Agatha Christie,  television

Stylish Television: And Then There Were None

‘And then there were none’ is one of Agatha Christie’s most famous books, one that is often voted her very best story, and it was the first of the recent BBC TV adaptations when it came to the screen in 2015. It’s stage version is currently touring the UK, and I am very excited about going to see it in Birmingham on Wednesday (I saw a previous version a few years ago and you can read that review here.) As a precursor to this, I have just re-watched the BBC version, which is now available on i player.

There have been many versions of And then there were none, including three film versions, the best being the 1945 version. (There was also a version called Ten Little Indians in 1965, and one set in the desert in 1974). The BBC version, written by the ever reliable Sarah Phelps, is by far superior to any of the film versions, in that it stays as bleak as Agatha intended it too. There is no happy, or redeemable ending to this story, no mistaken identity, as in the 1974 version, and all the killers were most definitely guilty, even the beguiling Miss Claythorne. There may be a touch of lust (well, Aiden Turner is in the house so totally understandable) but this is about being judged and found guilty, even if you think you’ve got away with it, or even think you have nothing to answer for, and it does what it says on the tin, and in some style.

The beautiful but deserted and desolate house is a brilliant setting, with the cut off island becoming a hunting ground for a faceless, nameless killer. The superb cast show every sort of emotion, and the clever use of flashbacks show us the depth of their guilt. The aforementioned Aiden Turner, Sam Neil, Anna Maxwell Martin and Charles Dance all shine, but it is Maeve Dermody who steals the show with her slinky, glamorous, yet utterly ruthless Vera.

You can catch the full series of And then there were none currently on BBC iplayer, and it is well worth a watch, or re-watch. It truly is a brilliant adaptation of a classic book.

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