Agatha Christie's Marple

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Agatha Christie's Marple
Agatha Christie Marple.jpg
Also known asMarple
Starring Geraldine McEwan (2004–2009)
Julia McKenzie (2009–2013)
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series6
No. of episodes23 (list of episodes)
Production
Running time88–94 minutes
Production companiesAgatha Christie Ltd. (Chorion/RLJ Entertainment)
ITV Studios
WGBH Boston
Distributor ITV Studios Global Entertainment
Release
Original network ITV
Picture format 16:9 1080i
Audio format Stereo
Original release12 December 2004 (2004-12-12) 
29 December 2013 (2013-12-29)
Chronology
Related shows Miss Marple

Agatha Christie's Marple (or simply Marple) is a British ITV television programme loosely based on the books and short stories by British crime novelist Agatha Christie. The title character was played by Geraldine McEwan from the first to the third series, until her retirement from the role, and by Julia McKenzie from the fourth series onwards. Unlike the counterpart TV series Agatha Christie’s Poirot , the show took many liberties with Christie’s works, most notably adding Miss Marple’s character to the adaptations of novels in which she never appeared. Following the conclusion of the sixth series, BBC acquired the rights for the production of Agatha Christie adaptations, suggesting that ITV would be unable to make a seventh series of Marple. [1] [2]

Contents

Overview

Each series consists of four feature-length episodes, except series six which only has three episodes. The first six episodes were all adaptations of Miss Marple novels by Christie. Subsequent episodes were derived both from works featuring Miss Marple and also Christie novels that did not feature the character. The title of the series removes the word Miss from Miss Marple, to match the title of the Agatha Christie's Poirot series. [3]

Plot outline

Agatha Christie's Marple follows the adventures of Miss Jane Marple, an elderly spinster living in the quiet little village of St. Mary Mead. During her many visits to friends and relatives in other villages (and sometimes when simply being at home), Miss Marple often stumbles upon or hears about mysterious murders, which she helps solve. Although the police are sometimes reluctant to accept Miss Marple's help, her reputation and unparalleled powers of observation eventually win them over.

During her adventures, Miss Marple is aided by close friends, relatives, or other allies that she meets, which include Tommy and Tuppence – protagonists of another series of Christie novels.

Recurring characters

The only character to appear in every episode is Miss Marple herself, played by Geraldine McEwan through series 3 and by Julia McKenzie from series 4 onwards. [4] [5]

A few other characters appear in more than one episode, although they are not always played by the same actor. Exceptions are Joanna Lumley, who plays Mrs Dolly Bantry in The Body in the Library and The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side, and Stephen Churchett, who appears as the coroner in four episodes.

Dr Haydock appears in three episodes, but is played by three actors: Robin Soans in The Body in the Library, Robert Powell in The Murder at the Vicarage and Neil Stuke in The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side. Jason Rafiel, an old friend of Marple's, was voiced by Herbert Lom (who also made an on-screen appearance as Mr Dufosse in The Murder at the Vicarage) in Nemesis and played by Antony Sher in A Caribbean Mystery.

The series also featured real-life characters: Winston Churchill appeared in The Sittaford Mystery , Noël Coward in 4.50 from Paddington , Louis Armstrong in At Bertram's Hotel , and Ian Fleming and James Bond in A Caribbean Mystery .

Adaptations and changes from novels

Christie's twelve novels featuring Miss Marple were all adapted for the series. The Murder at the Vicarage , The Body in the Library , 4.50 from Paddington , and A Murder is Announced in Series 1, Sleeping Murder and The Moving Finger in Series 2, At Bertram's Hotel and Nemesis in Series 3, A Pocket Full of Rye and They Do It with Mirrors in Series 4, The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side in Series 5 and A Caribbean Mystery in Series 6.

In addition, several short stories featuring Miss Marple were adapted into full-length episodes across the series. The Blue Geranium in Series 5, elements of The Herb of Death were incorporated into the adaptation of The Secret of Chimneys in Series 5, while Greenshaw's Folly and The Thumb Mark of St. Peter were combined into one story for Series 6.

Across the twenty-three adaptations, many changes have been made from the source material.

