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Pie in the Sky (TV series)

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Pie in the Sky
Written by
  • Andrew Payne
Country of origin
  • United Kingdom
Original language
  • English
No. of series5
No. of episodes40 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Allan McKeown
  • Jo Willett
  • Chrissy Skinns
Production location
  • United Kingdom
Running time50 minutes
Production companies
  • WitzEnd Productions
    (all series)
  • Nicework Productions (series 3-5)
Original release
Release13 March 1994 (1994-03-13) –
17 August 1997 (1997-08-17)

Pie in the Sky is a British police comedy drama starring Richard Griffiths and Maggie Steed, created by Andrew Payne and first broadcast in five series on BBC1 between 13 March 1994 and 17 August 1997, as well as being syndicated on other channels in other countries.

The protagonist, Henry Crabbe, while still being an on-duty, "semi-retired" policeman (much against his will), is also the head chef at his wife's restaurant "Pie in the Sky", set in the fictional town of Middleton and county of Westershire.


Crabbe's portrait of Alexis Soyer that hung on the wall in his kitchen.[1]

The series focuses on the life of Detective Inspector Henry Crabbe, who serves in the police force for the fictional county of Westershire. After 25 years on the job, Crabbe wishes to retire and set up his own restaurant, and is brought one step closer after an attempt to catch a high-profile criminal backfires, leaving him shot in the leg. His boss, Assistant Chief Constable Freddie Fisher, is unwilling to let Crabbe leave the Westershire force, and so frames him for taking a bribe, effectively blackmailing him into taking on occasional cases when required.

As a result, Crabbe finds his life divided between his duties as a police detective, and a chef in his new restaurant — "Pie in the Sky" — which he runs with his wife Margaret. Each episode thus focuses on two separate plotlines, in which one sees Crabbe investigating a case, while the other sees him, his wife and their staff dealing with a problem that affects their restaurant.


  • Richard Griffiths as DI Henry Crabbe, detective and restaurant owner. He is an astute detective, a lover of food, and a great cook.
  • Maggie Steed as Margaret Crabbe, Henry's wife. She is an accountant and cares little for good food herself, but works in the restaurant and supports Henry's venture, as long as it makes a profit.
  • Malcolm Sinclair as ACC Freddy Fisher, Assistant Chief Constable of Police, Henry's boss. He is most concerned with furthering his career, but recognises that Crabbe is an excellent detective.
  • Bella Enahoro as WPC [Later DS] Sophia Cambridge, detective (Series 1—4). She is a trustworthy officer who accompanies Crabbe on most cases.
  • Mary Woodvine as WPC Jane Morton, police constable (Series 5), accompanies Crabbe on most cases in Series 5.
  • Derren Litten as PC Ed Guthrie, police constable (Series 5), accompanies Crabbe on most cases in Series 5.
  • Joe Duttine as Steve Turner, chef (Series 1—2). He is an ex-criminal but an honest worker, and a good young chef.
  • Nicholas Lamont as Gary Palmer, chef (Series 3—5). Like Steve, he is an ex-criminal, an honest worker and a good young chef.
  • Nick Raggett as Leon Henderson, a food supplier for the restaurant, and occasional worker in the restaurant.
  • Alison McKenna as Linda Walker, waitress, and girlfriend of Steve (Series 1)
  • Ashley Russell as John Dawson, waiter (Series 1—2)
  • Samantha Janus as Nicola Dooley, waitress (Series 2—4)
  • Marsha Thomason as Sally Nicholls, waitress (Series 5)
  • Robert Putt as Chief Constable Braithwaite, Fisher's boss (Recurring; Series 4—5)
  • Caroline Loncq as Jenny Drabble (Recurring; Series 4—5)
  • Michael Kitchen as Dudley Hooperman (Series 1)



Series overview

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
11013 March 1994 (1994-03-13)15 May 1994 (1994-05-15)
21015 January 1995 (1995-01-15)19 March 1995 (1995-03-19)
3631 December 1995 (1995-12-31)4 February 1996 (1996-02-04)
4615 September 1996 (1996-09-15)20 October 1996 (1996-10-20)
5829 June 1997 (1997-06-29)17 August 1997 (1997-08-17)

