'Pie in the Sky: Series 3'
(Richard Griffiths, Maggie Steed, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2010 / Acorn Media)
Overview: Henry Crabbe (Richard Griffiths - 'Harry Potter') continues to balance life as a part-time policeman with his duties as a part-time chef. Having opened a restaurant with his bean-counter wife (Maggie Steed - 'Harry Potter'), he hopes his days as a detective are numbered. But the early retirement he craves never seems to come, thanks to the machinations of his self-serving boss, Assistant Chief Constable Fisher (Malcolm Sinclair - 'Casino Royale'), who knows Crabbe is too good a cop to let go.
DVD Verdict: Britainís delectable 'Pie In The Sky' TV show ran for five series, and aside from being the name of the Crabbe restaurant, is also a great theory on how someone can run a successful restaurant and crime solve for the Police at the very same time!
That aside, and mysteriously with only six (6) episodes here in the third season to prove it, 'Pie in the Sky: Series 3' is as on form as ever; and is, at all times, high quality drama/comedy viewing for the entire family.
Before we tackle the episodes, did you know that the building in Hemel Hempstead that was used as Henry Crabbe's restaurant was a florist at the time of filming - but has now since become a restaurant named "Pie in the Sky" in real life?!
Anyway, in 'MONEY TALKS,' we open with Henry having a nightmare that the criminal mastermind, Hooperman (Michael Kitchen - 'Foyles War') who shot him at the beginning of the series, had come back and shot him again! Thankfully, not though, but he has other things on his plate. Like Steve and John having left the restaurant, the numbers are down, he needs to ask for another bank loan, and he needs a new Chef! Couple with that the fact he now has to take control of a stake-out of a local pizza place and Henry is close to breaking point!
In 'GAME PIE,' an episode opened by the glorious tones of Alison Moyet's 'Love Resurrection,' Henry loses/mislays the weeks takings and so has to take on a catering job (complete with his special Game Pie - venison, rabbit, pheasant) at a Pheasant Shoot - attended by his boss, ACC Freddy Fisher (Malcolm Sinclair). A killing happens in the woods - is Fisher a killer? Henry is ordered by the higher Brass there in attendance to find out whodunit. This comes with a very nice twist ending that I only saw coming right at the very end. Nicely played.
Admittedly, 'IRISH STEW,' is a very, very slowburner of a story - one about some hotel thefts and a man claiming to be someone that he turns out not to be. This story revolves around Margaret (Maggie Steed - 'Harry Potter') for most all its screen time, and she is as adorable as ever in the lead role. Back at the restaurant, Henry caters an Irish wedding - on that should have been for a happy occasion, but due to Margaret's Miss Marple act, takes a slight turn!
In 'DOGGETT'S COAT AND BADGE,' the brilliant Nicholas Ball ('Hazell') plays DCI Daggett, the right hand man to his retired Police boss Striker (Maurice Denham). One the hunt for a man that once stole something from them both some 30 years prior, that man, Rider (John Castle) is recognized by DCI Daggett - who is attending a cop retirement party booked at Henry's restaurant, of course! But, Rider is in witness protection, for why, we never quite find out, and so a game of cat-n-mouse reveals itself.
In 'THIS OTHER EDEN,' private gardens, with freshly-laid, exquisite front and back lawns, are being stolen back by in-the-dark thieves! Now, to be honest, who it was (partly) was 100% obvious from 15 minutes in, sorry! Anyway, we also get shown a new level to the Police force, that of The National Horticultural Division! They assist Henry in the solving of this case, that culminates in a) Margaret hiring the prime suspect, Toby Wellbeloved (Tim Dutton), b) said prime suspect doing a fantastic job on creating her outside garden for eating, c) and getting himself arrested for handling all the stolen goods that filled/created said outdoor garden at Henry's restaurant!
In the final episode, 'CODDLED EGGS,' (two words that, in my mind, should never be written next to each other!), a simple stolen car ring turns out to be something a little meatier. But, in this episode, both ACC Freddy Fisher and Henry are getting bossed around by a female! Fisher's is Det Supt Chalmers (Phyllis Logan), who is trying to get Henry fired and work her way up the internal ladder, and Henry's is Ms. Forelle (Serena Evans), a health/restaurant inspector; who is taking her job way too seriously! But, come the end, both men win their respective battles, and we can all sit back now and wait (slightly impatiently) for series 4 of this great series to hit DVD! These are all Full-Screen Presentations (1.33:1), but, and sadly, come with no Special Features.