Friday, 28 February 2014

BBC is the home of Agatha Christie on TV

Harper Collins
The BBC signs a new deal to bring new Agatha Christie adaptions to the small screen. 

The broadcasting company have announced a new series entitled Partners In Crime, based on the stories of Tommy and Tuppence. Actor David Walliams will take on the role of Tommy Beresford; his counterpart Tuppence has yet to be cast. The six-part series will be based on two of Christie's novels: The Secret Adversary and N or M? and will be set in the 1950's. The first three episodes are based on The Secret Adversary, which will be adapted by award winning writer Zinnie Harris, due for release in 2015.

David Walliams said "In bringing these thrilling stories to screen, it is our ambition for Tommy and Tuppence to finally take their rightful place alongside Poirot and Marple as iconic Agatha Christie characters."

That's not all, the BBC have commissioned a three part adaption of Christie's masterpiece And Then There Were None, which will be adapted by Sarah Phelps. It is due for release at Christmas 2015, to tie in with the 125th anniversary of Agatha Christie's birth.

With this news, it transpires that there won't be another series of Marple starring Julia McKenzie, as ITV have confirmed. The channel has been associated with the Christie Estate for sometime, having adapted both Poirot and Marple stories in the last decade as well as a Tommy and Tuppence series in the 1980's.

Matthew Pritchard, Christie's grandson said "It is fantastic that, in her all-important 125th anniversary year, my grandmother is to be welcomed with such enthusiasm to the BBC: a wonderful new home for the much-loved characters and their stories, and one which she would be delighted with."

What do you think of this exciting news? Leave a comment or tweet me @AChristieWeb

Monday, 17 February 2014

REVIEW: Sparkling Cyanide (2003)

Based on Agatha Christie's 1945 novel, Sparkling Cyanide was adapted by Laura Lamson as a one off TV film, which was directed by Tristam Powell. It was first broadcast in the UK on 5th October 2003.


Colonel Geoffrey Reese and his wife Dr Kate Kendall investigate when a young woman is poisoned with potassium cyanide in a classy London nightclub among a group of her friends.

The one major change brought about by Lamson is to modernise the film by removing it from the original 1950's time period and 'dumping' it in the 21st century. So, this means that there are computers, mobile phones and forensic crimes scenes in Agatha Christie. She also turns George Barton into a football manager and Mr Fitzgerald or 'Fizz' in this film, into a football player, which gives this film a trashy feel. But when you get this out of the way the film is not bad.

The original detective of the novel, Colonel Race is renamed Reese and given a partner in crime, his wife: Dr Kate Kendall. They are both retired from the original professions and are now employed by the government as freelance detectives, this time solving a murder. The plot remains relatively close the the original a part from the time setting, but there are still changes. For example, the action is all contained within the space of about a week rather than two years.

Direction, location, soundtrack 

Tristam Powell's direction suits the modern film, with flashy lighting techniques used in the nightclub sequences. But for the rest of the film, it's nothing really to write home about, it just serves it's purpose and doesn't use any flashy or elaborate camera techniques that we have perhaps grown used to in the Poirot and Marple series.

Cast and characters

The characters of Colonel Reese and Dr Kendall remind me somewhat of an older Tommy and Tuppence as they both solves crimes together and are married. The relationship between Oliver Ford Davies and Pauline Collins is great, they have a good chemistry.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

REVIEW: Poirot Peril at End House (S2.E1)

On the 7th January 1990, we saw our first feature length Poirot mystery with David Suchet as the sleuth. It was adapted by Clive Exton, the head writer, and directed by Renny Rye.


Poirot and Captain Hastings are on holiday in Devon when they meet Nick Buckley, a young girl who believes she is being targeted. Several incidents have threatens her life recently and Poirot fears for her safety. But on bonfire night, the killer takes a final move which results in the death of Miss Buckley, but it is not Nick who is killed...

This was based on one of Agatha Christie's earlier Poirot novels, and an unusual one to go for as a first feature length adaption. Having not read the original book myself, I don't know how close faithful this adaption is, but I believe that it remains close the source material. The plot is very good, one of Christie's cleverer plots, and the adaption shows this well. There are no end of suspects, it seems there is no motive, but in Poirot's clever denouement, he reveals all.

Direction, location, soundtrack 

This film really makes the most of the picturesque Devonshire location, with the film being shot for the most part in Salcombe, Devon. Rye's direction is certainly not dark like the later films, but it serves its purpose and boosts the scenery.

Cast and characters 

Captain Hastings accompanies Poirot throughout most of the film, Hugh Fraser as always gives a good performance, who works so well with the amazing David Suchet, who plays Poirot with such skill even though it's early days. Philip Jackson plays Japp who seems to have turned up in Devon of all places, a trick that will happen in most films. Surely Japp should stay in London, don't Devon have their own police force?

The character of Miss Lemon is expanded here, giving her an interest in the paranormal, where she holds a seance for Poirot. These characteristics come from Pauline Moran's own interests, I believe.  Of the guest cast, Polly Walker stands out as Nick Buckley.

Monday, 3 February 2014

REVIEW: Poirot Series 1 (S1)

So, here we are at the beginning of a legend. I thought that with all of the seasons that comprise solely  of  shorter films, I would review them as a series. After all, there are 70 episodes and I haven't the time or energy to review each one.


  • The Adventure of the Clapham Cook
  • Murder in the Mew 
  • The Adventure of Johnnie Waverly 
  • Four and Twenty Blackbirds 
  • The Third Floor Flat 
  • Triangle at Rhodes 
  • Problem at Sea
  • The Incredible Theft
  • The King of Clubs 
  • The Dream 


The first series plays it safe by going for a selection of 10 short stories that are relativity unknown.   None of the famous cases appear, which is the safest way for a new series to play. All of them have good solid plots that create 50 minutes worth of entertainment. There's several murders, a couple of disappearances, and two exotic trips abroad.

In Clapham Cook, an arogant Poirot is annoyed that the only case in the whole of London is a petty search for a missing cook. In Murder in the Mews, on bonfire night, there's a mysterious murder, or is it suicide? Poirot helps to track down a missing child in The Adventure of Johnnie Waverly.

Poirot is intrigued by a man he sees in a restaurant, particularly as he is supposed to be dead in Four and Twenty Blackbirds. In The Third Floor Flat, Poirot finds murder on his own doorstep and in Triangle at Rhodes, Poirot solves a murder on his holiday.

Whilst on a boating trip in Problem at Sea, one of the passengers is murdered, The Incredible Theft sees Poirot investigating the stealing of an important document. The King of Clubs brings Poirot into the world of the film making industry and in The Dream, a mysterious dream culminates in murder.

Direction, production, location

For a first series of a show, not knowing whether there will be another series, it's surprising that there are two episodes set in exotic locations. There must have been a relatively large budget, and I'm sure the beautifully filmed locations boosted the start of the series. The first series shows us Florin Court as Whitehaven Mansions, now an icon and generally known as Poirot's residence.

Cast and characters 

I really like the way we are introduced to the great and diverse character of Hercule Poirot in the first series. We see his shoes, and we gradually get to see his iconic mustache as the camera pans upwards. All of his little eccentricities are wonderfully mastered by David Suchet, who clearly relaxes into the role even in the first series.

We get to meet all of the regular 'family' of Poirot's: Captain Hastings played by Hugh Fraser, Chief Inspector Japp played by Philip Jackson and Miss Lemon played by Pauline Moran. We get to meet them all and the relationships between both characters and the actors are strong and have helped the series to be the success that it is.