Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries

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Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.jpg
Genre
Created by
Starring
Theme music composer Greg J Walker
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 26 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Deb Cox
  • Fiona Eagger
  • Christopher Gist
  • Carole Sklan
Producer(s)
  • Deb Cox
  • Fiona Eagger
Location(s) Melbourne, Victoria
Cinematography Roger Lanser
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) Every Cloud Productions
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Picture format 576i
720p (HDTV)
Audio format Dolby Digital 5.1
Original run 24 February 2012 – present
External links
Website

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is an Australian television drama series. It was first broadcast on Australian Broadcasting Company on 24 February 2012. The series is based on author Kerry Greenwood's novels and was created by Deb Cox and Fiona Eagger. Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries revolves around the personal and professional life of Phryne Fisher (Essie Davis), a glamorous private detective in 1920s Melbourne. The first thirteen-part series was filmed over a six-month period in and around Melbourne from July 2011 and each episode had a budget of $1 million. The drama has been bought by 120 territories worldwide. A second series was commissioned in August 2012 and filming began in February 2013. The series began airing from 6 September 2013 and concluded with a Christmas special on 22 December 2013. A third series was commissioned in June 2014.

Production[edit]

Conception[edit]

Head writer and producer of the series, Deb Cox, revealed that she and Fiona Eagger were looking to adapt a crime novel for television and believed the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) were looking for a prime-time crime series for their network.[1] The producers were disappointed by what they initially found and Cox explained "It takes so long to raise the finance and script and produce a television series, so you need to feel it's worthwhile—both financially and philosophically. It was hard to find a reason to bring stories about psychotic killers and serial murderers to the screen."[1] Cox and Eagger then came across Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher Murder Mystery series and were drawn to them because of their diverse fan base.[2]

Eagger revealed that they were curious to discover what made the series appeal to all generations.[2] Eagger told a writer for If Magazine, "We were a bit curious to know what it was about it that could appeal to a 16-year-old and a 70-year-old. Phryne is one of the first feminists. She chooses to live alone, she chooses not to get married. She's got many lovers. She's a bit of a James Bond action hero – she's much better dressed than James Bond though."[2] Cox and Eagger realised that the novels reflected their moral values and fitted in with their style of storytelling, so they began adapting them.[1]

Cox and Eagger initially thought adapting novels would be easier than writing an original screenplay, but soon discovered that it was not.[1] Speaking to Andrew Wrathall from Fancygoods.com.au, Cox stated "It takes a whole new set of skills to preserve what's most important in the stories, rationalise the impossible, gather what's left into a cohesive whole and still reflect the boundless worlds of imagination encouraged in the readers' minds by a few hundred words on paper—in a way that's achievable in production terms!"[1] She added that the restrictions tested their limits of creativity and inventiveness.[1] Greenwood was invited to the first brainstorming session for the series and provided the producers with answers to their questions and helped with the historical background to the novels. The author would read the scripts and help make corrections. Cox praised Greenwood's ability to write for the screen and accept the changes they made to the novels.[1] In June 2011, it was announced that the ABC had commissioned a thirteen-part series to air on their ABC1 channel the following year.[2][3] The drama was originally titled The Phryne Fisher Murder Mystery Series, but was changed on the advice of distributor All3Media, who wanted to avoid having to tell international broadcasters how to pronounce Phryne's name.[2]

Series 2[edit]

On 6 August 2012, Michael Idato from The Sydney Morning Herald revealed that the ABC had commissioned a second series of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.[4] Idato reported the second series would go into production later in the year.[4] ABC's Head of Fiction, Carole Sklan, stated "ABC TV is delighted to be bringing a second series of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries to the screen. The first series proved an instant hit with viewers and Every Cloud Productions has again assembled a stellar cast and team for 13 more exciting, intriguing, and unpredictable mystery stories."[5] The second series is based on Greenwood's novels Dead Man's Chest, Unnatural Habits and various short stories.[5] Cox commented that she and Eagger were "thrilled" that many of the cast and crew from the first series were returning.[5] The second series premiered on 6 September 2013.[6]

