Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Introducing the unflappable Miss Fisher


Introducing the unflappable Miss Fisher

In February I did a blog post centred around The Mrs Bradley Mysteries, the short-lived 1999 Twenties-set murder-mystery series starring Dame Diana Rigg, which was being shown again on B.B.C. Four and which inspired me to purchase the DVD box set.

At the time I remarked on how it was a shame the series was not a great success when first broadcast and that there were no more than 5 episodes, with nothing else quite like it coming along since.  Well now there is a new murder-mystery drama that to these eyes has a lot [of good] in common - Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.  The catch?  It's only broadcast in Australia!

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A fairly recent creation (1989), Phryne Fisher looks to be very much the home-grown Australian heroine but in many respects is much like Ariadne Bradley - perhaps even a younger version of her.  The protagonist in seventeen books (so far), which have already been picked up and turned into a 13-episode series by Australian broadcaster ABC1, she is somewhat reminiscent of both Mrs Bradley and also the earlier Tuppence Beresford from the 1980s series Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime (Tommy & Tuppence).

Unlike both those two series, however, Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries appears to have been a great success in its native country.  It is also rather interesting in that it is set in 1920s Australia, and this seems to have attracted viewers keen to connect with this period of their nation's history.  (If any Australian readers would care to pass comment, I'd be interested to know if I've called it right, and what you think of the series).  I don't know about you, but I'd be interested in the setting too - we see and read so much about Twenties America, Twenties Britain, even Twenties Europe yet comparatively little about Twenties Australia.  A programme set in that time period in Australia would go some way towards filling that void, I feel sure.

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Neighbours and Home and Away are both great export successes for Australian television and I from what little I've seen I see no reason why Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries shouldn't be as well.  We all know vintage and retro is riding the crest of a worldwide wave at the moment and I'm sure that any cultural references that might exist in the programme wouldn't detract from it or spoil our enjoyment of it.  Come on, ABC Television - send Miss Fisher abroad, it looks positively topping!

8 comments:

  1. I still love the MBM series- I even found myself not watching the ones on TV so I could eek them out and watch them by DVD instead. Do you remember The Cazalets? I seem to remember I like it as a child, oh, and Campion!
    T x

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    1. I did the same with the MBM series (the DVDs arrived before the run ended)! I've got the Campion box set too. Don't remember The Cazelets, though... How about The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries, or the Lord Peter Wimsey series as well?

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  2. Very exciting! We will have to keep an eye out if they will be allowing full episodes to be shown on the internet like some of the large television companies do here in the states.

    Thank you for this post, most entertaining. :)

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  3. Oh, those look terrific fun. Perhaps it'll come to Alibi; they broadcast the Murdoch Mysteries, which are Canadian, so they might show these ones as well.

    Also, Bruce, thank you very much for recommending Village Hats. I bought my husband a summer-weight canvas fedora from them for his birthday and he loves it.

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  4. I absolutely LOVE this show (I'm Australian, by the by) - it's by no means entirely historically accurate (as the persnickety folk on the ABC forums like to quabble over - oh, that plane didn't exist until the '30s, there was no banjo like that in the '20s! and so on) but as the books were written in the '80s/'90s as, no doubt, homages to the cosy murder mysteries of the '20s & '30s the TV adaptations are looking back to books that looked back, if that makes sense. (Of course, I actually have fun picking things out that I feel are inaccurate but that's part of my enjoyment of the show). I don't know a whole lot about Melbourne in the 1920s so I'm not sure if it accurately represents the vibe of the time (but it's touched on things like immigration, etc.) but the show is just so much fun. It's the perfect blend of great actors hamming it up (but not going overboard) and having a whole lot of fun doing it, no doubt. And it's just SO refreshing to see a great Australian show that's a murder mystery (well, it's refreshing to see a great Australian show at all to be honest). It doesn't seem often that Australian shows make it overseas though with the exceptions of Neighbours and Home & Away but there are a few downloads on torrent sites that I've seen for anyone desperate to see it.
    -Andi x

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Andi! It's good to hear the opinion of someone who has both seen and appreciated it. I'm pleased to hear that it is so good and so popular.

      I wouldn't worry about historical inaccuracies, they haven't stopped Downton Abbey - Britain's period drama of the moment - from being a huge success (have you seen it/do you get it over there?).

      Hopefully the reception Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries has received might mean it will find its way overseas but I will keep my eye out for torrents in the meantime. Thanks!

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    2. Yes, it seems to be doing quite well I think :)

      No, they don't bother me very much so long as the overall feel and quality of the show is what I'm after. I've seen the first series of Downton Abbey (it took me a while to get into it) but still haven't caught up with it. We did have it on TV but I missed it. Oops.

      I hope so too! It will be nice to show we can offer more than soaps (though I do love Neighbours, anyway.) :)

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