Awards and nominations

Geraldine McEwan was nominated for a Satellite Award in 2005 for her role as Miss Marple in Series 1. [6] The first series was also nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in 2005.

Worldwide distribution

Agatha Christie's Marple is aired in the United States on PBS on Mystery! , where it is presented as Agatha Christie's "Miss Marple". The series is broadcast to the whole of Canada on CBC and in French on Radio-Canada. In Australia, Agatha Christie's Marple airs on ABC1.

Marple is also being broadcast on ATV World in Hong Kong, on EBS and MegaTV in South Korea and on CCTV-8 in China. China, however, refused to show The Body in the Library and Murder Is Easy, due to the involvement of a lesbian and an incestuous relationship respectively. Why Didn't They Ask Evans? was extensively edited, due to the involvement of War-period China.

In Norway, the series has been airing on state broadcaster NRK1 as "Miss Marple". In Sweden, Marple airs on TV4, the biggest commercial TV station. In Poland, the series airs on Ale Kino+. In the Czech Republic it is broadcast under the title Slečna Marplová, Czech for "Miss Marple".

In Brazil, the series airs on HBO Brasil. In the Netherlands it is broadcast on BBC First.

DVD releases

The first series of Marple was released in March 2005 in the UK, followed by the second series in July 2006. Series 1 was released in the US (Region 1) in May 2005, followed by the second series in August 2006.

The third series was released in October 2007 in the US, but its UK release was delayed because of ITV's decision to defer airing the final two installments. ITV released the third series on DVD in October 2008, before the broadcast of the final episode, Nemesis in January 2009.

Series 4 was released in the UK in January 2010, before the airing of Why Didn't They Ask Evans? in June 2011. The fourth series was released in Region 1 in August 2009, after the conclusion of the broadcast on PBS Mystery!

Series 5 episodes The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side, The Secret of Chimneys and The Blue Geranium were released in the US (Region 1) in August 2010. The remaining episode of the fifth series, The Pale Horse, was released separately in June 2011, coinciding with its broadcast on PBS Mystery! that year. Series 5 was released in the UK (Region 2) in June 2011. Series 1 to 5 were released in a 20 DVD box-set as "Agatha Christie's Marple – The Collection" in August 2011 in the UK.

Series 6 was released in the UK (Region 2) on 6 January 2014. [7] Series 1 to 6 were released in a 22 DVD box-set as "Marple: The Collection" on 13 January 2014. [8]

Location

Marple was filmed in various locations, including London, the villages of Englefield in Berkshire, Chilham in Kent, Turville in Buckinghamshire and Blewbury in Oxfordshire. Windsor Guildhall in Windsor was featured as the fictional Melchester in Murder at the Vicarage . The interior of Highclere Castle was used in 4.50 From Paddington , Knebworth House was used in The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding , 4.50 From Paddington and Greenshaw's Folly . Hatfield House was used as Chimneys in The Secret of Chimneys . Hambleden was used as St. Mary Mead and Dorney Court featured in The Body in the Library as Gossington Hall, home of the Bantrys, and also as the vicarage in "The Moving Finger" Fawley Court in Buckinghamshire was used as Stoneygates in They Do It with Mirrors and The Grotto was used as the exterior of the secret folly in Endless Night . [9] In Why Didn't They Ask Evans? , the Castle Savage scenes were largely filmed at Loseley Park near Guildford. A Caribbean Mystery was filmed in Cape Town, South Africa. The beach scenes were shot at Boulders Beach.[ citation needed ] Scenes were filmed in Dorchester for Endless Night . [10] The exterior of Marina Gregg's house in The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side were filmed at North Mymms Park. The cemetery in Nemesis was filmed at Waverley Abbey.

Ratings

Series 1

DateEpisodeViewers
(millions) [11]
12 December 2004 The Body in the Library 8.72
19 December 2004 The Murder at the Vicarage 8.36
26 December 2004 4.50 from Paddington 5.95
2 January 2005 A Murder Is Announced 7.78

Series 2

DateEpisodeViewers
(millions)
5 February 2006 Sleeping Murder 8.74
12 February 2006 The Moving Finger 7.89
19 February 2006 By the Pricking of My Thumbs 7.93
30 April 2006 The Sittaford Mystery 6.58

Series 3

DateEpisodeViewers
(millions)
23 September 2007 At Bertram's Hotel 5.41
30 September 2007 Ordeal by Innocence 5.54
3 August 2008 Towards Zero 5.84
1 January 2009 Nemesis 4.48

Series 4

DateEpisodeViewers
(millions)
6 September 2009 A Pocket Full of Rye 5.39
13 September 2009 Murder Is Easy 4.86
1 January 2010 They Do It with Mirrors 5.55
15 June 2010 Why Didn't They Ask Evans? 4.51

Series 5

DateEpisodeViewers
(millions)
30 August 2010 The Pale Horse 5.11
27 December 2010 The Secret of Chimneys 5.06
29 December 2010 The Blue Geranium 5.96
2 January 2011 The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side 4.93

Series 6

DateEpisodeViewers
(millions)
16 June 2013 A Caribbean Mystery 4.89
23 June 2013 Greenshaw's Folly 5.11
29 December 2013 Endless Night 5.34

Related Research Articles

Miss Marple is a fictional character in Agatha Christie's crime novels and short stories. Jane Marple lives in the village of St. Mary Mead and acts as an amateur consulting detective. Often characterized as an elderly spinster, she is one of Christie's best-known characters and has been portrayed numerous times on screen. Her first appearance was in a short story published in The Royal Magazine in December 1927, "The Tuesday Night Club", which later became the first chapter of The Thirteen Problems (1932). Her first appearance in a full-length novel was in The Murder at the Vicarage in 1930, and her last appearance was in Sleeping Murder in 1976.

<i>Agatha Christies Poirot</i> British TV series (1989–2013)

Poirot is a British mystery drama television programme that aired on ITV from 8 January 1989 to 13 November 2013. David Suchet starred as the eponymous detective, Agatha Christie's fictional Hercule Poirot. Initially produced by LWT, the series was later produced by ITV Studios. The series also aired on VisionTV in Canada and on PBS and A&E in the United States.

<i>Sleeping Murder</i> 1976 Miss Marple novel by Agatha Christie

Sleeping Murder: Miss Marple's Last Case is a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie and first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club in October 1976 and in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company later in the same year. The UK edition retailed for £3.50 and the US edition for $7.95.

<i>The Mirror Crackd from Side to Side</i> 1962 Miss Marple novel by Agatha Christie

The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side, a novel by Agatha Christie, was published in the UK in 1962 and a year later in the US under the title The Mirror Crack'd. The story features amateur detective Miss Marple solving a mystery in St. Mary Mead.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">St Mary Mead</span> Fictional English Village

St Mary Mead is a fictional village created by popular crime fiction author Dame Agatha Christie.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Joan Hickson</span> British actress

Joan Bogle Hickson, OBE was an English actress of theatre, film and television. She was known for her role as Agatha Christie's Miss Marple in the television series Miss Marple. She also narrated a number of Miss Marple stories on audiobooks.

<i>The Murder at the Vicarage</i> 1930 Miss Marple novel by Agatha Christie

The Murder at the Vicarage is a work of detective fiction by British writer Agatha Christie, first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club in October 1930 and in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company later in the same year. The UK edition retailed at seven shillings and sixpence and the US edition at $2.00.

<i>A Murder Is Announced</i> 1950 novel by Agatha Christie

A Murder Is Announced is a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie, first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club in June 1950 and in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company in the same month. The UK edition sold for eight shillings and sixpence (8/6) and the US edition at $2.50.

<i>4.50 from Paddington</i> 1957 Miss Marple novel by Agatha Christie

4.50 from Paddington is a detective fiction novel by Agatha Christie, first published in November 1957 by Collins Crime Club. This work was published in the United States at the same time as What Mrs McGillicuddy Saw!, by Dodd, Mead. The novel was published in serial form before the book was released in each nation, and under different titles. The US edition retailed at $2.95.

<i>The Pale Horse</i> 1961 novel by Agatha Christie

The Pale Horse is a work of detective fiction by British writer Agatha Christie, first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club on 6 November 1961, and in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company the following year. The UK edition retailed at fifteen shillings and the US edition at $3.75. The novel features her novelist detective Ariadne Oliver as a minor character, and reflects in tone the supernatural novels of Dennis Wheatley who was then at the height of his popularity. The Pale Horse is mentioned in Revelation 6:8, where it is ridden by Death.

