Tuesday, 31 December 2013

REVIEW: Marple The Secret of Chimneys (S5.E2)

The second episode of Julia McKenzie's second series was broadcast on 27th December 2010 and was adapted by Paul Rutman and directed by John Strickland.


Miss Marple accompanies a young friend Virginia to her ancestral home Chimneys where an important Austrian diplomat wishes to make a business deal. However, when he is found dead in a tunnel, Miss Marple investigates and uncovers the secrets at Chimneys. 

The original novel of The Secret of Chimneys didn't feature Miss Marple. but this adaption also has the Miss Marple short story The Herb of Death woven into the plot.  Most of the characters and the setting are from the novel, but the murderer and one of the methods is from the short story. There are some major changes therefore, including making Virginia one of Caterham's daughters when she is not, removing Superintendent Battle and replacing him with Inspector Finch. This is a sensible change as Battle appears in numerous Christie stories, including Poirot's, but isn't present in the series, so it makes sense to dispose of him here. The new version of the story works well, Miss Marple doesn't feel like a spare part here, she is involved with the story.

Direction, locations, soundtrack

John Strickland's direction to me is good, but nothing special. There is no dark tone or special camera techniques, it just serves it's purpose. I'm not complaining, but I prefer a darker tone to these films. The exterior location used for Chimneys is Hatfield House, the interior is Knebworth House and there are some scenes shot in London as well.

Cast and characters 

Julia McKenzie as always gives a great performance, we see her more as a motherly figure here to Virginia, and sympathetic towards Bundle and Treadwell. She has a brilliant relationship with DI Finch, wonderfully played by Stephen Dillane. Dervla Kirwan is great as Bundle, who greatly resents her father wanting to sell Chimneys, and Ruth Jones plays Miss Blenkinsopp well. 

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Marple: The Pale Horse Review (S5.E1)

Copyright ITV
Julia McKenzie returns as Miss Marple for her second series firstly in the Pale Horse, which was adapted by Russell Lewis and directed by Andy Hay. It was first broadcast in the UK on 30th August 2010.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Top 5 Agatha Christie Present Ideas

With Christmas approaching rapidly, here is a selection of the best Christie themed gift ideas: 

1. Agatha Christie's Poirot The Definitive Collection 
Series 1-13 (DVD)

This box set includes every single episode of Poirot from 1989 - 2013, including the recent thirteenth and final series. A must have DVD collection for any fan.
Starring David Suchet, Hugh Fraser, Philip Jackson, Pauline Moran and Zoe Wanamaker.

£91.98 from Amazon

Friday, 6 December 2013

Marple Endless Night Preview

Copyright ITV

The elderly sleuth's latest case Endless Night will be broadcast on 29th December 2013. 

ITV have announced that the last installment of series 6 will be broadcast on 29th December at 8.00pm as part of their Christmas lineup.
The episode was adapted by Kevin Elyot (Curtain: Poirot's Last Case) and produced and directed by David Moore (Merlin). Endless Night was filmed in March 2013 in the Home Countries and London.

In Endless Night, whilst staying with her recently widowed friend Marjorie Philpot (Wendy Craig), Miss Marple meets Mike Rogers (Tom Hughes), who plans to build the perfect home on the local beauty spot Gypsy's Acre in Kingston Bishop. However, when he meets wealthy American heiress Ellie Goodman (Joanna Vanderham), he falls in love, and they marry.
Miss Marple meets them again whilst on holiday in Rome, where they are on holiday, but when they arrive back in England later on, events spiral out of control resulting in a tragic death. Miss Marple must solve the riddle of Gypsy's Acre, but in doing so she must put her own life in very serious danger.

Alongside Julia McKenzie are a talented cast including Glynis Barber (Dempsey and Makepeace), Aneurin Barnard (Moonfleet), Hugh Dennis (Outnumbered), Rosalind Halstead (Sherlock) and Tamzin Outhwaite (Foyle's War).

Copyright ITV

Even though Endless Night wasn't originally a Miss Marple story, I have absolute faith in Kevin Elyot for giving us a fantastic adaption. After all, he wrote the screenplay for some of the best ever Christie adaptions including Death on the Nile, Five Little Pigs, Curtain and The Mirror Crack'd From Side to Side. David Moore's previous directing credits include Poirot Sad Cypress and Marple The Blue Geranium, both of which are well directed, so I'm sure this latest one will look stunning.

On a final note, what is the future for Marple? Both Polish broadcaster Ale Kino+ and the Australian trailer for Marple series 6 claim that this series is the last, but this hasn't been confirmed by ITV yet. It would be a great shame if there were going to be no more Miss Marple films. We've lost Poirot, do we have to lose Marple too?