Series 1 (1994)

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
11"The Best of Both Worlds"Colin GreggAndrew Payne13 March 1994 (1994-03-13)
Henry lets Hooperman escape, and Fisher takes the opportunity to suspend his retirement.
22"The Truth Will Out"Colin GreggAndrew Payne20 March 1994 (1994-03-20)
A delusional cop seeks to bring Fisher's ally down, and Henry recruits a new waiter.
33"An Innocent Man"Martin HutchingsAndrew Payne27 March 1994 (1994-03-27)
Pie in the Sky becomes the scene of a corruption sting, but Henry acts in favour of his customer.
44"Once a Copper"George CaseJohn Flanagan & Andrew McCulloch3 April 1994 (1994-04-03)
Henry cooks a banquet for a visiting Japanese delegation, and tracks down a criminal from his past, who was presumed dead.
55"A Shot in the Dark"Colin GreggRichard Maher10 April 1994 (1994-04-10)
A narcotics investigation ends in a bitten hand for Fisher, and Henry finds a new source of escargots.
66"Undesirable Elements"Colin GreggAndrew Payne17 April 1994 (1994-04-17)
Steve investigates the burglary of Pie in the Sky, while Henry does battle with murderous private sector cops.
77"Passion Fruit Fool"George CasePaul Hines24 April 1994 (1994-04-24)
The girlfriend of Henry's dry cleaner (Jim Carter) is kidnapped by a psychotic ex-lover. Andy Serkis makes an appearance.
88"A Matter of Taste"Martin HutchingsRichard Maher1 May 1994 (1994-05-01)
Henry uncovers two separate wine scams in Middleton. Pete Postlethwaite and Julian Fellowes have cameo roles.
99"Who Only Stand and Wait"Lawrence Gordon ClarkJohn Milne8 May 1994 (1994-05-08)
Henderson's neighbour finds a dismembered corpse, which may prove the innocence of an imprisoned man.
A visiting French policewoman Marianne Dupont (fr:Marianne Borgo) gives Crabbe a gift of Alexandre Dumas' Dictionary of Cuisine.
1010"Endangered Species"Lawrence Gordon ClarkAndrew Payne15 May 1994 (1994-05-15)
Margaret and Henderson side with Reynard the Fox in opposing a new bypass, while Henry must question his loyalties.

Series 2 (1995)

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
111"Hard Cheese"Jim HillAndrew Payne15 January 1995 (1995-01-15)
Henry investigates a prowler fond of older ladies, and begins to suspect the celibate supplier of his cheese.
122"Brown Bread"Martin HutchingsAndrew Payne22 January 1995 (1995-01-22)
A corpse vanishes from the Pie in the Sky's lavatories, and Henry soon finds himself investigating a counterfeit currency.
133"The Policeman's Daughter"Jim HillJohn Milne29 January 1995 (1995-01-29)
Fisher's daughter joins a squat on Henderson's field, and Henry is recruited to bring her back.
144"The One That Got Away"Martin HutchingsRichard Maher5 February 1995 (1995-02-05)
The fish farmer's fiancé appears to have been murdered, and it's up to Henry to save his best trout supplier.
155"Dead Right"Jim HillLizzie Mickery12 February 1995 (1995-02-12)
Henry becomes entangled with a self-publicising psychic, and together they solve the mystery of a missing girl.
166"Black Pudding"Danny HillerAndrew Payne19 February 1995 (1995-02-19)
Henry is reunited with his hero, Hillary Smallwood, and becomes embroiled in her nephew's wicked plot.
177"Swan in His Pride"Lawrence Gordon ClarkJohn Milne26 February 1995 (1995-02-26)
Henry goes undercover in Bath to investigate the local constabulary, who are using a serial killer to mask their errors.
188"The Mild Bunch"Danny HillerJohn Milne5 March 1995 (1995-03-05)
As two pensioners go on a fraud spree, the inclusion of Dundee marmalade in their trademark pudding motivates Henry to find them.
199"The Mystery of Pikey"Danny HillerJohn Milne12 March 1995 (1995-03-12)
Two posh children take advantage of a poor fisherman, and Henderson falls in the river.
2010"Lemon Twist"Lawrence Gordon ClarkAndrew Payne19 March 1995 (1995-03-19)
Henry goes on a management training course, while Pie in the Sky is mobbed following a glowing review.

