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Murder at the Vicarage was the fifth episode in the BBC series Miss Marple. It featured Joan Hickson as Miss Marple, Paul Eddington as the vicar, and Polly Adams as Anne Protheroe. The episode was directed by Julian Amyes, with a screenplay by T.R. Bowen and first aired on 25 December 1986. It was an adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel of the same name.


When Colonel Protheroe, hated by all around, is found dead at the Vicarage, the villagers of St Mary Mead are left in an uproar. Miss Marple, an elderly spinster with a talent for snooping and solving little everyday puzzles, promptly joins the investigation.



  • Pringle (mentioned by Inspector Slack)
  • Fletcher (mentioned by Inspector Slack)

Comparison with original novel[]

(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)

  • The adaptation was generally very close to the original novel with a number of changes.
  • Colonel Melchett is not featured. The entire investigation is conducted by Slack, with the addition of Sgt Lake (who was not in the novel). The vicar does not take part in the investigations like in the novel.
  • The characters of Dr. Stone and Gladys Cram and the entire sideplot of theft of silver from Old Hall are deleted.
  • A number of minor characters are not featured, including Raymond West, Dennis Clement.
  • Bill Archer has a larger role here than in the book. Here he has a relationship with Mary Wright, the maid of the Clements. He trips on a wire in the woods behind the vicarage. He is also present in the vicarage kitchen at various times, perhaps even when the murder is being committed.
  • The sound in the woods is not made by a rock falling on picric acid but by a loudspeaker wired to a tape recording of a gunshot.
  • The way the murderer is exposed was different in the novel. Here, Hawes' landlady (Mrs Salisbury instead of Mrs Sadler) calls Lawrence Redding and mentions that Hawes is dead or dying. She tells him that the police had been around but she didn't say anything about having seen Redding around with Hawes earlier in the day because she thought he wouldn't want to be mixed up in the affair. As expected, Redding comes over to try to kill Mrs Salisbury. Slack and his men are there to arrest him.
  • Ann Protheroe kills herself at the end of the episode whereas in the novel she was arrested and tried.

Tropes and Themes[]

  • Animosity between official investigators and the amateur detective – here, Inspector Slack thoroughly disregards Miss Marple's input until very late in the case

Filming Locations[]

  • Nether Wallop, Hampshire - St. Mary Mead scenes
    • Dane Cottage - Miss Marple's cottage
    • House next to Dane Cottage - village shop
    • St Andrew's church
    • Junction of Church Road, High Street and The Square - village square
    • Little Trout - porch was used for the entrance to the village chemist's shop. Around time 1:07 Hawes can be seen exiting the door and he encounters Miss Marple.[1]
    • Village Hall - possibly as the village hall itself. At about 1:05 Hawes has just seen Dr Haydock. He passes the village square and there is a fleeting view of the village hall. There is a police car outside. The next scene shows Slack and Lake presumably inside the hall which is now their "situation room". Outside is a chalk board advertising the 1945 film "Blithe Spirit". Presumably the village hall was used to show films, which also happens in real life today.
  • House next to St Mary's Church, Amport, Hampshire (51.1989658, -1.5547713) - the vicarage, Miss Marple's garden
  • Houghton Lodge and Gardens, Stockbridge, Hampshire - Old Hall, Protheroe's house
  • Church Lane, Sparsholt, Hampshire - Houses of Mrs Lestrange, Dr Haydock
    • Winchester Fine Gardens, Mt View (51.0796431, -1.3817326) is Dr Haydock's house
    • The house opposite (51.0794186, -1.3821802) is Mrs Lestrange's

Research notes[]


Promotional Videos[]

See Also[]