No one can wear a chic chin-length bob quite as well as Phryne Fisher. Except, perhaps, for Andrea Bates, who is such a fan of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, she decided to get her hair cut just like the glamorous detective’s. It suits her. On a recent visit to her local library one of the staff remarked, “You look just like Miss Fisher!” Aha, thought Andrea, it’s working!
The long-time Knowledge Partner loves everything about the show, set in 1920s Melbourne: the character of Phryne, the elegant costumes and settings, and the stories. She’s been enamoured with the era’s sumptuous styles for years, which is no doubt part of the appeal. “In my next life,” she jokes, “I want to come back as a wealthy lady in the ‘20s and ‘30s!”
Aside from the hairstyle, there’s a streak of Phryne’s adventurous spirit in Andrea. In her younger years, she was an avid scuba diver, at a time when few women were participating in the sport. She was “more wet than dry” for three years as she pursued her passion, even experiencing first-stage hypothermia as she tenaciously tried to master skills in BC’s frigid waters. She stopped just short of becoming a dive master; as a single parent, she felt it was too large a commitment, plus the added responsibility would have taken the fun out of diving.
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef always beckoned (for the undersea life and the warm water!), but she never made it there. She was thrilled, though, to watch Neil Oliver’s Coast Australia during the recent Australia-themed programming on Knowledge. “The show has just been eye candy for me!” she enthuses. “Australia is so lovely – it’s a country that really appeals to me.” She also enjoyed Tony Robinson’s Down Under, appreciating the British comedian’s sharp-as-ever wit and the fact that she learned so much about Australia’s history. Along with documentaries and nature shows, Andrea and her husband are both drawn to British shows such as Morse and Endeavour – anything with a good mystery story.
She explains her fondness for all things British: “I’m an army brat. In my formative years we lived in Germany, and our only entertainment was the radio. The local army station was all cowboy music so we relied on the British station. I cut my teeth on Brit humour like The Goon Show. It still appeals to me.”
When asked why she supports Knowledge, Andrea tells it straight – much like her idol Phyrne would. “It’s quality, it’s variety, it’s intelligent, it’s educational. Compared to commercial programming, it’s such a worthwhile thing to have. How could you not love it?”