Series 3 (1995-96)

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
211"Money Talks"Martin HutchingsAndrew Payne31 December 1995 (1995-12-31)
Henry stakes out a pizza parlour. John and Steve have left. A new chef, Gary arrives and helps Henry catch the pizza gang.
222"Game Pie (In the Sky)"Martin HutchingsRichard Maher7 January 1996 (1996-01-07)
Henry caters for his friend's pheasant shoot, where Fisher is among the guests. A member of the estate staff is shot and killed and it looks as if Fisher accidentally shot him.
233"Irish Stew"Keith BoakChristina Reid14 January 1996 (1996-01-14)
An Irishwoman books the restaurant for a wedding banquet for her and her new husband. Byron's briefcase is stolen from his hotel and Henry is suspicious of his reaction.
244"Doggett's Coat and Badge"Danny HillerJohn Milne21 January 1996 (1996-01-21)
Charles Rider, a wine-loving regular at Pie in the Sky, is being threatened, and comes to Crabbe for help.
255"This Other Eden"David Innes EdwardsMatthew Leys28 January 1996 (1996-01-28)
Henry investigates thefts of valuable plants from gardens, while Margaret unknowingly employs the chief suspect.
266"Coddled Eggs"David Innes EdwardsJohn Milne4 February 1996 (1996-02-04)
While recovering stolen cars, Henry apprehends a larger smuggling ring headed by two Russians.

Series 4 (1996)

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
271"Devils on Horseback - Part 1"Malcolm MowbrayRichard Maher15 September 1996 (1996-09-15)
Henry and Margaret spend a day at the races with her new client Bob Bishop. The corpse of stable lad Ben Tucker is found in a horse-box. Keeley Hawes appears in an early part.
282"Devils on Horseback - Part 2"Malcolm MowbrayRichard Maher22 September 1996 (1996-09-22)
Margaret stumbles on the killer. Meanwhile Nicola is annoyed when a school friend appears to be making a play for Gary.
293"Chinese Whispers"Bill PrydeAndrew Payne29 September 1996 (1996-09-29)
The Chen family's Chinese takeaway is the target of an arson attack, but Mr. Chen will not go to the police. His daughter Mei asks Henry for help.
304"New Leaf"Keith BoakRobert Jones6 October 1996 (1996-10-06)
Henry must guard a safe house protecting an uncooperative star witness. He eventually wins her over with his cooking.
315"Breaking Bread"Paul HarrisonRobert Jones13 October 1996 (1996-10-13)
To save money, Fisher employs a new company to supply the police canteen. Arrests go down and Fisher relies on Henry to find a reason to get rid of the new company.
326"Gary's Cake"Bill PrydeAndrew Payne20 October 1996 (1996-10-20)
When the restaurant is robbed, Henry closes down to do his own investigation, solving the crime in time to mark two years of Gary giving up alcohol with a celebratory cake. Guest stars Steven Hartley

Series 5 (1997)

