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 Norman Stone, 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.
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 was exposed was different. 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 came over to try to kill Mrs Salisbury. Slack and his men were there to arrest him.
- Ann Protheroe kills herself at the end of the episode whereas in the novel she was arrested and tried.
- Joan Hickson as Miss Marple
- Paul Eddington as Reverend Leonard Clement
- Cheryl Campbell as Griselda Clement
- Robert Lang as Colonel Lucius Protheroe
- Polly Adams as Ann Protheroe
- Tara MacGowran as Lettice Protheroe
- James Hazeldine as Lawrence Redding
- Christopher Good as Christopher Hawes
- Norma West as Mrs Lestrange
- Michael Browning as Dr Haydock
- David Horovitch as Det. Inspector Slack
- Ian Brimble as Det. Sergeant Lake
- Jack Galloway as Bill Archer
- Rachel Weaver as Mary Wright
- Rosalie Crutchley as Mrs. Price-Ridley
- Barbara Hicks as Miss Hartnell
- Deddie Davies as Mrs Salisbury
- Kathleen Bidmead as Miss Wetherby
- Tony Brandon as Fred Abbot
- Lucy Evans as Little Girl (uncredited)
- Kenneth Keeling as Ned Abbot
- Pringle (only mentioned by Inspector Slack)
- Fletcher (only mentioned by Inspector Slack)
Tropes and Themes
- Nether Wallop, Hampshire - St Mary Mead scenes