4.50 from Paddington was the eighth episode (of twelve) in the BBC series "Miss Marple". The episode was directed by Martin Friend, with a screenplay by T.R. Bowen and first aired on 25 February 1987. It was an adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel of the same name. Joan Hickson, who played the lead role of Miss Marple in this series, also appeared as Mrs Kidder in the previous Margaret Rutherford adaptation of the same novel Murder, She Said.
This adaptation is fairly faithful to the main premise of the original novel. The main change is the investigating officers. In this case, the recurrent character in the series, Inspector Slack is brought in instead of Inspector Craddock.
Comparison with Original Story
(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)
- The police investigators are changed. The adaptation features the series regular Inspector Slack and Sergeant Hay as well as Chief Inspector Duckham from Scotland Yard.
- The Martine storyline is mostly cut out and Martine Stoddart-West does not appear at all. The name Martine Isabelle Perrault is used here as the real name of Anna Stravinska but she has no link with Edmund Crackenthorpe at all.
- Harold Crackenthorpe is killed on the grounds of Rutherford Hall in what looks like an accident. In the original, he had gone back to London and was poisoned.
- There is no mass arsenic poisoning of the family. Alfred is not killed. However he tells Emma that he is suffering from a terminal illness which he blames Quimper for failing to diagnose. Miss Marple speculates at the end that Quimper might have deliberately refrained from diagnosing the illness.
- The Ballet Maritska (changed from Maritski) is touring Britain. Presumably this removes expense of location filming in Paris.
- Both Cedric and Bryan Eastley are interested in Lucy. Lucy at first responds to Cedric but rejects him after she overhears Cedric's account of his adulterous affair at a hotel, his alibi for the day of the murder. In the end, Miss Marple unambiguously opines that Lucy Eyelesbarrow will marry Bryan Eastley, whereas this was merely one of the possibilities suggested in the original novel.
- Joan Hickson as Miss Jane Marple
- Juliette Mole as Anna Stravinska
- David Beames as Bryan Eastley
- Mona Bruce as Mrs. McGillicuddy
- Nicholas Blane as Paddington Porter
- Katy Jarrett as Mary
- Leslie Adams as Desk Sergeant
- David Horovitch as Detective Inspector Slack
- Ian Brimble as Detective Sergeant Lake
- Rhoda Lewis as Mrs Brogan
- Jill Meager as Lucy Eyelesbarrow
- Joanna David as Emma Crackenthorpe
- Maurice Denham as Luther Crackenthorpe
- Andrew Burt as Dr. John Quimper
- Pamela Pitchford as Mrs Kidder
- Christopher Haley as Alexander Eastley
- Daniele Stroppa (credited as Daniel Steel) as James Stoddart-West
- Bernard Brown as Harold Crackenthorpe
- Robert East as Alfred Crackenthorpe
- John Hallam as Cedric Crackenthorpe
- Alan Penn as Patmore
- David Waller as Chief Inspector Duckham
- Will Tacey as Arthur Wimborne
- Jean Boht as Madame Joliet
- David Allen as Pianist
- Naomi Sorkin as Dancer
- Derek Deane as Dancer
- Emma Hitching as Francoise
- Richard Ashley as Detective Sergeant
- John Hoye as PC Jones (uncredited)
Other characters mentioned
- Marylebone Station, Marylebone, London, England - Paddington station
- Orchardleigh House, Frome, Somerset, England - Rutherford Hall
- Wiltshire Constabulary Divisional Police Headquarters, Salisbury - county constabulary