I was very happy (delighted, ecstatic, elated, jubilant, overjoyed, thrilled) to hear that the BBC would be producing Agatha Christie’s masterpiece, “And Then There Were None” for television this year (next year in the U.S.). This will be the first time this story has been produced for television (though it did hit the big screen in 1945 and 1974), and it should be a stellar event. How can you go wrong with this fabulous cast?
Douglas Booth as Anthony Marston
Charles Dance as Justice Lawrence Wargrave
Maeve Dermody as Vera Claythorne
Burn Gorman as William Blore
Anna Maxwell Martin as Ethel Rogers
Sam Neill as General John MacArthur
Miranda Richardson as Miss Emily Brent
Toby Stephens as Dr Edward Armstrong
Noah Taylor as Thomas Rogers
Aidan Turner as Philip Lombard
If you haven’t read the book (and, if you haven’t, you should be feeling some literary shame at this point), you have missed one of the greatest, if not the greatest, mystery plots of all time. The story centers around eight people, complete strangers to each other, who are invited, supposedly by mutual friends, to spend a few days on Soldier Island. (The name of the island and of the book have gone through a number of changes since Christie wrote it in 1939, but "Soldier Island" and And Then There Were None seem to have stuck.)
When the guests arrive, they find their host, the mysterious Mr. U. N. Owen, has left them in the charge of the butler and cook, husband and wife, who are also new to the island and have never met their employer. After dinner the first night, a record plays on the phonograph, and Mr. Owen’s voice accuses each of the ten people present of crimes for which the law cannot touch them. Terrified and unable to escape the confines of the island, one by one, just as described in the nursery rhyme of the ten little soldier boys, people begin to die. But will they catch the killer before there is no one left?
I’m so eager to see this (and, no, it’s not just because the delicious Aidan Turner is playing the hero, Philip Lombard), but as always with these adaptations of classic works, I’m worried about what the BBC will do with the story. I love Dame Agatha’s books, and I hate to see producers take her early 20th Century characters and give them 21st Century attitudes. I’m a bit concerned about what Damien Timmer, Managing Director of Mammoth Screen, said on the subject of the new production: "We're really proud to be working with Sarah Phelps on her searingly modern adaption of Agatha Christie's masterpiece.”
“Searingly modern”? I hope not. “Modern” is all around us. Give me historical every time, and be true to what the author wrote!
Anyway, I’m eager to see what they do with the story. As written, it really would be a challenge to film, especially the end. In fact, both of the earlier films changed the ending, and for once I was happy with that. I just want to see it. Aidan Turner is just the cherry on top!Have you read And Then There Were None? How did you like it? Are there other Christie mysteries you prefer?
Had you heard about this new production? What do you think? Will you watch?
Ummm . . . Aidan Turner, right? Right?