Anna Maxwell Martin

And Then There Were None E1 (BBC One) (2015)

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Contains some mild spoilers for episode 1, but not whodunnit…

andthen-1One of the most aggravating things about recent screen adaptations of Agatha Christie’s novels is that today’s generation of network executives seem to regard the source material as too old hat to trust on its own anymore. Instead, recent productions have tended to send up and spoof Christie’s canon (the early series of ITV’s Agatha Christie’s Marple was particularly bad in that respect) or make the stories outright comedies (the woeful Partners in Crime for example.) Even the widely regarded, long-running series of generally excellent David Suchet Hercules Poirot dramas lost faith and started extensively rewriting and reimagining the stories toward the end, usually only managing to demonstrate a complete lack of understanding about what they were dealing with in the process.

It was therefore with some trepidation that I worried about what the BBC would do with its 2015 take on And Then There Were None, commissioned as part of global celebrations for the 125th anniversary of the Queen of Crime’s birth. The book is a favourite of mine and is in fact the best-selling murder mystery of all time around the world, so you’ll forgive me if I’m henceforth hyper-sensitive about any disrespectful failings that I might find here. Read the rest of this entry »

Sherlock “The Empty Hearse” / The Thirteenth Tale / Death Comes to Pemberley

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Christmas is over, the New Year has been seen in, but just before we exit holiday standby mode here are three quick reviews of BBC television festive fare from the last week. There are some mild, implied spoilers but nothing too overt.

Sherlock S3 E1 “The Empty Hearse” (BBC One)

sherlockcoverThe BBC’s high-quality modern version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous consulting detective finally made its long-awaited return to our screens two years after Sherlock Holmes’ apparently fatal plunge off a hospital rooftop. There had been much speculation about how Holmes cheated death and the episode had great fun in dodging and deferring that question, instead presenting some of the more outlandish Internet theories that have been bandied around in the interim (one of which included a lovely cameo by Derren Brown); when the real solution is finally rolled out late in the day, the in-show conspiracy theorist deflates and pronounces it “Disappointing” before immediately picking holes in it, refusing to believe the answer – just like the real-life social media reaction that followed after the show aired. Co-creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat know their audience, that’s for sure. Read the rest of this entry »