Agatha Christie's Marple: Season 3, Episode 3

Towards Zero (3 Aug. 2008)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 625 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 2 critic

A wealthy woman holds a party at her Devon estate for family and friends, including old schoolmate Miss Marple. When a solicitor and the hostess herself are both murdered, Miss Marple tries to find a clever killer with a devious plan.

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(uncredited) , (uncredited)

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
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Title: Towards Zero (03 Aug 2008)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Kay Strange (as Zoe Tapper)
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Ted Latimer
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Audrey Strange
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Mary Aldin
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Lady Tressilian
Greg Rusedski ...
Merrick
Wendy Nottingham ...
Mrs Rogers
Amelda Brown ...
Barrett
Peter Symonds ...
Hurstall
Eleanor Turner-Moss ...
Diana
Guy Williams ...
Dr Lazenby
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Storyline

Miss Marple is visiting an old school friend, Lady Camilla Tressilian, along with an eclectic group: Neville Strange and his wife Kay, his former wife Audrey and her childhood friend and cousin Thomas Royde, Ted Latimer (who is something of a gigolo and very attracted to Kay Strange) and finally Freddie Treves, a retired solicitor. When Treves is found dead the day after a dinner party at Lady Tressilian's home and Lady Tressilian herself is found bludgeoned to death a short time later, Miss Marple must sort through the complex set of relationships among all the players, and determine what role the tale of a child's crime may have had to play in the deaths. Written by garykmcd

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Crime | Drama

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Release Date:

3 August 2008 (UK)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Goofs

During the tennis match between Strange and Merrick at Wimbledon, the modern and current-at-filming-time electronic scoreboard is clearly shown. See more »

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Version of Towards Zero (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Enjoyable entry in the Marple series of films
10 August 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Miss Marple is visiting her old friend Lady Tressilian and, while she knows Camilla is a strange old bird, the other house guests are just as odd a bunch. There is tennis player Nevile Strange with his new wife Kay, Nevile's former wife Audrey, her childhood friend and cousin, a younger man attracted to Kay and a retired solicitor, Mr Treves. Even without a crime, Miss Marple cannot help be transfixed by the relationship dynamics within this group. However when Mr Treves is found dead, seemingly from an heart attack and Lady Tressilian herself is bludgeoned to death things get interesting very quickly. All clues point to Nevile Strange and the police feel they have their man – but Miss Marple, in her usual discrete way, has other suspicions.

I have not always been a massive fan of the Marple films and indeed I have been quite harsh about some of them. It is not that I am particularly in love with the older BBC version either, just that some of the ITV ones are awful with terrible hammy acting trying to cover up the lack of substance and interest in the actual plot. I'm not that fussed if they play with the source material either – only that it works (which it normally doesn't) and really all I'm looking for is something that works and entertains me. In this case, I was encouraged by some positive reviews for this in the various weekend papers and decided to give it another shot and I'm glad I did because it is one of the better examples of the ITV series. The plot is as usual a b*stardised version of a Christie novel (in this case not a Miss Marple one) but, of more importance to me, it works well as a mystery with a nice gradual pace and plenty to think about that is of relevance. Previous films have felt fleshed out with pointless characters and touches but, while not the tightest film you'll ever see, does pretty much keep its eye on the prize and delivers a solid story where I was kept interested in the characters via what was happening.

The tone is still quite "light-entertainment" and "fun" but again I have no issue with this at all since ultimately it is about my entertainment and not something that needs a lot of reverence necessarily. On this occasion it works though because it does not dominate the piece – an aspect of this production that can be seen in the cast. While they are all lively and light, nobody really hams it up and they manage to maintain a certain amount of seriousness without it becoming dry and heavy. Although her character is not officially part of the story, McEwan works quite well here – not being too annoying nor too light-hearted. The support cast features the usual so-so faces but mostly they work – even the dread Julian Sands. Burrows is good in her way – not as cold as she can be but still not free and easy. Conversely Tapper has an easier role but plays it well and with colour. Wise is engaging, Atkins is a grumpy delight and Baker is a strange but simple find. Alan Davies is also a good bit of casting and seems to understand how his character should work within a Marple film. Nicholls and Sands are not great but they are prevented from playing up too much or making their presence a negative instead of the neutral that it is.

Towards Zero will not win over those that are appalled by any change to the source material, nor is it a brilliant film but it does work for what it is – light entertainment. The solid plot engages and it doesn't feel like it is padded or hammy even though it is quite light and undemanding and the cast manage to play it mostly right. One of the more easily enjoyable of the ITV Marple films.


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