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Witness for the Prosecution is a 1982 TV version of Agatha Christie's short story and play, and also a remake of the classic Billy Wilder 1957 film Witness for the Prosecution.

The film was directed by Alan Gibson, based on the teleplay by John Gay and the adaptation of Larry Marcus. The musical score was composed by John Cameron.

The cast includes many veteran and well-known actors such as Ralph Richardson, Deborah Kerr, Diana Rigg, Donald Pleasence, Peter Sallis and Beau Bridges. Unlike the original Billy Wilder film, the TV version stays more faithful to the original Agatha Christie short story, including the scene where Sir Wilfred meets the scarred woman in an apartment at bad-fame streets of London, instead of meeting a cockney woman at the railway station as in the Wilder version.

This version, also, instead of opening with Sir Wilfrid (renamed "Sir Wilfred") returning home, features an opening prologue where Janet Mackenzie returns to her employer's house, where she sees her laughing and drinking with someone, goes upstairs and takes a pattern from her room, and hears noise from downstairs, and discovers in shock her murdered employer, and the murderer escaped.

Plot summary

Sir Wilfred Robarts, a famed barrister is released from the hospital, where he stayed for two months following his heart attack. Returning to the practise of his lawyer skills, he takes the case of Leonard Vole, an unemployed man who is accused of murdering an elderly lady friend of his, Mrs. Emily French. While Leonard Vole claims he's innocent, although all evidence points to him as the killer, his alibi witness, his cold German wife Christine, instead of entering the court as a witness for the defense, she becomes the witness for the prosecution and strongly claims her husband is guilty of the murder. Sir Wilfred believes there's something suspicious on the case, especially with Mrs. Vole.


  • Ralph Richardson as Sir Wilfred Robarts
  • Deborah Kerr as Miss Plimsoll, the nurse
  • Diana Rigg as Christine Helm
  • Beau Bridges as Leonard Vole
  • Donald Pleasence as Mr Myers, the prosecutor
  • Wendy Hiller as Janet Mackenzie, the housekeeper
  • David Langton as Mayhew, Vole's solicitor
  • Richard Vernon as Brogan-Moore
  • Peter Sallis as the butler, Carter
  • Michael Gough as the Judge
  • Frank Mills as Chief Inspector Hearne
  • Patricia Leslie as Mrs French
  • Michael Nightingale as Clerk of the Court
  • Peter Copley as Dr. Harrison
  • John Kidd as Court Usher
  • Ken Kitson as Policeman (as Kit Kitson)
  • Wilfred Grove as Photographer
  • Primi Townsend as Diana
  • Andrew MacLachlan as Jury Foreman
  • Aubrey Woods as Tailor
  • Zulema Dene as Miss Johnson
  • Barbara New as Miss O'Brien
  • Jenny Donnison as 1st Nurse
  • Ceri Jackson as 2nd Nurse
  • Harold Coyne as Juror (uncredited)
  • Walter Henry as Juror (uncredited)
  • Gerry Judge as Man in Court (uncredited)
  • Reg Thomason as Barrister (uncredited)
  • Harry Van Engel as Juror (uncredited)


Alan Gibson, the director of this film, also directed The Satanic Rites of Dracula, where Richard Vernon, who plays the part of Brogan-Moore in Witness for the Prosecution, had a small role.

John Gay, the writer of the teleplay, also wrote teleplays for the Lux Video Theatre, a television anthology series. Lux Video Theatre also produced an adaptation of Witness for the Prosecution, in 1953 (four years before the Wilder version).