television: Unflappable Phyrne Fisher returns
Essie Davis relishes her crazy private detective role, writes Lisa Simmons
ACTOR Essie Davis didn’t need convincing to reprise her role as Phryne Fisher, the pearl handled pistol toting, jazz-era female private eye star of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, returning tomorrow night.
‘‘She’s the craziest most outrageous character. I love her to bits,’’ says Davis of the lady detective based on the character created for period crime capers penned by Kerry Greenwood.
‘‘She’s a spokesman for underdog, a rule breaker, a fighter for women’s rights, such a flirt and just so completed skilled and clever at everything she turns her hand to,’’ Davis laughs.
‘‘The role is a gift for an actor. This season alone, Phryne has performed flamenco and fan dances, spoken Russian, scaled Parliament House and rowed a boat. By definition that means I have to throw myself into everyone of these situations too.’’
Not to mention the dress-ups . . .
‘‘Beautiful coats, trousers, jackets, dresses all handmade to fit me,’’ Davis lists the collection which is created by costumers and sewn by hand.
‘‘Whole collections of earrings, rings, fans, shoes, gloves. Hats, did I mention the hats? Everyone of them beautiful.’’
She explains: ‘‘Phryne gets a whole new look in every episode as she moves between the worlds.’’
New instalments visit a high-class brothel and move from graveside to the world of mediums and spiritualists, while the friends investigate old crimes committed in the trenches of WWI.
There are visits to a ski chalet, the seaside and the boxing tents.
‘‘That’s where Hugh (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) gets his kit off and shows us all his muscles,’’ Davis teases.
‘‘My own favourite episode is set in the world of rally car racing, where the most spectacular cars you’ve ever seen come out and Phryne dons goggles.’’
One investigation is set at a university, another in the world of silent filmmaking. Others visit the spooky cellars of an historic vineyard, and the laundries ‘‘where fallen and reckless girls have been imprisoned to work as slaves’’.
Davis laughs again: ‘‘It’s just been crazy and full on.’’
The second series returns Ashleigh Brewer as Phryne’s companion Dot, detective John ‘‘Jack’’ Roberts (Nathan Page), his policeman assistant Hugh (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) and Aunt Prudence (Miriam Margolyes).
‘‘I’m lucky to work with such lovely fun people. The crew are hilarious and fantastic and very patient and they have to be. Nathan, Hugo, Ash and I just giggle our socks off when we get together,’’ Davis says.
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries: Fridays, 8.30pm, ABC1.