Julia McKenzie: Miss Marple
Miss Pinkerton shares a train carriage with Miss Marple and excitedly tells her that she is on her way to Scotland Yard. Before Miss Pinkerton can arrive, however, she is pushed down an escalator which, to the audience’s great surprise, kills her. Miss Marple wonders why Miss Pinkerton wasn’t pushed in front of a car and decides to go to Wychwood to investigate.
Murder might be easy (there are a whopping six squeezed in here) but generating convincing dialogue, situations and atmosphere is something that ITV is still finding very difficult. As the book’s original hero (Luke Fitzwilliam) is drawn into the story by chance, there is no problem with dropping Miss Marple into the story via the same mechanism but, unlike Agatha Christie, the director and writer don’t cover up the clunkiness with charm, wit, characterisation, insight or intelligence. Additionally, they change the motive of the murderer (not enough SPOILER incestuous rape in Christie’s novel), undermine the meaning of the title, remove the challenge of battling the perfect murderer and make SPOILER Miss Pinkerton’s murder needlessly unlikely. If you’re going to change something, change it for the better. Please. P.S.: Because of the (added) political campaigning elements, it reminds me an awful lot of, I think, a Midsomer Murders episode but I don’t know which one.
This Agatha Christie: Marple episode contains adult dialogue and unpleasant scenes.