Agatha Christie's Marple is a British ITV television series based on the Miss Marple and other murder mystery novels by Agatha Christie. It is also known as Marple. The title character was played by Geraldine McEwan from the first to third series, until her retirement from the role. She was replaced by Julia McKenzie, from the fourth series onwards. Each episode is known for having many well-known co-stars.
The episodes (adapted from original novels and screenplays) were written by Kevin Elyot, Stephen Churchett, Stewart Harcourt, Tom MacRae, Patrick Barlow, Paul Rutman, Russell Lewis, and Charlie Higson.
The first six episodes were all adaptations of Miss Marple novels by Christie. Subsequent episodes were derived from Marple novels and short stories together with other works by Agatha Christie that did not originally feature Miss Marple.
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.
The only character to appear in every episode is Miss Marple herself, played by Geraldine McEwan until series 3 and by Julia McKenzie from series 4 onwards.
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 different 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, Noel Coward in 4:50 from Paddington, Louis Armstrong in At Bertram's Hotel, and Ian Fleming and James Bond in A Caribbean Mystery.
Richard Durden (as Mr Prestcott) Adam Garcia (as Raymond Starr) Florence Hoath (as Pamela Reeves) Ben Miller (as Basil Blake) Tina Martin (as Middle-aged Woman) Bruce Mackinnon (as Scamper) Abigail Neale-Wilkinson (as Jesse) Tara Fitzgerald (as Adelaide Jefferson)
Anna Rawlins (as Beatrice) Robin Soans (as Dr Haydock) Mary Stockley (as Josie Turner) Zoe Thorne (as Florence) Emma Williams (as Ruby Keene) Steven Williams (as Peter Carmody) David Walliams (as George Bartlett)
Rachael Stirling (as Griselda Clement) Mark Gatiss (as Ronald Hawes) Emily Bruni (as Helene Duffosse) Jana Carpenter (as May Ainsworth) Stephen Churchett (as Coroner) Christina Cole (as Lettice Protheroe) Paul Hawkyard (as Frank Tarrant) Siobhan Hayes (as Mary Hill)
Janet McTeer (as Anne Protheroe) Jenny Howe (as Old Hall Maid) Julian Morris (as Dennis Clement) John Owens (as Photographer) Angela Pleasence (as Miss Hartnell) Ruth Sheen (as Mrs Tarrant) Julie Cox (as Young Miss Marple) Marc Warren (as Captain Ainsworth)
Meritxell Lavanchy (as Anna Stravinska) Toby Marlow (as James Stoddard-West) Neve McIntosh (as Lady Stoddard-West) Ciarán McMenamin (as Cedric Crackenthorpe) Kurtis O'Brien (as Alexander Eastley) Tim Stern (as Steward) Pip Torrens (as Noël Coward)
Zoë Wanamaker (as Letitia Blacklock) Alexander Armstrong (as DI Craddock) Elaine Paige (as Dora Bunner) Virginia McKenna (as Belle Goedler) Frances Barber (as Lizzie Hinchcliffe) Cherie Lunghi (as Sadie Swettenham)
Christian Coulson (as Edmund Swettenham) Richard Dickson (as Mr Rowlandson) Matthew Goode (as Patrick Simmons) Sienna Guillory (as Julia Simmons) Keeley Hawes (as Philippa Haymes) Gerard Horan (as Sergeant Fletcher)
Phil Davis (as Dr James Kennedy) Dawn French (as Janet Erskine) Paul McGann (as Dickie Erskine) Una Stubbs (as Edith Pagett) Peter Serafinowicz (as Walter Fane) Sarah Parish (as Eve Ballantyne) Helen Coker (as Lily Tutt) Nickolas Grace (as Lionel Luff)
Anna-Louise Plowman (as Helen Marsden) Richard Bremmer (as Mr Sims) Julian Wadham (as Kelvin Halliday) Martin Kemp (as Jackie Afflick) Sophia Myles (as Gwenda Halliday) Harry Treadaway (as George Erskine) Mary Healey (as Shop Assistant) Greg Hicks (as Ferdinand)
Vincent Leigh (as Jim Tutt) Geraldine Chaplin (as Mrs Fane) Russ Abbot (as CI Arthur Primer) Harriet Walter (as the Duchess of Malfi) Emilio Doorgasingh (as Sergeant Desai) Aidan McArdle (as Hugh Hornbeam) Darren Carnall (as Dresser)
Greta Scacchi (as Tuppence Beresford) Anthony Andrews (as Tommy Beresford) Clare Holman (as Miss Packard) Miriam Karlin (as Marjorie Moody) O. T. Fagbenle (as Chris Murphy) Jody Halse (as Amos Perry) Josie Lawrence (as Hannah Beresford) Michael Begley (as Ethan Maxwell)