Series 3[edit]

In February 2014, ABC TV Channel Controller Brendan Dahill told David Knox from TV Tonight that a third series of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries had yet to be commissioned.[7] Dahill explained "The position we are in is an embarrassment of riches – tons of successful series and at some point Carole (Sklan, Head of Fiction) and I need to sit down and work out how many of the successful shows we can afford to return, without standing still, and still doing new stuff. Woven into that we obviously need to know how much money we think we're going to have." Knox added that there were fears funds to the broadcaster could be cut.[7] Colin Vickery, writing for news.com.au, reported that another reason Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries had not been green-lit for a third series was due to ABC wanting to attract a younger audience.[8] Vickery also said that if the show was given a third series it would not air until 2015.[8]

On 13 June 2014, it was confirmed that Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries had been commissioned for a third series.[9] Eagger told If Magazine's Emily Blatchford that all of the cast would be returning, and admitted that the writers wanted to add some magic to the series and include an episode set in the military.[9] She also hinted that there might be a wedding. Eagger added "It's a tough time for the ABC so we are thrilled they are able to bring us back, and to have that support from Film Victoria as well."[9]

Filming[edit]

The first series was filmed over a six-month period in and around Melbourne from July 2011.[10][11] Greenwood had researched the history of the city "meticulously" for the novels, so the producers were keen to do the same.[10] While they used some real locations to film at, others were recreated, including a Turkish bathhouse and the Eastern Market.[10] The interior of Phryne's house was built on a sound stage at the ABC's studio.[10] The historic house Wardlow in Parkville, Victoria was used as the exterior to the house.[12] Each episode had a budget of $1 million.[2] Eagger revealed "I wanted every cent on screen. I wanted the steam train, I wanted the plane, I wanted the ocean liner and the Hispano-Suiza. It stretched everyone, it really made people bleed."[2] ABC TV, Film Victoria, Screen Australia and distributor All3Media funded the series.[11]

The second series was approved for Screen Australia funding in July 2012.[13] Filming for the series began on 18 February 2013 in Melbourne. The shoot wrapped on 9 August.[13] The third series will begin shooting in mid-October 2014 in Melbourne.[9]

Costumes[edit]

The costume designer for the series was Marion Boyce.[14] She told ABC's Darren Smith that she loves the 20s and 30s and thought the opportunity to work on a show in her hometown (Melbourne) was "fantastic."[14] Boyce had eight weeks pre-production, but she revealed that she began putting stuff together early on.[14] She stated "After those eight weeks, we had 16 days to complete the next two episodes. It was a fast and furious process, and the series included circuses, bohemian nightclubs and the docks. Each episode is quite different from the rest."[14] The costume department included one cutter, one sewer, a costume coordinator and a buyer who was also an art finisher. Boyce called the team "incredibly talented", as they had to do a lot of different jobs.[14] The team, Mandy Murphy and Gareth Blaha, the head of the ABC's Costume Department, along with two milliners, made some of the hats.[14] Boyce and her team created around 120 costumes for the series, including sleepwear, daywear, nightwear and special occasion outfits.[14]

Boyce explained that while vintage pieces were incorporated into the series, the department designed the majority of costumes.[14] Cox told Alexandra Spring from Vogue Australia that some of the costumes were sourced from eBay and vintage shops.[10] Cox said "Once you go back to the 1920s, things have either deteriorated or they are too small because the women were smaller, so it means a lot of it has to be made from scratch."[10] The fabrics were taken from Boyce's own collection and fabric stores in Melbourne and Sydney. The designer admitted that parting with some of the fabric was difficult, as she had had some of them for around 25 years.[14] Boyce told Smith that at the end of filming, the costumes that were hired were sent back to where they came from. The ones made from fabric bought by the ABC, went back to them and Boyce took the ones that were made from fabrics out of her own collection.[14]

Boyce explained that Phryne is "completely fluid" and has "an extraordinary amount of energy", so she wanted her outfits to move with her when she went from room to room.[14] When it came to Dot, Boyce designed her wardrobe with her religion and position in society in mind. Dot's clothes are more buttoned up, so she does not show off her body parts.[14] Boyce commented "She was a really nice contrast to Phryne and a lot more conservative. Dot has nice tweeds and cardigans."[14]

Cast[edit]

  • Detective Inspector John "Jack" Robinson (Nathan Page), a detective who works reluctantly with Miss Fisher.[5]
  • Dorothy "Dot" Williams (Ashleigh Cummings), is Miss Fisher's companion (i.e. one employed to live with and serve another). Dot is a devout Catholic.[15]
  • Mr Butler (Richard Bligh), is Miss Fisher's loyal butler, an excellent household manager who provides good advice when needed.
  • Bert and Cec (Travis McMahon and Anthony Sharpe), are two working-class friends and devout communists, who often assist Miss Fisher's investigations.
  • Dr Elizabeth "Mac" Macmillan (Tammy MacIntosh), is Miss Fisher's close friend and doctor at a women's hospital in Melbourne.
  • Jane Ross (Ruby Rees-Wemyss), is Miss Fisher's ward, who shares the same name with Phryne's deceased sister.[17]
  • Aunt Prudence (Miriam Margolyes), is Miss Fisher's aunt and a reputation-conscious society matron.[16]
  • Murdoch Foyle (Nicholas Bell), is a former university lecturer imprisoned after the disappearance of Miss Fisher's sister Jane.

Episodes[edit]

Reception[edit]

While reviewing the first episode, David Brown from the Radio Times commented "Just when you thought that all variations of the amateur-detective genre had been explored, along comes Miss Phryne Fisher, who sashays through the jazz clubs of 1920s Melbourne, tackling villains with her pearl-handled pistol. The plot's hardly revolutionary, but it is worth watching for lead actress Essie Davis, with her sleek bob and killer cheekbones, who runs bad guys to ground with both wit and raunch."[18]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Recipients and nominees Result
2012
Australian Production Design Guild Awards[19] Best Costume Design for Screen Marian Boyce Nominated
Best Design on a Television Drama Robert Perkins Nominated
Screen Music Awards[20] Best Music for a Television Series or Serial Greg J. Walker Nominated
Best Television Theme Nominated
2013 AACTA Awards[21] Best Lead Actress in a Television Drama Essie Davis Nominated
Equity Awards[22] Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Series 1 cast Nominated
Logie Awards[23] Most Popular Actress Ashleigh Cummings Nominated
2014 AACTA Awards[24][25] Best Costume Design in Television Marion Boyce Won
Equity Awards[26] Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Series 2 cast Nominated
Logie Awards[27] Most Popular Actress Essie Davis Nominated
Most Popular Drama Program Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries Nominated
Most Popular Personality on TV Essie Davis Nominated

Home media[edit]

On 27 April 2012, the official soundtrack to the series was released.[28] The soundtrack features music heard in the show, including the theme composed by Greg J Walker.[29] Episodes 1–7 were released on Region 4 DVD on 3 May 2012, while episodes 8–13 were released on 7 June 2012.[30][31] The series was also released on Blu-ray.[32] Series 1 was released on DVD as a box-set by Acorn Media in November 2012.[33] Series 2 was released on DVD as a box-set by Acorn Media on 27 May 2014.[34]

International broadcast[edit]

