Agatha Christie Wiki
Advertisement

Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? was a 3-hour long feature film made by London Weekend Television in 1979 and first broadcast on 30 March 1980. It was directed by John Davies and Tony Wharmby and produced by Tony Wharmby and Jack Williams. It was an adaptation of the Christie novel of the same name.

Evans marked a return of Christie adaptations to television. Christie had been wary of the medium because of a number of poorly made productions in the 1940s and 1950s. With her death in 1976, her daughter Rosalind Hicks, relaxed this restriction, resulting in a steady stream of small-screen adaptations from the 1980s onwards. After Evans, Annis and Warwick came back together again to portray Tommy and Tuppence in The Secret Adversary and Agatha Christie's Partners in Crime, also adapted and produced by LWT. Evans was also significant in featuring Joan Hickson, who would go on to portray Miss Marple.

Synopsis

Comparison with original story

The production was extremely faithful to the plot and dialogue of the book. Only two notable changes were made. The first is the recognition in the isolated cottage that Dr. Nicholson is Roger Bassington-ffrench in disguise. In the novel, it is Bobby who recognizes the deception as the man's ear-lobes are different from those of the doctor whom he had glimpsed previously. In the adaptation, Frankie witnesses one of Nicholson's patients attacking him in the sanatorium when his face is badly scratched. In the cottage, she realizes the scratches have disappeared. The second change comes at the end when, instead of writing to Frankie from South America, Roger lures her to a deserted Merroway Court, makes much the same confession as appears in the book's letter and tells her he loves her, asking her to join him. When she refuses, he locks her in a room of the house (to be freed by Bobby the next day) but doesn't harm her as he makes his escape abroad. Presumably, this change was made as the exposition of the long letter would not have worked on television.

Cast

Advertisement