Tuesday, 5 March 2019


Melbourne in the 1960s. Peregrine Fisher, niece of the famous Australian detective Phryne Fisher, wants to become a sleuth too.

The bottom line: Phryne Doesn't Live Here Anymore.

Based on the Phryne Fisher Mystery books by Kerry Greenwood, the popular Australian period detective drama Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries ran from 2012 to 2015 on pubcaster ABC. Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger (East of Everything) developed the adaptation within their prodco Every Cloud Productions. Essie Davis (The Slap, Cloudstreet) starred as The Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher, a young, beautiful and wealthy socialite with many skills and talents who also had a knack for solving crimes. The free-spirited and intrepid Phryne (pronounced "Fry-knee") couldn't resist investigating murder mysteries with her maid Dorothy "Dot" Williams (Ashleigh Cummings). She was always ahead of Detective Inspector John "Jack" Robinson (Nathan Page) and Constable Hugh Collins (Hugo Johnstone-Burt).

Her aunt Prudence Stanley (Miriam Margolyes) disapproved her dashing lifestyle but Miss Fisher and Dot could always count on communist cabbies Albert "Bert" Johnson (Travis McMahon) and Cecil "Cec" Yates (Anthony Sharpe). Phryne's aptly named butler Mr Tobias Butler (Richard Bligh) managed the household to perfection and knew some things about horse racing and weapons. Dr. Elizabeth "Mac" Macmillan (Tammy Macintosh) was her confidante and the young Jane Ross (Ruby Rees-Wemyss) was her ward. Though Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries enjoyed three successful series and was sold all over the world, it wasn't renewed and Every Cloud Productions went on to make a feature film. Its financing was completed thanks to two crowdfunding campaigns and production of Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears started in Fall 2018 for an Australian release in 2019.

Now the Miss Fisher franchise welcomes Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries, a spin-off series set in 1964 Melbourne and starring Geraldine Hakewill (Wanted) as Phryne's niece Peregrine Fisher. Commercial broadcaster Channel Seven aired Just Murdered, the first of four 90-minute TV movies, on February 21. Peregrine inherits from her aunt, whom she never knew, when the famous sleuth goes missing over Papua New Guinea. Phryne Fisher was a member of The Adventuresses' Club of the Antipodes, a group of exceptional women headed by Birdie Birnside. When a top model is murdered during a fashion show, Peregrine Fisher decides to follow the footsteps of her illustrious relative. Much to the bewilderment of Detective James Steed and the irritation of his boss, Chief Inspector Percy Sparrow.

Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries is totally deprived of the charm and the dynamism of its predecessor. There's zero chemistry between the substitute to the Phryne Fisher and Jack Robinson duo. The other characters struggle to be remotely interesting. The simple presence of Essie Davis reminded of Diana Rigg in The Avengers while this spin-off has to insist on the name of "Detective J. Steed" to establish a kinship. Though Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries aspires to capture the spirit of some Spy-Fi shows of the 1960s era it actually shares a lot of similarities with the more fun French period crime comedy-drama Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie (Agatha Christie's Criminal Games, in Australia on SBS). In North America both Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears and Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries will be exclusives of the SVOD service Acorn TV.

Also starring Joel Jackson (Detective James Steed), Catherine McClements (Birdie Birnside), James Mason (Eric Wild), Toby Truslove (Samuel Birnside), Louisa Mignonne (Violetta Fellini), Greg Stone (Chief Inspector Sparrow), Katie Robinson (Constable Fleur Connor), Libby Tanner (Florence Astor), etc. A Screen Australia, Seven Network and Film Victoria presentation produced by Every Cloud Productions. Exec produced by Fiona Eagger, Deb Cox and Julie McGauran. Deb Frey produces. Music composed by Burkhard Dallwitz, Brett Aplin and Dimitri Golovko. Cinematography by Kathy Chambers. Production designed by Ben Bangay. Costumes designed by Maria Pattinson. Created by Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger. Written by Deb Cox and directed by Fiona Banks.

http://www.ladyteruki.com/2019/02/26/swinging-melbourne/ (In French)

No comments: