew Horne) is missed, this episode written by Chris Niel is another moment of fun in an impeccable third series. Caroline Langrishe (Judge John Deed, Lovejoy) returns as Sheila for the first time since Agatha Raisin and The Quiche of Death (2014), the pilot of Agatha Raisin. Also with Kelly Adams (Mr Selfridge, Hustle) as Melissa, Robert Daws (Mayor Ted Huxley), Rosie Day (Karen Sheppard), Richard Glover (John Dewey), Sally Scott (Julia), Jo Dow (Dr. Henderson) and singer/actress Katy Baker (Lady Day). Directed by Audrey Cooke.

Series 3 concludes with As the pig turns, a fireworks penned by crime drama virtuoso and regular Agatha Raisin scriptwriter Chris Murray (Van der Valk, Midsomer Murders). The gang relaxes at the local winter fayre but the big unveiling of the hog roast ends up in a sinister manner. Bill is a sarge so DCI Wilkes tells him to stop "fraternizing with the natives". Toni takes driving lessons and she makes very special cakes (1). Sarah discovers a new colour, that she calls... "Conté". Roy is back and he loves likes bisons.

Also with Gerry McLaughlin (PC Billy Tulloch), Marc Bannerman (PC Gary Beech), Dritan Kastrati (Cezary Marciniak),  Aleksy Komorowski (Tycjan Marciniak), John Hopkins (Tom 'Bunchie' Richards), Nancy Carroll (Fiona Richards), Linette Beaumont (Amy Beech), Frankie Beesley, Maya Nascimento and Katy Baker (Lady Day - Radio). Directed by Matt Carter. Produced by Free@Last TV and Company Pictures (an All3Media company). Co-produced by Acorn Media Enterprises (a division of RLJ Entertainment, Inc.).  

Barry Ryan and David A. Walton exec produce for Free@Last TV. Michele Buck exec produces for Company Pictures. Catherine Mackin exec produces for Acorn Media Enterprises. Produced by Guy Hescott. Co-produced by Ian Strachan. Music composed by Evan Jolly. Theme composed by Rupert Gregson-Williams. Cinematography by James Moss. Editing by Rob Platt (Love from Hell) and James Hey (As The Pig Turns). Titles by Light Creative. Distributed by All3Media International, except for English-speaking territories which are handled by Acorn Media International. Based on novels by M.C. Beaton.

(1) And someone remembered that Toni has a photographic memory.

https://www.katybakeractress.co.uk/

See also:

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

VAN DER VALK - SERIES 1, EPISODE 3: DEATH IN AMSTERDAM (ITV)

Marc Warren (Beecham House, Hustle) stars in the title role of Van der Valk, a 3 x 90-minute crime drama which aired this spring in the U.K. on ITV.

« I thought Van der Valk had the monopoly on cynicism in this office. »
 
Van der Valk
is based on a character created by Nicolas Freeling (1927-2003), an English novelist who spent most of his life in continental Europe and admired Belgian author Georges Simenon. Simon "Piet" Van der Valk, a cynical and intuitive Amsterdam police commissioner married to a French woman named Arlette, appeared in 11 books from 1962 to 1989. The "Dutch Maigret" was popularized by the Thames Television series Van der Valk (1972-1973, 1977, 1991-1992) starring Barry Foster. Composed by Jack Trombey (1) and played by the Simon Park Orchestra, its theme music (called Eye Level) became #1 in the UK charts in 1973.

Filmed entirely in Amsterdam last year, Van der Valk is produced by Company Pictures (Agatha Raisin) with Dutch company NL Film (Penoza), Germany's ARD Degeto (Der Donnerstags-Krimi), Masterpiece (United States) and All3Media International. Scriptwriter Chris Murray (Agatha Raisin, Midsomer Murders), who exec produces with Michele Buck and wrote the three episodes, brings back the detective for a modern and international audience. One of the notable changes of this new series concerns Arlette Van der Valk. Dutch director Jean van de Velde helmed Death in Amsterdam, the third episode.

Ed Loman, a fashion vlogger/influencer, is murdered and his eyes are sewn. Intrigued by a graffiti signed "Omega 616", Van der Valk  investigates with his team in the hip world of the ethical and ecologically sustainable clothing brands. Inspector Lucienne Hassell (Maimie McCoy) notices that the Commissaris looks preoccupied. An adversary from Piet's past wants to take revenge on him and Chief Commissaris Julia Dahlman (Emma Fielding). Sergeant Brad de Vries (Luke Allen-Gale) looks for "the invisible man". Hendrik Davie (Darrell D'Silva) keeps an eye on Julia and Lieutenant Job Cloovers (Elliot Barnes-Worrell) saves the day.

« Stat man's got a hobby. Who knew? »

Death in Amsterdam is a splendid conclusion to this first series of Van der Valk masterfully crafted by Chris Murray. An impressive shootout at the REM Eiland restaurant and a big reveal about Piet Van der Valk are the highlights of the episode. Murray's fresh take on the classic British TV detective works brilliantly. Marc Warren is great as the moody commissioner amongst an excellent regular cast (especially Elliot Barnes-Worrell). The talented composer Matthijs Kieboom (Master Spy) did a perfect job with the soundtrack. His superb theme intro, entitled Dutch Detective, and a magnificent piece called Arlette both nod to Eye Level.

Also with Mike Libanon (Cliff Palache), Peter Van Heeringen (Frank), Frieda Barnhard (Agatha Vos) and Christina Cole (Heidi Berlin), Tom York (Dani Nioh), Saman Amini (Chacko Moghadam), Claire Bender (Mila de la Parra), Marieke Heebink (Claudia Cabrera), Maarten Heijmans (Gustav Schneider), etc. Produced by Keith Thompson. David Swetman and Louise Pedersen exec produce for All3Media International. Ronald Versteeg, Kaja Wolffers and Sabine Brian co-produce for NL Film.  Alexander Blaauw and Pascalle Kleingeld are the line producers.

