The past two Christmasses have seen new Agatha Christie adaptations from Sarah Phelps. They’ve been sensational, not only refreshing the Christie brand for a new generation (while keeping the period stylings and Christie twists and turns), but also marking Phelps out as one of our very best screenwriters. And The There Were None and Witness For The Prosecution were must-watch television events. We knew that this year’s Christie adaptation – also from Phelps – was to be Ordeal By Innocence. Now we know the cast.
Filming begins in Scotland this month and will boast a cast that includes: Bill Nighy and Catherine Keener are joined by Matthew Goode, Eleanor Tomlinson (pictured), Anthony Boyle, Ed Westwick, Luke Treadaway, Morven Christie, Crystal Clarke, Ella Purnell and Alice Eve.
Now that is a cast.
Adapted from Christie’s 1958 novel of the same title, Ordeal By Innocence is set at Christmas in 1954. Wealthy philanthropist Rachel Argyll is murdered at her family estate Sunny Point.Her adopted son Jack Argyll, a young delinquent, is arrested for her murder. He vehemently protests his innocence.
Eighteen months later, Dr Arthur Calgary, a scientist, walks onto the velvety lawns of Sunny Point claiming to have just returned from an expedition to the Arctic. Even more extraordinary is his claim to hold the alibi that can prove Jack’s innocence. But Jack died in prison before the case could come to trial, and the Argyll family is reluctant to dig up the secrets of the past.
Rachel’s widower Leo is about to remarry his secretary Gwenda and none of Rachel’s other adopted children Mary, Mickey, Tina or Hester, nor longstanding housekeeper Kirsten, is willing to reopen that most horrendous chapter of their lives. However, the shattering implications of Calgary’s story are too big to avoid; if he is telling the truth then the wrong person was arrested for Rachel’s murder. And if Jack was not the killer, then it must have been somebody else at Sunny Point.