Liv­ing a wife of crime

The Sunday Independent - - LIFE TV - SAM MATHE

ISUP­POSE it was a mat­ter of time be­fore Bed­ford­view be­came a muse for some screen­writer. In re­cent years, the Jo­han­nes­burg east sub­urb gained no­to­ri­ety as a lav­ish but seedy stomp­ing ground for crim­i­nal un­der­world shenani­gans that in­volved wellpub­li­cised mur­ders of prom­i­nent busi­ness­men.

The sto­ry­line is based on award win­ning au­thor Mandy Wiener’s Killing Keb­ble: An Un­der­world

Ex­posed (2011), about mafia ac­tiv­i­ties that in­volves slain strip club owner Lolly Jack­son and con­victed drug king­pin and Czech fugi­tive Radovan Kre­j­cir.

Bed­ford Wives is a com­edy drama se­ries with the texture of Des­per­ate Housewives and the local flavour that in­cludes a Greek fam­ily and black law-en­force­ment characters. The sto­ry­line un­rav­els against the back­ground of the mys­te­ri­ous mur­der of Marco Giannopou­los (Jonathan Tay­lor), a wealthy restau­ra­teur.

His wife and Mrs SA con­tes­tant, De­spina Giannopou­los (Sharon Wag­ner) vows to con­tinue with the business but, as her late hus­band’s as­so­ciates re­veal them­selves, she re­alises that he had actually be­queathed her a crim­i­nal en­ter­prise.

De­spina’s rep­u­ta­tion as the per­fect sub­ur­ban mother, wife, head of the par­ent teach­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion at her chil­dren’s school and envy of the wives of Bed­ford­view is about to take a se­ri­ous knock. Behind the façade of pris­tine lives are dark se­crets that threaten to be­come public knowl­edge. Worse, the former Miss SA’s dream of wear­ing a Mrs SA crown was shat­tered by her wid­ow­hood. The se­ries in­tro­duces view­ers to other women in De­spina’s life – Gigi Giannopou­los, her late hus­band’s vix­en­ish ex-wife and a schem­ing ri­val who is likely to be one of Marco’s killers.

There’s also Yvette de Vil­liers (Shaeleen Tobin), a bossy friend whose lav­ish life­style is vir­tu­ally spon­sored by the be­lea­guered widow. Paulina Sale­mane (Sibulele Gcil­it­shana) com­pletes the quar­tet of the wives of Bed­ford­view.

Male characters such as The Com­man­der (Sech­aba Moro­jele) and De­tec­tive Dlamini (Katleho Ramaphakela) also fea­ture promi­nently as those who are in­ter­ested in in­ves­ti­gat­ing the “falafel” business be­tween De­spina and king­pin Costa De Maia (Rus­sel Savadier) – “falafel” in this case mean­ing con­tra­band.

Bed­ford Wives is a cre­ation of Burnt Onion Pro­duc­tions, a film com­pany owned by young cre­ators and sib­lings, Katleho, Retha­bile and Tshepo Ramaphakela.

Katleho is the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of the com­pany. An award­win­ning actor in the pop­u­lar TV se­ries, in­clud­ing Isidingo and

Scan­dal!, he has also dis­tin­guished him­self as ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer and screen­writer of sev­eral local sit­coms and movies. This qual­ity show re­flects this young thes­pian’s re­mark­able abil­i­ties.

Bed­ford Wives airs on Thurs­days on SABC3 at 7.30pm.

Sibulele Gcil­it­shana, Gabriella Cir­illo, Sharon Wag­ner and Shaeleen Tobin co-star in SABC3’s new home-grown drama, Bed­ford Wives.

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