Last year’s And Then There were None was a real Christmas treat – the lavish adaptation of the Agatha Christie hit drew in viewers by their many millions thanks to a brilliantly written version by Sarah Phelps, an all-star cast, sumptuous decor and fine direction. This mini-series was in stark contrast to the lamentable David Walliams’ Partners In Crime, which seemed to rankle with many Christie die-hards and missed a bit of a trick. So a mixed bag so far for the Beeb’s new relationship with the Christie estate. But now the next adaptation has been announced. The good news? It has been adapted, once again, by Sarah Phelps.
The adaptation for BBC1 of Agatha Christie’s classic title The Witness For The Prosecution is adapted by Phelps, directed by Julian Jarrold and co-produced by Mammoth Screen and Agatha Christie Productions.
It will be a two-part adaptation of Christie’s 1925 short story of the same title. One of Christie’s most celebrated titles, it was later turned into a successful stage play and a much-loved film (1957) directed by Billy Wilder.
It’s set in 1920s London where a murder, brutal and bloodthirsty, has stained the plush carpets of a handsome London townhouse. The victim is the glamorous and enormously rich Emily French. All the evidence points to Leonard Vole, a young chancer to whom the heiress left her vast fortune and who ruthlessly took her life. At least, this is the story that Emily’s dedicated housekeeper Janet Mackenzie stands by in court. Leonard however, is adamant that his partner, the enigmatic chorus girl Romaine, can prove his innocence.
Phelps said: “With the long terrible shadow of the Great War falling across the rackety, feral 1920s, The Witness For The Prosecution is a compelling story of deceit, desire, murder, money and morality, innocence and guilt, heartbreak and – most painful and dangerous of all – love. At the centre of this dark and tangled net is the astonishing character of Romaine, a noir heroine for all our times.”
If it’s anything like And Then There Were None, we’re in for a treat. More news as we get it…