How thrilling! BBC One has announced its commissioning of two new series based on the popular mysteries of Agatha Christie for the Dame’s 125th celebration year!
Dame Agatha Christie, DBE, is the bestselling novelist of all time, and to celebrate her 125th birthday next year, BBC One — “the new home of Agatha Christie in the UK” — has commissioned new adaptations of And Then There Were None and Partners In Crime.
And Then There Were None, Christie’s most successful work (more than 100 million copies sold), is the timeless tale of ten strangers who die, one by one, after being marooned on an island. The new adaptation will be written by the acclaimed Sarah Phelps (Great Expectations, The Crimson Field) and produced by Mammoth Screen (Parade’s End, Poldark) in partnership with Acorn Productions Ltd (Foyles’s War).
Said Phelps: “‘And Then There Were None’ is Agatha Christie’s masterpiece, a brilliant, unsettling, forensically precise psychological thriller about guilt and paranoia, crime and punishment. It is as sharp as a scalpel, as gripping as a steadily tightening noose, its darkness interspersed with the blackest of black wit. I am thrilled to be working on this and very excited to be bringing it to the small screen and to audiences both familiar with and totally new to Agatha Christie’s unique vision.”
Partners in Crime is the unofficial umbrella title of Christie’s stories featuring the husband-and-wife amateur sleuthing team of Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, who stumble into a world of undercover agents, mysterious evil masterminds, and diabolical political conspiracy as they search for adventure in 1950s England. Two of the stories — The Secret Adversary and N or M? — will return to the small screen in a six-part thriller series starring David Walliams (Blandings, Little Britain) as Tommy. (The role of the impulsive and excitable Tuppence is still to be confirmed.)
The first three episodes will be an adaptation of The Secret Adversary, written by award-winning author, playwright and director Zinnie Harris (MI-5), and writer Claire Wilson will adapt N or M?, which will form the rest of the series. All six episodes will be produced by Endor Productions (Restless, The Escape Artist) in partnership with Acorn Productions Ltd.
Said David Walliams: “In bringing these thrilling stories to the screen, it is our ambition for Tommy and Tuppence to finally take their rightful place alongside Poirot and Marple as iconic Agatha Christie characters. I was first drawn to the delicious notion of a married couple solving crimes together, and the more I read of the Tommy and Tuppence novels and short stories I realised they are among Christie’s very best work.”
Those involved with bringing these new adaptations to the small screen are equally as enthusiastic, including Mathew Prichard, Chairman of Agatha Christie Limited and grandson of Agatha Christie, who shared, “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 her much-loved characters and their stories, and one which she would be delighted with. The commitment to these productions from all those involved is great to see, and I’ve no doubt will result in compelling new adaptations, to be enjoyed by fans old and new.”
On the commissioning side, Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, said: “… We are blessed to have found such like-minded partners in Mathew Prichard and Hilary Strong whose ambition for Christie’s work is modern and creative. We’re thrilled to welcome a brilliant new series ‘Partners In Crime’ and a classic adaptation of one of the best-selling novels of all time ‘And Then There Were None’ to BBC One and we are having lots of exciting discussions about what next.”
And Hilary Strong, Managing Director of Acorn Productions Ltd, added: “We are delighted to unveil these two major new dramas for BBC One. They are an integral part of our plans for the Christie brand… With Christie’s 125th anniversary next year, we are developing innovative new content on all platforms — publishing, digital and theatre — with new adaptations of her timeless stories and channeling new energy into this iconic brand.”
The new adaptation of And Then There Were None is slated for broadcast in the UK on BBC One at Christmas 2015, and the first three episodes of Partners in Crime are currently scheduled to transmit in Autumn 2015. Although not included in the announcement, both will likely premiere in the US exclusively on Acorn TV.