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
331"Squashed Tomatoes"Bill PrydeAndrew Payne29 June 1997 (1997-06-29)
Cambridge is gone and Henry is saddled with two new staff members. At the restaurant, Nicola has left and Gary is unhappy.
342"Ugly Customers"Simon MasseyNiall Leonard6 July 1997 (1997-07-06)
Henry's team goes to the garish Luxor Hotel to protect a jury. Back at the restaurant Sally learns to get the better of a sex pest.
353"Pork Pies"David Innes EdwardsJohn Milne13 July 1997 (1997-07-13)
Henry and the squad go to a meat factory where animal rights protesters are demonstrating against the owner. Henry finds the sausages contain soya and are wholly meat-free.
364"Cutting the Mustard"David Innes EdwardsRobert Jones20 July 1997 (1997-07-20)
Henry is called to a school where a student has been beaten up by local youths. Henry finds a member of the Chemistry Department staff selling Ecstasy tablets.
375"Return Match"Rob EvansRobert Jones27 July 1997 (1997-07-27)
Henry has to solve a series of thefts from lorries and gets unexpected help from private security firm Troubleshooters. Guest stars Bruce Byron and Mark Womack
386"The Apprentice"Morag FullartonAnn Marie Di Mambro3 August 1997 (1997-08-03)
Nicky comes to Pie in the Sky, claiming he is there for work experience. Henry uses him in the kitchen and he impresses everyone. The till is robbed and Nicky goes missing.
397"In the Smoke"David Innes EdwardsAndrew Payne10 August 1997 (1997-08-10)
The Crabbes holiday in London. Henry discovers a friend in hiding, while Margaret finds a body in the trash. Guest stars Nicola Walker and Michael Attwell
408"Smelling of Roses"Rob EvansAndrew Payne17 August 1997 (1997-08-17)
Henry loses his sense of smell and mysteriously regains it when he resigns from the police once and for all. Guest stars John Bowler and Anthony O'Donnell

Filming locations


Westershire, the fictional county where the series is set, is based on Berkshire in southern England. Although scenes in Middleton were often filmed in Marlow in Buckinghamshire, the exterior of the restaurant, Pie in the Sky, was filmed outside number 64 High Street in the Old Town in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. Originally, a florist and then a toy shop, the building became a minor tourist attraction while the series ran, then housed the business of a dolls’-house maker, and as of 2019, a hair salon. A nearby restaurant at 80 High Street renamed itself "Pie in the Sky" (later becoming "Les Amants") to capitalise on the programme's popularity. In Olinda, Victoria in Australia, a very successful restaurant called "Pie in the Sky" also serves many of the TV series' recipes and especially its famous crusty steak and kidney pies. All internal filming at the restaurant was carried out at Bray Studios at Water Oakley, near Windsor in Berkshire. The local newspaper, the Maidenhead Advertiser, occasionally appears in the series redubbed the 'Barstock and Middleton Advertiser'. Freddie Fisher plays golf at Stoke Park Golf Club at Stoke Poges.[2][3][4]

Broadcast, DVD and streaming


The series was originally broadcast in the UK on BBC1 between 13 March 1994 and 17 August 1997.

In Australia, it was originally broadcast on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In 2021, it was broadcast on 7two and streamed on 7plus.

The entire series is available on DVD in the UK.

In the United States, Acorn Media has released separate sets of all five series on 12 May 2009 (Series 1), 26 January 2010 (Series 2),[5] 7 September 2010 (Series 3),[6] 25 January 2011 (Series 4)[7] and 2 August 2011 (Series 5).[8] The complete series was released on DVD by Acorn Media on 11 November 2011.

The entire series is available for streaming through AcornTV.[9]

In Australia, Via Vision Entertainment have released series 1 & 2 on 21 July 2021 and will release series 3-5 on 15 September 2021.

All episodes are currently available to watch in the UK via the UKTV Play platform.

All five seasons became available in the US on BritBox in March 2023.


  1. ^ "Celebrity Chef – Crimean War Veterans in Western Australia".
  2. ^ "EnchantedCastles, Contact Page". Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  3. ^ "About Enchanted Castles, home of unique Dolls' Houses". Retrieved 24 March 2011.
  4. ^ "Les Amants French Bistrot". hertfordshire.com. Retrieved 12 January 2009.
  5. ^ "Pie in the Sky: Series 2". DVD Talk. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  6. ^ "Pie in the Sky: Series 3". DVD Talk. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  7. ^ "Pie in the Sky: Series 4". DVD Talk. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  8. ^ "DVD Review: Pie In the Sky (Series 5) | Inside Pulse". insidepulse.com. 3 September 2011. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  9. ^ Browse all shows on Acorn TV, accessed 9 September 2021