The series has been bought by 120 territories worldwide.[5] The Canadian broadcaster Knowledge Network began showing Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries at 8:30pm from 5 October 2012.[35] The UKTV network acquired the UK broadcasting rights to Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries in September 2012.[36] The first series started on the network's Alibi channel on 11 February 2013.[36] French broadcaster France 3 acquired the series in January 2013, while Alibi and the Knowledge Network renewed their deals to air the second season.[37] Alex Farber of Broadcast reported that Norway's TVNorge, Poland's Canal+ and Eastern Europe's Viasat networks had also picked up the show.[37] Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries began airing on Italy's Rai 1 channel from 31 July 2013.[38] Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is available in the United States through Acorn Online, Netflix and some PBS stations (including WLIW channel 21.1 in the NYC area).[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Wrathall, Andrew (23 March 2012). "Interview: Deb Cox on 'Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries'". Fancygoods.com.au. Bookseller+Publisher. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Murder most fashionable: ABC's Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries". If Magazine. The Intermedia Group. 22 February 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "Essie to star in TV series". The Mercury (News Limited). 3 June 2011. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Idato, Michael (6 August 2012). "MasterChef migration". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Knox, David (18 February 2013). "Cameras roll on more Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries". TV Tonight. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  6. ^ "Returning: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries". TV Tonight. 19 August 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Knox, David (7 February 2014). "Potential budget cuts may slice into Miss Fisher". TV Tonight. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Vickery, Colin (16 December 2013). "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries under a cloud as ABC tries to broaden audience". news.co.au. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c d Blatchford, Emily (13 June 2014). "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries back for a third season". If Magazine. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f Spring, Alexandra (10 March 2012). "Behind the set of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries with Essie Davis". Vogue Australia. NewsLifeMedia. Retrieved 7 September 2012. 
  11. ^ a b "1920s murder mystery series coming to ABC". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2 June 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2012. 
  12. ^ "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries Themes – The Arts". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  13. ^ a b "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries Series 2". If Magazine. The Intermedia Group. 18 February 2013. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Smith, Darren (27 March 2012). "Marion Boyce: Designing Miss Fisher's Wardrobe". ABC TV Blog. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 7 September 2012. 
  15. ^ Meade, Amanda (2 February 2012). "Teaser: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries". The Australian (News Limited). Retrieved 17 September 2012. 
  16. ^ a b "Cast announced for Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2 June 2011. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  17. ^ "News". Catherine Poulton Management. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  18. ^ Brown, David. "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries". Radio Times. Immediate Media Company Limited. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  19. ^ "APDG awards shortlist announced". Mumbrella. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  20. ^ "Nominations". Screen Music Awards. Australasian Performing Right Association. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  21. ^ Ward, Brian (27 January 2013). "Essie in line for award double". The Mercury (News Limited). Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  22. ^ "3rd Equity Ensemble Awards - Winners announced!". Equity Foundation (Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance). 3 May 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  23. ^ Byrnes, Holly (11 March 2013). "Comic duo Hamish Blake and Andy Lee to battle each other for Gold Logie". The Daily Telegraph (News Limited). Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  24. ^ Knox, David (4 December 2013). "AACTA Awards 2014: nominations". TV Tonight. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  25. ^ "Gatsby dominates 1st round of AACTA awards". Nine News. 28 January 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  26. ^ "Equity Ensemble Awards 2014 - Voting Now Open!". Equity Foundation (Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance). 1 April 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  27. ^ "2014 Logie Awards: full list of nominees". The Sydney Morning Herald. 31 March 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  28. ^ "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries - Various Artists". Australian iTunes Store. Apple Inc. Retrieved 7 September 2012. 
  29. ^ "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries". Sanity. Retrieved 7 September 2012. 
  30. ^ "Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries Series 1 Part 1". ABC Shop. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 7 September 2012. 
  31. ^ "Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries Series 1 Part 2". ABC Shop. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 7 September 2012. 
  32. ^ "Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries Series 1 Blu Ray". ABC Shop. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 7 September 2012. 
  33. ^ "Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries Series 1 Box Set". ABC Shop. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  34. ^ http://acornonline.com/miss-fisher%26%2339%3bs-murder-mysteries/p/miss-fisher-murder-mysteries-set-2/
  35. ^ "Knowledge Network - Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries". Knowledge Network. Knowledge Network Corporation. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  36. ^ a b Munn, Patrick (18 September 2012). "Alibi Acquires UK Rights To Australian Series 'Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries'". TVWise. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  37. ^ a b Farber, Alex (24 January 2013). "Miss Fisher heads to France". Broadcast. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  38. ^ "Miss Fisher – Crimes and Mysteries" (in Italian). RAI. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 

External links[edit]