Agatha Christie’s Poirot The Clocks (2009) – 7/10 period murder mystery TV review

Cast / crew
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Writer (Screenplay): Stewart Harcourt
Frances Barber: Merlina Rival
Stephen Boxer: Christopher Mabbutt
Tom Burke: Lt. Colin Race
Phil Daniels: Inspector Hardcastle
Beatie Edney: Mrs Hemmings
Guy Henry: Matthew Waterhouse
Anna Massey: Miss Pebmarsh
Geoffrey Palmer: Vice Admiral Hamling
Tessa Peake-Jones: Val Bland
Ben Righton: Constable Jenkins
Lesley Sharp: Miss Martindale
Abigail Thaw: Rachel Waterhouse
Jason Watkins: Joe Bland
Jaime Winstone: Sheila Webb
Producer: Karen Thrussell
Director: Charles Palmer

Poirot, Agatha Christie’s Clocks, The (2009)

A typist is booked by a blind woman to be at her house at 3:00pm but when she arrives she finds four clocks set to 4:13. And a dead body, of course.

7/10

Good episode of Poirot because it is, however mildly, fun, a quality that is in short supply in the feature-length adaptations. On top of this, the clues, characters and mystery are presented clearly and kept in focus and, while Poirot does keep a clue away from the audience (a marriage certificate), there are enough other clues to the how and who to get us most of the way there if we’re paying attention. The support cast do a good job with Phil Daniels balancing his character delicately and Tom Burke providing a surprisingly welcome romantic element.

This Poirot, Agatha Christie’s episode contains adult dialogue and brief gory violence, graphic fatal car accident.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot Hallowe’en Party (2010) – 6/10 period murder mystery TV review

Cast / crew
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Writer (Screenplay): Mark Gatiss
Amelia Bullmore: Judith Butler
Paola Dionisotti: Mrs Goodbody
Deborah Findlay: Rowena Drake
Ian Hallard: Edmund Drake
Georgia King: Frances Drake
Phyllida Law: Mrs Llewellyn-Smythe
Julian Rhind-Tutt: Michael Garfield
Eric Sykes: Mr Fullerton
Sophie Thompson: Mrs Reynolds
Paul Thornley: Inspector Raglan
Timothy West: Reverend Cottrell
Fenella Woolgar: Miss Whittaker
Zoë Wanamaker: Ariadne Oliver
Producer: Karen Thrussell
Director: Charles Palmer

Poirot, Agatha Christie’s Hallowe’en Party (2010)

A child at a Hallowe’en party claims to have seen a murder years ago but didn’t realise it was murder. Now that she’s older, she knows better. Everyone at the party mocks her obviously attention-grabbing lies. Well, everyone except the murderer, of course.

6/10

Most impressively, the critical clue is given without obfuscation to the viewer and Poirot at the same time, nice and early in the investigation. It isn’t until Poirot twigs the significance that the audience realises too. Brilliant. Adapter Mark Gatiss successfully tidies up the reportedly slightly haphazard novel and even managing to briefly shoehorn some lesbians in (as required by ITV period drama law). Director Charles Palmer keeps a good grip on things and delivers a tidy feature-length episode.

This Poirot, Agatha Christie’s episode contains adult dialogue and violence, unpleasant scenes.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

Links

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Agatha Christie: Marple 4.01 A Pocket Full of Rye (2009, Mystery TV) – 5/10 review

Julia McKenzie: Miss Marple
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Helen Baxendale: Mary Dove
Joseph Beattie: Vivian Dubois
Ken Campbell: Crump
Lucy Cohu: Pat Fortescue
Kenneth Cranham: Rex Fortescue
Rupert Graves: Lance Fortescue
Ralf Little: Sergeant Pickford
Matthew Macfadyen: Inspector Neele
Anna Madeley: Adele Fortescue
Ben Miles: Percival Fortescue
Hattie Morahan: Elaine Fortescue
Wendy Richard: Mrs Crump
Edward Tudor Pole: Professor Bernsdorrf
Liz White: Jennifer Fortescue
Prunella Scales: Mrs Mackenzie
Writer (Screenplay): Kevin Elyot
Producer: Karen Thrussell
Director: Charles Palmer
In Memory Of 1941 to 2008: Ken Campbell
In Memory Of 1943 to 2009: Wendy Richard

Agatha Christie: Marple 4.01 Pocket Full of Rye, A (2009)

Unloved patriarch and odious businessman-losing-his-touch Rex Fortescue dies drinking his morning tea while alone in his office. He’s been poisoned but, even more unusually, his pocket is full of rye.

5/10

This whodunit has a brilliant intrigue (why does a dead man have a pocketful of the eponymous rye?) and a mystery where, as is ideal, all the clues can be clearly presented visually without giving the game away. Sadly, new Marple Julia Mckenzie doesn’t sound like an old lady and doesn’t have much of a reason to be where she is most of the time but she does look the part. The critical problem, though, is the same as all the ITV Christie stuff for years: no atmosphere, no fun and no humanity. In place of genuine atmosphere, it’s photographed in a permanent haze. The clumsy director also clearly isn’t interested in character and performance and spends his time impressing himself with flashbacks and different but boring composition. It’s quite well paced but when you’re expecting it to wrap things up, there’s still another ad-break to go.

This Agatha Christie: Marple episode contains unpleasant scenes, violence and mild sexuality.