Brian Conley (as Eric Johnson) Bonnie Langford (as Betty Johnson) Florence Strickland (as Jane Eyre) Patrick Barlow (as Mr Timothy) Lia Williams (as Nellie Bligh) Steven Berkoff (as Freddie Eccles) Oliver Jordan (as Young Ethan) Michael Maloney (as Dr Joshua Waters)
Leslie Phillips (as Sir Philip Starke) Chloe Pennington (as Young Hannah) Michelle Ryan (as Rose Waters) Claire Bloom (as Aunt Ada) June Whitfield (as Mrs Lancaster) Charles Dance (as Septimus Bligh) Eliza Bennett (as Nora Johnson)
Martine McCutcheon (as Jane Cooper) Stephen Mangan (as Inspector Larry Bird) Polly Walker (as Lady Bess Sedgwick) Vincent Regan (as Mickey Gorman) Hannah Spearritt (as Tilly Rice) Mica Paris (as Amelia Walker) Emily Beecham (as Elvira Blake) Ed Stoppard (as Ladislaus Malinowski)
Charles Kay (as Canon Pennyfather) Mary Nighy (as Brigit Milford) Francesca Annis (as Lady Selina Hazy) Danny Webb (as Mutti) Peter Davison (as Hubert Curtain) Nicholas Burns (as Jack & Joel Britten) [Mark Heap (as Mr Humfries) Isabella Parriss (as Young Miss Marple)
James Howard (as 1891 Hotel Doorman) Adam Smethurst (as Cab Driver) Tony Bignell (as Newsboy) Shenton Dixon (as Louis Armstrong) Sarah London (as Miss Tibbs) Georgia Allen (as Mrs Rice)
Tom Baker (as Frederick Treves) Julie Graham (as Mary Aldin) Paul Nicholls (as Ted Latimer) Julian Sands (as Thomas Royde) Alan Davies (as Superintendent Mallard) Eileen Atkins (as Lady Camilla Tressilian) Greg Wise (as Nevile Strange)
Zoe Tapper (as Kay Strange) Saffron Burrows (as Audrey Strange) Greg Rusedski (as Merrick) Wendy Nottingham (as Mrs Rogers) Amelda Brown (as Barrett) Peter Symonds (as Hurstall) Jo Woodcock (as Alice)
Ben Meyjes (as Inspector Tipping) Thomas Arnold (as Jones) Mike Burnside (as George) Eleanor Turner-Moss (as Diana Brinton) Guy Williams (as Dr Lazenby)
Steve Pemberton (as Henry Wake) James Lance (as Dr Geoffrey Thomas) Margo Stilley (as Bridget Conway) David Haig (as Major Hugh Horton) Russell Tovey (as PC Terence Reed) Tim Brooke-Taylor (as Dr Edward Humbleby)
Lyndsey Marshal (as Amy Gibbs) Camilla Arfwedson (as Rose Humbleby) Stephen Churchett (as Coroner) Steven Hartley (as George Rogers) Julian Lightwing (as Leonard Waynflete)
Nicholas Parsons (as Father Gorman) Elizabeth Rider (as Mrs Davis) Neil Pearson (as DI Lejeune) Jason Merrells (as Dr Edward Kerrigan) Lynda Baron (as Mrs Coppins) J. J. Feild (as Paul Osbourne) Pauline Collins (as Thyrza Grey)
Susan Lynch (as Sybil Stamfordis) Jenny Galloway (as Bella Ellis) Tom Ward (as Captain Cottam) Holly Valance (as Kanga Cottam) Nigel Planer (as Roger Venables) Jonathan Cake (as Mark Easterbrook) Amy Manson (as Ginger Corrigan)
Holly Willoughby (as Goody Carne) Sarah Alexander (as Lydia Harsnet) Bill Paterson (as Mr Bradley) Jodie Hay (as Bertie) Jennifer-Jane Hooker (as Mrs Tuckerton) Julia Molony (as Thomasina Tuckerton) Mike Shepherd (as Chief Mummer)
Donald Sinden (as Sir Henry Clithering) Sharon Small (as Mary Pritchard) Claudie Blakley (as Philippa Pritchard) David Calder (as Reverend Dermot Milewater) Toby Stephens (as George Pritchard) Paul Rhys (as Lewis Pritchard)
Patrick Baladi (as Dr Jonathan Frayn) Claire Rushbrook (as Caroline Copling) Joanna Page (as Hester Milewater) Caroline Catz (as Hazel Instow) Kevin McNally (as DI Somerset) Jason Durr (as Eddie Seward) Hugh Ross (as Lord Justice Carmichael)
Derek Hutchinson (as Concierge) Rebekah Manning (as Susan Carstairs) Ian East (as John the Gardener) Richard Betts (as Clerk of the Court) Benjamin Harcourt (as Peter Pritchard) Thomas Harcourt (as Michael Pritchard) Molly Harcourt (as Susan Pritchard)
Martin Jarvis (as Vincent Hogg) Hannah Waddingham (as Lola Brewster) Charlotte Riley (as Margot Bence) Caroline Quentin (as Heather Badcock) Michele Dotrice (as Mrs Hubbard) Lois Jones (as Primrose Dixon) Olivia Darnley (as Cherry Baker)
Neil Stuke (as Dr Haydock) Will Young (as Casey Croft) Anna Andresen (as Maisie Cooper) Gene Goodman (as Louis Charles) Isabella Parriss (as Marie Thérèse) Jonathan Coyne (as French Officer) Don Gallagher (as Man in Livery)
