Funny how things turn out isn’t it? Only a couple of weeks ago I was sent links to review a TV series featuring a female investigator. I decided to go ahead and review it. One of the reasons was that each episode was around feature film length. The other reason was that I was a fan of the star, Meera Syal. Also, as I write these things, I can pick and choose! That was Mrs Sidhu Investigates and was set in the lush and glorious landscape that is Slough. Slough has also been seen in Casino Royale, The Office, and a tranche of Carry On films.
Recently I received another invitation to review a TV series featuring a female investigator. This, too, was made up of feature length episodes. This series starred two wonderful leads; Emilia Fox and Tara Fitzgerald. And I can still, pretty much, write what I want. This series is called Signora Volpe and is set in the even lusher and marginally more glorious landscape that is the Lazio region of Central Italy. Lazio has also been seen in Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One, The Equalizer 3, and Cannibal Holocaust but we’ll give the last one a swerve.
Once A Spy…
Signora Volpe stars Emilia Fox as Sylvia Fox; Mrs Fox or Signora Volpe as it is in Italian. Sylvia starts out as a spy! Let’s face it, if she were a plumber or a welder or a teacher then there wouldn’t be as much potential for excitement. There wouldn’t be the opportunity to call in favours from friends with access to fingerprint databases and CCTV feeds. Sylvia is realising that being a spy isn’t as glamorous as the recruitment team made it out to be. Particularly when the dead letter drop involves an actual dead pigeon.
It just so happens that Sylvia has received an invitation to stay with her sister, Isabel (Tara Fitzgerald), while her niece, Alice (Issy Knopfler), gets married. Now Sylvia’s sister lives a fair bit away from where Sylvia lives and works; Sylvia is based in London while Isabel lives just outside of Perugia, Italy. So, galvanised by being fed up at work, Sylvia decides to take a break and scuttle off to, round about, the kneecap of Italy. While she is there, stuff happens. Obviously it does…nice lady goes off for a lovely holiday isn’t a rip roaring start to a series!
…Always A Spy
There is always the possibility that a show set in a beautiful area can rely too heavily on shots of the countryside or the villages when the storyline is bit thin. Obviously, if you are getting various financial incentives to shoot in a particular area, you need to earn your discounts and show the area off to get the tourists in. To be honest though, there needs to be a story. Fortunately, Signora Volpe manages to score on both fronts; you can almost smell the grappa and gelato thanks to the setting while the story and characters are engaging and charming.
One little aside…there is a scene part way through the first episode when Sylvia Fox is testing a gun. She has a target some way away and ties a rope around a tree and uses it to steady her gun while she takes test shots. After each shot she adjusts the sights with a screwdriver until it is perfect. Why is this worthy of comment? Well, it is an obvious homage to the scene in The Day Of The Jackal where the assassin is calibrating his sights. Why that particular scene? Maybe because The Jackal was played by Edward Fox…the father of Emilia Fox!
Signora Volpe will be available on DVD and digital download on 20th November from Acorn Media International.
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Former teacher, lecturer, homelessness administrator, pharmacy dispenser now happily retired, happily married, and a very happy granddad. I live next to the Mersey but on the side Daniel Craig and Taron Egerton come from rather than the side the Beatles came from!