Thursday, 28 November 2019


[Favourite of the Month] A British police officer teams up with a German cop under the sun of Mallorca in this stylish and fun new drama.

Mallorca is the largest of the Balearic islands, a Spanish archipelago in the Mediteranean sea. It's one of the favourite destinations of tourists from the U.K. and, most of all, Germany. Mallorca is even nicknamed "the 17th German federal state". The Mallorca Files is a detective drama set on the island and commissioned for BBC One's daytime, home of Father Brown and Shakespeare & Hathaway: Private Investigators.

Created by British scriptwriter Dan Sefton (The Good Karma Hospital, Trust Me), who's the showrunner and main writer, the 10 x 45-minute series is produced by Cosmopolitan Pictures and Clerkenwell Films with BBC Studios, BritBox, (France Télévisions) and Germany's ZDF Neo. This international partnership allowed a prime time budget. Honour Amongst Thieves, the fast-paced premiere episode, was penned by Dan Sefton and directed by Bryn Higgins.

Miranda Blake, an uptight Detective Constable from the London Metropolitan Police, is in Mallorca to escort gang lord Niall Taylor back to England. They are ambushed at the airport and Taylor is shot dead. DC Blake takes some days off to find out who set them up. Police Chief Ines Villegas obliges her to collaborate with Max Winter, a laid-back detective from Munich working for the German division of the Mallorca police. He drives an old BMW and procedure isn't his forte.

Niall Taylor and his gang were behind a spectacular robbery but Taylor was about to testify against his accomplices. From a golf field to a funeral, Miranda and Max try to work together. The Mallorca Files stars Welsh actress Elen Rhys (The Bastard Executioner) as Miranda Blake and Vienna-born actor Julian Looman (Pagan Peak/Der Pass) as Max Winter. Their perfect on-screen chemistry is the key element of a thoroughly devised sunny take on the unlikely sleuth duo.

Effective and funny, The Mallorca Files is a brilliant encounter between Death in Paradise (or Dempsey and Makepeace) and German crime dramas. It also reminds of Moonlighting and Hustle. Other regular cast members are María Fernández Ache (Ines), Nacho Aldeguer (Isabel) as pathologist Federico Ramis, Tábata Cerezo (Carmen Lorenzo), Denis Schmidt (Max's best friend Christian) and Carlos Olalla (The Time in Between) as Joan Lorenzo.

The talented Aidan McArdle (Maigret, Mr Selfridge) guest stars as Niall Taylor. Tanya Moodie (A Discovery of Witches, Sherlock) is fabulous as Superintendent Abbey Palmer. Denise McCormack (Stella), Tanya Reynolds (Claire), Robbie Gee (Freddie Case) and Robert Cavanah (Tony Rogan) are the other guest stars of Episode 1. Exec produced by Ben Donald, Dan Sefton and Murray Ferguson. Produced by Dominic Barlow. Michael Robins is the line producer.  

Charlie Mole (Mr Selfridge) is the composer of the excellent soundtrack. Surrender, the catchy main title song, and Time on our side, the end title, are performed by Anna Ross. Both were written by Charlie Mole. Cinematography by Jan Jonaeus. Edited by Mark Davis. Titles by Huge Designs. Filmed entirely on location in Mallorca with the help and support of the Illes Ballears Film Commission and the Mallorca Film Commission. Production services by Finca Producciones SPA and Palma Pictures.

The other writers of The Mallorca Files are Dan Muirden, Alex McBride, Rachael New and Sarah-Louise Hawkins. The other directors are Charlie Palmer, Gordon Anderson and Rob Evans. A second series has been commissioned before the start of the first on Monday 25 November. All the episodes of Series 1 are available on BBC iPlayer for U.K. viewers. The Mallorca Files will be aired in prime time in Germany and France (on France 2).

Special thanks to Chris Charlton. (Anna Ross)

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Wednesday, 13 November 2019


Commissaire Magellan and Lieutenant Berrayah meet Christophe Barbier.

The bottom line: The one without the red scarf.

Created by Laurent Mondy (Les Cordier, juge et flic), Commissaire Magellan was launched on France 3 in 2009. Produced by Jean Luc Azoulay's JLA Productions with France Télévisions and set in the fictional northern town of Saignac, it stars Jacques Spiesser as Commissaire Simon Magellan. Selma Kouchy plays Lieutenant Selma Berrayah, his deputy. The other regulars are Nathalie Besançon as Magellan's companion Florence Higel (a journalist for the local paper La Sentinelle), Franz Lang as Simon's nephew Ludo and Marie de Stefano as Cordelia (the commissaire's younger daughter).

Commissaire Magellan is part of the very popular French crime drama line-up of France 3 and even crossed over twice with Mongeville, another hit of the channel (in 2016 and 2018). Written by Anton Voyl and directed by Stephan Kopecky, La nébuleuse d'Orion is the 33rd episode of the series. Grégoire Laroche, an eminent astrophysicist, is stabbed at the observatory of the Saignac University. Magellan and Selma investigate amongst his colleagues and students. Cordelia wants to invite a friend named Valentin for her 16th birthday.

The writers and the producers of Commissaire Magellan manage to keep fresh a proven formula. Jacques Spiesser is always brilliant as the debonair (and sarcastic) detective of France's answer to Midsomer Murders (1). The comic relief of this excellent episode is not provided as usual by Ludo's antics but by Cordelia's crush, who's ultra-conservative, and his completely different cousin. Press and television political columnist Christophe Barbier, known for his red scarf and his economically liberal/macronist views, appears as recteur Antoine Dutilleux.

Acting (particularly theatre) happens to be Christophe Barbier's passion. He's currently on stage in L'un de nous deux - Mandel/Blum and his portrayal of an unflattering character in La nébuleuse d'Orion is actually rather good. He previously played in two episodes of Munch for TF1. Also with Nicolas Grandhomme (Jérôme Morel), actor and scriptwriter Stephan Guérin-Tillié as Grégoire Laroche, Isabelle Renauld (Hélène Laugier), Geoffroy Thiebaut (Mathieu Laugier), Linda Hardy (Juliette Morel), Delphine Lacheteau (Diane Laugier), etc. 

Produced by Richard Berkowitz. Exec produced by Bernard Paccalet. Jean-Marie Aumont is the production manager for JLA. Elizabeth Bonnay is the production manager for France Télévisions. Music by Frédéric Porte. Cinematography by Jonny Semeco. Filmed in the Département du Nord. Commissaire Magellan is available in the U.S. on VOD service MHZ Choice under the title Magellan.

(1) With touches of Les cinq dernières minutes, Navarro (another production of Jean-Luc Azoulay) or even Derrick.

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