<i>A Caribbean Mystery</i> 1964 Miss Marple novel by Agatha Christie

A Caribbean Mystery is a work of detective fiction by British writer Agatha Christie, first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club on 16 November 1964 and in the United States by Dodd, Mead and Company the following year. The UK edition retailed at sixteen shillings (16/-) and the US edition at $4.50. It features the detective Miss Marple.

<i>Nemesis</i> (Christie novel) 1971 Miss Marple novel by Agatha Christie

Nemesis is a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie (1890–1976) and first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club in November 1971 and in the US by Dodd, Mead and Company later in the same year. The UK edition retailed at £1.50 and the US edition at $6.95. It was the last Miss Marple novel the author wrote, although Sleeping Murder was the last Miss Marple novel to be published.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Julia McKenzie</span> English actress, presenter, director, writer

Julia Kathleen Nancy McKenzie, is an English actress, singer, presenter, and theatre director. She has premièred leading roles written by both Alan Ayckbourn and Stephen Sondheim. On television, she is known for her BAFTA Award nominated role as Hester Fields in the sitcom Fresh Fields (1984–1986) and its sequel French Fields (1989–1991), and as Miss Marple in Agatha Christie's Marple (2009–2013).

<i>Miss Marple</i> (TV series) BBC adaptation of the novels by Agatha Christie starring Joan Hickson

Miss Marple is a British television series based on the Miss Marple murder mystery novels by Agatha Christie, starring Joan Hickson in the title role. It aired from 26 December 1984 to 27 December 1992 on BBC One. All 12 original Miss Marple Christie novels were dramatised. The adaptations were written by T. R. Bowen, Julia Jones, Alan Plater, Ken Taylor and Jill Hyem, and the series was produced by George Gallaccio. In addition to its availability on VHS and DVD, the series began to be released on Blu-ray Disc in October 2014, marking its 30th anniversary.

In Agatha Christie's mystery novels, several characters cross over different sagas, creating a fictional universe in which most of her stories are set. This article has one table to summarize the novels with characters who occur in other Christie novels; the table is titled Crossovers by Christie. There is brief mention of characters crossing over in adaptations of the novels. Her publications, both novels and short stories, are then listed by main detective, in order of publication. Some stories or novels authorised by the estate of Agatha Christie, using the characters she created, and written long after Agatha Christie died, are included in the lists.

Lists of adaptations of the works of Agatha Christie:

Sir Henry Clithering is a fictional character who appears in a series of short stories by Agatha Christie, featuring Jane Marple. The stories were first published in monthly magazines starting in 1927, and then collected into a hard-bound collection, The Thirteen Problems in 1932. Clithering also appeared in several novels featuring Miss Marple.

Raymond West is a fictional character who appears or is mentioned in several of Agatha Christie's novels and short stories featuring Jane Marple.

Miss Marple is a series of full cast BBC Radio drama adaptations of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple stories. The original series consisted of adaptations of all twelve Miss Marple novels, dramatised by Michael Bakewell and directed by Enyd Williams. They were broadcast on BBC Radio 4 between 1993 and 2001 and starred June Whitfield as Miss Marple.

References

  1. "David Walliams heralds new era for BBC as the new home of Agatha Christie adaptations", Radio Times, 28 February 2014, archived from the original on 23 March 2014, retrieved 23 March 2014.
  2. "Case closed: ITV's Miss Marple", The Mirror, UK.
  3. "Media, books", The Guardian, United Kingdom, 22 October 2004.
  4. "McKenzie lands 'Miss Marple' role". 11 February 2008.
  5. Brook, Stephen (11 February 2008). "Julia McKenzie confirmed as ITV1's new Miss Marple". The Guardian.
  6. "Geraldine McEwan". IMDb.
  7. "Agatha Christie's Marple – Series 6". Amazon. 6 January 2014.
  8. "Marple: The Collection – Series 1-6". Amazon.
  9. "Houses". Archived from the original on 22 February 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  10. "Shooting starts in Dorchester for new Miss Marple". Oxford Mail.
  11. "BARB – Broadcasters Audience Research Board". barb.co.uk.