Friday, 25 April 2014


A police operation against smugglers goes bad for commissaire Laurence when he temporarily loses sight. Later, a young girl is drowned in an apple bobbing bucket during her school fete.

Laurence wants to catch the murderer and hides his blindness. Only Marlène, his devoted secretary, knows the truth but Alice Avril quickly discovers it and wants to be his "eyes" on the case.

« Alors, avoir envie de tuer et le faire sont des choses très différentes. Moi, par exemple, j'ai toujours envie de tuer mademoiselle Avril ici présente. »

Meurtre à la kermesse is the fifth episode of Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie ("Agatha Christie's little murders") with the Laurence/Avril detective duo in the late 1950s north of France. Directed by Eric Woreth, it is adapted from Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot novel Hallowe'en Party by scriptwriter, director and actor Jean-Luc Gaget (Highly Strung).

Samuel Labarthe, of the Comédie-Française, is commissaire Swan Laurence. Wannabe reporter Alice Avril is played by Blandine BellavoirÉlodie Frenck, who plays Marlène, won Best Young Actress at the La Rochelle Festival of TV fiction in 2013 for her role. She's now in the title sequence.

« Un chien d'aveugle qui a son permis de conduire. Mais où je vais trouver ça, commissaire? »

To add to his predicament, the cynical and misogynist commissaire is forced to team up once again with Alice (« Vous pensiez quoi, Avril? Que j'étais assez bête pour tomber dans le panneau. Ce parfum de jockey. Je n'en connais qu'une qui s'en asperge. » ). Young Luisa Ortega, the daughter of a Spanish refugee, wrote a composition telling how she witnessed a murder. Then someone killed her during the school kermesse of a small town.

Laurence and Avril investigate against the backdrop of a political rivalry and a disabled handyman makes a too obvious suspect. An "infiltration à l'Américaine" by Avril doesn't end well for the back seat of Laurence's beloved Facel-Vega Facellia. Marlène notes the "Mylène Demongeot haircut" on the photo of a missing woman (« J'adore Mylène Demongeot. Ma tante l'a croisée une fois aux Galeries Lafayette à Paris. » )

« Pierre Pataud, étranglé avec une chaussette. C'est possible ça? Ah oui, avec une chaussette de ski. » 

As usual, Dominique Thomas and François Godart play (respectively) commissaire divisionnaire Tricard and Robert Jourdeuil. Thomas Baelde returns as Raoul Gredin. Anne Loiret, Nicolas Bridet, Frédéric Épaud and Philippe Hérisson are amongst the guest cast of this excellent episode. Bridet played a different role in 2009 for the first episode of the Larosière/Lampion era of Le petits meurtres

Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie is produced by Escazal Films with Pictanovo, Conseil Régional Nord-Pas-de-Calais and the participation of France Télévisions, TV5 Monde and RTS Radio Télévision Suisse. Sophie Révil is the producer. The characters of Laurence and Avril were created by Sylvie Simon and Thierry Debroux. The music is by Stéphane Moucha.  

RTS Deux aired Meurtre à la kermesse on April 18, ahead of France 2.

Monday, 21 April 2014


Series 1 of the Spanish drama Grand Hotel (Gran Hotel) will be released this Wednesday on DVD in France by Koba Films.

The following week Koba will release the BBC 2011 adaptation of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, with Ray Winstone, Gillian Anderson, David Suchet and Douglas Booth.

The Wolf of Wall Street French R2 DVD will be available on Friday 25. The talented Tristan Harvey, who is the French-speaking voice of Leonardo DiCaprio in Quebec for this movie, kindly sent us the R1 DVD (released last month).

Reviews ASAP.

Monday, 7 April 2014


The third series of Sherlock, the BBC's contemporary adaptation of Sherlock Holmes by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, started last thursday in France on France 4.

Right after The Empty Hearse, the channel aired a most special treat for the Gallic fans: Sherlock: l'enquête, a 26-minute documentary made for the occasion.

Produced by 8 Art Média for France 4, Sherlock: l'enquête was conceived and written by Alain Carrazé and Romain Nigita. The documentary presents the origins of Sherlock, how Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman were cast as the duo Holmes/Watson, the adaptation work and "Baker Street". It also introduces the third series.

Sherlock: l'enquête features interviews with Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, director Toby Haynes (The Reichenbach Fall), actress Lara Pulver (Irene Adler) and  Thierry Saint-Joanis, president of the Sherlock Holmes Society of France. Gilles Morvan, the French dubbing voice of Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock, does the voice-over.

This interesting and well-made documentary is exec produced by Alain Carrazé, Franck Quintard and Romain Nigita. The music is by Gatane and Galite. The Empty Hearse was watched by 1.3 million viewers (5%) and Sherlock: l'enquête by 710.760 viewers (3.2%). The documentary of Alain Carrazé and Romain Nigita was followed by How Sherlock changed the world, a 2013 doc by Paul Bernays. (Making Of)

Thursday, 3 April 2014


Series 16 of Midsomer Murders, aired on ITV from last Christmas to mid-February, arrives this sunday in France on pubcaster France 3.

The latest Midsomer Murders series starts with a Christmas special, The Christmas Haunting (Frissons de Noël in French), whose sole interest is to introduce stage and TV actor Gwilym Lee as Charlie Nelson, the new DS of DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon). It also tries to give a proper exit to DS Ben Jones because actor Jason Hughes left after the previous series. Nelson looks like the little brother of Broadchurch's DI Alec Hardy and Lee quickly finds his feet.

DS Nelson is not the only change in this series as John's Wife Sarah, played by Fiona Dolman, is pregnant. Let Us Prey (Colère divine) is far better than the "special". Charlie tries to cope with lodging in the messy house of pathologist Dr Kate Wilding (Tamzin Malleson). There are some "medieval" murders and a severe flood alert. Rebecca Front (Lewis, another favourite of France 3's sunday nights) plays a scheming vicar vs the great Michael Jayston.

Though writers Rachel Cuperman and Sally Griffiths did the splendid "Hammer" episode for Series 15, boredom is the crime weapon in Wild Harvest. The rather decent The Flying Club, written by Michael Aitkens (The Dark Rider), has an elegant tribute to North by Northwest and two legends in the guest cast: June Whitfield and Bernard Cribbins.

The Killings of Copenhagen, the 100th Midsomer Murders, was filmed partly in Denmark. Ann Eleonora Jørgensen (Forbrydelsen) and Birgitte Hjort Sørensen (Borgen) are amongst the guest stars in this average episode centered around the murder of the boss of a Badger's Drift biscuit company on a business trip to Copengagen. There's also Sanjeev Bhaskar (The Kumars, The Indian Doctor) and a Willy Wonka-esque factory.

This sixteenth series is produced by Louise Sutton and exec produced by Jo Wright. Midsomer Murders is produced by Bentley Productions, an All3Media company, for ITV. Series 15 was released on DVD in France by Koba Films in January (

See also: (Review of Let Us Prey) (Series 15 French Region 2 DVD review)