Agatha Christie,  television

Stylish Television: Murder is Easy (2023)

Christmas has always been a great time for Agatha Christie fans. In the past it was the time of the annual ‘Christie for Christmas’ when a new book would be released to coincide with the festive season. Now, it is often the time for a new dramatisation, or the always welcomed showings of the adaptations of the past. Already, this Christmas has seen showings of Peter Ustinov’s ‘Death on the Nile‘ and ‘Evil under the Sun‘, along with Angela Lansbury as Miss Marple in ‘The Mirror Crackd‘ and the sublime ‘Witness for the Prosecution‘. There has also been the repeat of Lucy Worsley’s superb 3 part documentary about the author.

Last night saw the showing of the first part of ‘Murder is Easy‘, a BBC dramatisation that has met with mixed reviews to say the least, but I personally really enjoyed it, and thought that David Jonsson was superb as the charismatic stranger in a small village Luke Fitzwilliam. He was ably supported by the always fantastic Penelope Wilton as Miss Pinkerton, Morfydd Clark as Bridget Conway and a frankly unrecognisable Tasmin Outhwaite as Mrs Pierce.

Murder is Easy is a book that has already been adapted for television at least twice, and has often been subject to changes. This is a standalone Christie, no Marple, no Poirot, no Battle, nor Tommy or Tuppence. The original story has Luke Fitzwilliam as a former police officer who becomes embroiled in trying to find out who is at the heart of the murders in Wychwood after the death (murder?) of Miss Pinkerton. In the 90’s, Miss Marple, was added to the plot (played by Julia Mackenzie) with no less than Benedict Cumberbatch as Luke Fitzwilliam. Even though this is hardly faithful to the book in any way, it is my favourite adaptation with great portrayals of the characters and a different, poignant reason for the murders.

The new adaptation is beautiful to watch, with the most incredible colour palette that shows the village in a sort of wistful light, totally at odds with the terrible things that have been happening there.  The costumes are also gorgeous for anyone with a love of the styling of the 1950’s – elegant and glamorous for both the men and women.

Part 2 is tonight, and I, for one, am glad that the tradition of a Christie for Christmas is continuing.

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