A Murder is Announced is the fourth episode of the first series of Agatha Christie's Marple. It was broadcast on ITV by Granada Television on 2 January 2005. The screenplay was written by Stewart Harcourt and the episode was directed by John Strickland. It was an adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel of the same name.
Synopsis[edit | edit source]
The residents of Chipping Cleghorn are astonished to read an advert in the local newspaper that a murder will take place the following Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Little Paddocks, the home of Letitia Blacklock. A group gathers and at that precise moment, the lights go out and a young hotel employee, Rudi Schertz, is shot. The police assume he had placed the ad and planned it as a robbery, but for Miss Marple it's not that obvious. She believes that the killer was likely one of the people in the room. When two of those present the evening of the murder are subsequently killed, it is left to Miss Marple to unravel a complex series of relationships and false identities, all centered around Randall Goedler a wealthy industrialist who had died 10 years earlier.
Comparison with the original story[edit | edit source]
- The vicar Julian Harmon and his wife Diana, with whom Miss Marple stays are not present in the episode and Miss Marple stays in the home of Miss Murgatroyd, who has become in this version the daughter of an old friend.
- Because of the absence of the Harmons, the cat Tiglath Pileser is also not present. The vital clue about how the lights in Little Paddocks were fused was not provided by the cat but by Miss Marple herself who was thinking about the Shepherdess lamp and the fact that Miss Blacklock was holding a vase of violets. Miss Marple conducted the experiment herself by pouring a glass of water onto the frayed cord of her own lamp,
- Also because of the absence of Diana Harmon, there is no one for Miss Marple to discuss her village parallels with and the entire investigation here does not depend on village parallels at all.
- The character of Mrs. Easterbrook is not present.
- The Colonel is a divorced alcoholic expelled from the army with a daughter named Laura Easterbrook. There is a photo of her but he had not seen her for over ten years.
- Mrs. Swettenham is a single mother trying to convince Colonel Easterbrook to marry her; his son, Edmund, is not keen to see this happening.
- The love story between Edmund and Philippa has been eliminated.
- Hinch and Murgatroyd, unlike the novel, are two young lesbian women.
- Patrick and "Julia" (Emma) are much more intimate than it appears in the novel.
- Inspector Craddock is impatient and much more aggressive.
- When Miss Murgatroyd is killed, both Hinch and Miss Marple are a few steps from her. It is difficult to think that neither of them saw anything; in the novel, however, when she is killed, Murgatroyd is alone and there's nobody else in the house.
- Miss Blacklock doesn't try to kill Mitzi, but on the contrary, is Mitzi that tries to kill Miss Blacklock.
- When it is discovered that Miss Blacklock is the murderer, the ghost of Dora Bunner enters the room (not seen by anyone apart from Miss Marple and Miss Blacklock).
- The episode ends with the death of Belle Goedler, which did not occur in the novel.
Cast[edit | edit source]
- Geraldine McEwan as Miss Marple
- Christian Coulson as Edmund Swettenham
- Cherie Lunghi as Sadie Swettenham
- Robert Pugh as Colonel Easterbrook
- Keeley Hawes as Phillipa Haymes
- Zoë Wanamaker as Letitia Blacklock
- Claire Skinner as Amy Murgatroyd
- Frances Barber as Lizzie Hinchcliffe
- Elaine Paige as Dora Bunner
- Matthew Goode as Patrick Simmons
- Sienna Guillory as Julia Simmons
- Catherine Tate as Mitzi Kosinski
- Christian Rubeck (as Christian Pedersen) as Rudi Schertz
- Alexander Armstrong as D.I. Dermot Craddock
- Richard Dixon as Rowlandson
- Nicole Lewis as Myrna Harris
- Gerard Horan as D.S. Fletcher
- Lesley Nicol as Nurse McClelland
- Virginia McKenna as Belle Goedler
Tropes and Themes[edit | edit source]
(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)
- The victim knows a dark secret.
- The murderer pretends to be the intended victim.
- The lights go out before the murder.
- The witnesses are intentionally misled.