Agatha Christie Marple 4.02 Murder is Easy (2009, Mystery TV) – 3/10 review

Julia McKenzie: Miss Marple
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Camilla Arfwedson: Rose Humbleby
Tim Brooke-Taylor: Dr Edward Humbleby
Anna Chancellor: Lydia Horton
Benedict Cumberbatch: Luke Fitzwilliam
David Haig: Major Hugh Horton
Shirley Henderson: Honoria Waynflete
James Lance: Dr Geoffrey Thomas
Lyndsey Marshal: Amy Gibbs
Steve Pemberton: Henry Wake
Jemma Redgrave: Jessie Humbleby
Hugo Speer: James Abbot
Margo Stilley: Bridget Conway
Sylvia Syms: Lavinia Pinkerton
Russell Tovey: PC Terence Reed
Writer (Screenplay): Stephen Churchett
Producer: Karen Thrussell
Director: Hettie MacDonald
Stephen Churchett: Coroner

Agatha Christie: Marple 4.02 Murder Is Easy (2009)

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.

3/10

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.

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