Ian Strachan is the head of production. Cinematography by Willem Helwig. Editing by Sandor Soeteman. Jaap Hoek is the art director. Production designed by Alfred Schaaf. Main title sequence designed by Planet X Title Design. Production supported by the NL Film Incentive. Distributed by All3Media International, Van der Valk is aired in Germany on Das Erste as Kommissar Van der Valk. France 3 will show the series in France.

(1) A pseudonym of Dutch composer Jan Stoeckart (1927-2017). 

http://dramaquarterly.com/walk-the-valk/
https://www.remeiland.com/en/ (The REM Eiland restaurant)
https://www.matthijskieboom.com/
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1436726/Nicolas-Freeling.html

See also:

https://tattard2.blogspot.com/2020/06/van-der-valk-series-1-episode-2-only-in.html (Episode 2)
https://tattard2.blogspot.com/2020/04/van-der-valk-series-1-episode-1-love-in_30.html (Episode 1)

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

VAN DER VALK - SERIES 1, EPISODE 2: ONLY IN AMSTERDAM (ITV)

Marc Warren (Beecham House, Hustle) stars in the title role of Van der Valk, a 3 x 90-minute crime drama which aired this spring in the U.K. on ITV.

« You like certainty, don't you? You're very black and white. I can relate to that. »

Van der Valk is based on a character created by Nicolas Freeling (1927-2003), an English novelist who spent most of his life in continental Europe and admired Belgian author Georges Simenon. Simon "Piet" Van der Valk, a cynical and intuitive Amsterdam police commissioner married to a French woman named Arlette, appeared in 11 books from 1962 to 1989. The "Dutch Maigret" was popularized by the Thames Television series Van der Valk (1972-1973, 1977, 1991-1992) starring Barry Foster. Composed by Jack Trombey (1) and played by the Simon Park Orchestra, its theme music (called Eye Level) became #1 in the UK charts in 1973.

Filmed entirely in Amsterdam last year, Van der Valk is produced by Company Pictures (Agatha Raisin) with Dutch company NL Film (Penoza), Germany's ARD Degeto (Der Donnerstags-Krimi), Masterpiece (United States) and All3Media International. Scriptwriter Chris Murray (Agatha Raisin, Midsomer Murders), who exec produces with Michele Buck and wrote the three episodes, brings back the detective for a modern and international audience. One of the notable changes of this new series is the absence of Arlette Van der Valk.

Piet Van der Valk lives on a sailing barge and holds his briefings in a café. He leads a team composed of Inspector Lucienne Hassell (played by Maimie McCoy), his second-in-command and close friend, the laid-back Sergeant Brad de Vries (Luke Allen-Gale) and the young Lieutenant Job Cloovers (Elliot Barnes-Worrell) - who's eager to impress and likes stats. Their boss is the Chief Commissaris Julia Dahlman (Emma Fielding). Hendrik Davie (Darrell D'Silva) is the hard-drinking, full-mouthed pathologist.

A young woman named Aamina Jabara is murdered in a hotel room and her wound is very peculiar. A strange notebook leads Commissaris Van der Valk and Inspecteur Hassell to a museum the victim regularly visited because of an interest for mysticism and religious erotica. Aamina worked as a nurse in a drug addiction clinic. A nun shared with her the same interest for religious erotica. The family issues of the Jabaras disrupt the investigation to an unexpected level.

Only in Amsterdam is basically an episode of Midsomer Murders or Lewis (Chris Murray worked on both) in the Dutch capital with some action, a bit of humour and nice twist and turns. The friendship between Piet and Lucienne gets developed. We learn (a bit) more about Dahlman and Brad provides the comic relief. Job is definitely the most likeable character. Of course, the locations are beautifully filmed by director Max Porcelijn and cinematographer Coen Stroeve.

With Taj Atwal (Aamina & Zafira Jabara), Juliet Aubrey (Sister Joan Pauwels), Tim Dutton (Klaas Gilbert), Taheen Modak (Zaim Jabara), Paul Tylak (Talib Jabara), Eva Marie de Waal (Femke de Haan), Teun Kuilboer (Otto Nelissen), Mike Libanon (Cliff Palache), Martijn Nieuwerf (Lionel Veith), Martijn Oversteegen (Spike), Anniek Pheifer (Janneke Paulis) and Jeroen Spitzenberger (Isaak Graaff).

Produced by Keith Thompson. David Swetman and Louise Pedersen exec produce for All3Media International. Ronald Versteeg, Kaja Wolffers and Sabine Brian co-produce for NL Film.  Alexander Blaauw is the line producer. Ian Strachan is the head of production. Music composed by Matthijs Kieboom. Editing by Annelies van Woerden. Jaap Hoek is the art director. Production designed by Alfred Schaaf. Main title sequence designed by Planet X Title Design.

Production supported by the NL Film Incentive. Distributed by All3Media International, Van der Valk started this week in Germany on Das Erste as Kommissar Van der Valk. France 3 will show the series in France.

(1) A pseudonym of Dutch composer Jan Stoeckart (1927-2017). 

https://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2020-04-24/van-der-valk-itv-locations-amsterdam/
https://www.matthijskieboom.com/
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1436726/Nicolas-Freeling.html

See also:

https://tattard2.blogspot.com/2020/04/van-der-valk-series-1-episode-1-love-in_30.html (Episode 1)