Wednesday, 24 December 2014

A Christie For Christmas

(c) ITV
There are many things that constitute a great British Christmas. There's the turkey, stuffing and pigs-in-blankets, the crackers, the beautifully decorated tree, the presents and of course, the television. These days, many families across the UK, and indeed the world, settle down on Christmas day to watch the Queen's speech, or perhaps Doctor Who or the Downton Abbey special. But going back in time, people had something else to look forward to each December.

Mostly every year up until her death in 1976, Agatha Christie released a new crime fiction novel. Some featured her most celebrated detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. But every one was an exciting murder mystery that the public looked forward to. Hercule Poirot's Christmas, The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and 4.50 From Paddington were all classic Christie Christmas tales. This tradition became known as "A Christie For Christmas".

(c) ITV 
These days, the tradition has been continued be adapting Dame Agatha's work for television. Ten years ago, ITV released the first series of their Miss Marple films, starring the wonderful Geraldine McEwan as the elderly sleuth. "The Body in the Library", "The Murder at the Vicarage", "4.50 From Paddington" and "A Murder is Announced" were the first episodes, originally broadcast at Christmas 2004. In more recent years, ITV adapted "Murder on the Orient Express" in 2010 starring David Suchet for the series "Agatha Christie's Poirot", as wells as "Clocks" in 2011. In keeping with the tradition, ITV broadcast the final episode of the Marple series, "Endless Night", starring Julia McKenzie, in December 2013.

Unfortunately, there are no adaptations of Christie's novels or short stories to look forward to this Christmas, so the tradition seems to have been broken. However, on ITV3, the first series of Marple is being shown, so look out for that. Next year, the BBC will be making a three-part adaptation of And Then There Were None which is expected to be broadcast at Christmas 2015. In the meantime, we will have to dust off our copies of the many great DVDs of Agatha's works to watch this Christmas as they do make great viewing for the festive period. And what could be better than reading a Christie novel in front of a roaring fire on Christmas morning?

Wishing all of my followers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, from Agatha Christie Web