Robert Webb (as Tim Kendal) Charity Wakefield (as Molly Kendal) MyAnna Buring (as Lucky Dyson) Charles Mesure (as Greg Dyson) Montserrat Lombard (as Esther Walters) Warren Brown (as Arthur Jackson)
Antony Sher (as Jason Rafiel) Pippa Bennett-Warner (as Victoria Johnson) Daniel Rigby (as Canon Prescott) Anele Matoti (as Inspector Daventry) Joe Vaz (as Sergeant Weston)
Oliver Ford Davies (as Major Palgrave) Alastair Mackenzie (as Edward Hillingdon) Hermione Norris (as Evelyn Hillingdon) Kingsley Ben-Adir (as Errol) Jeremy Crutchley (as Ian Fleming) Charlie Higson (as James Bond)
Series six, which will include an adaptation of A Caribbean Mystery, as well as adaptations of Endless Night and the short story Greenshaw's Folly, will be filmed for the rest of 2012 and the early part of 2013. It was originally announced that an adaptation of The Seven Dials Mystery would be filmed, but it appears it has been shelved in favor of Greenshaw's Folly.
Marple has been aired in the United States and British Columbia, Canada on PBS on Mystery! as Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and in the whole of Canada on CBC and in French on Radio-Canada. In Australia, Marple airs as Agatha Christie's Marple or simply Marple on ABC1.
Marple is also being broadcast on ATV World in Hong Kong. In China, the first four seasons of "Marple" are presented on CCTV-8, but 'The Body In the Library' and 'Murder is Easy' haven't been shown due to the involvement of lesbian affair and incest rape separately, 'Why Din't They Ask Evans' has also been hugely edited due to involving War-period China. Marple has been broadcast on the Hallmark Channel in Israel. Marple has been shown in South Korea in EBS, and currently is viewed by many audience from MegaTV. In Southern Africa it was shown on Hallmark Channel on the Satellite service DStv. "Marple" has been broadcast in Italy on the Hallmark Channel and on Rai1. In Norway the series has been airing on state broadcaster NRK1 as "Miss Marple". In Sweden the series airs on TV4, the biggest commercial TV station. In Brazil the series airs on HBO Brasil.
The show has sparked controversy with some viewers for its adaptations of the novels. The first episode, The Body in the Library, changed the identity of one of the killers and introduced lesbianism into the plot; the second episode explored Miss Marple's earlier life; the third episode contained a motive change and the fourth episode cut several characters and added affairs into the story and emphasized a lesbian subplot that was quite discreet in the original novel. The second series also saw some changes. By the Pricking of My Thumbs was originally a Tommy and Tuppence story, while The Sittaford Mystery was also not originally a Miss Marple book and the identity of the killer was changed. The third series has two adaptations that were not originally Miss Marple books: Towards Zero and Ordeal by Innocence. The fourth series continues the trend with Murder is Easy and Why Didn't They Ask Evans?. The fifth series does the same, with The Secret of Chimneys and The Pale Horse, as will the future sixth series with Endless Night and The Seven Dials Mystery.
The Body in the Library makes some significant changes, and also changes the identity of one of the killers and adds a lesbian affair.
The first series of Marple was released in 2005 in the UK, followed by the second series in 2006. The third series was released in autumn 2007 in the US, but its UK release was delayed because of ITV1's decision to defer airing the final instalment.
Series One was released as four individual DVDs and as a "bundle" in Australia (Region 4) with Series Two released on 1 August 2007. The third series was released individually in April 2008.
Series Four will be released in Region 1 on 4 August 2009 after the conclusion of the broadcast on PBS Mystery!
Series 1 to 4 were released in a 16-DVD-box as "Agatha Christie's Miss Marple - The Collection" in August 2010 in U.K. Region 3.
Series 5 was released in the UK (Region 2) in June 2011