Marple (2004–2013)
33 user 1 critic

By the Pricking of My Thumbs 

1:19 | Trailer
Miss Marple joins forces with Tommy and Tuppence Beresford to find the murderer of Tommy's Aunt Ada.


Peter Medak


Stewart Harcourt (screenplay), Agatha Christie (based on the novel by)





Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Geraldine McEwan ... Miss Marple
Chloe Pennington Chloe Pennington ... Young Hannah
Oliver Jordan Oliver Jordan ... Young Ethan
Anthony Andrews ... Tommy Beresford
Greta Scacchi ... Tuppence Beresford
Clare Holman ... Miss Packard
Miriam Karlin ... Marjorie Moody
June Whitfield ... Mrs. Lancaster
Claire Bloom ... Aunt Ada (as Clare Bloom)
Steven Berkoff ... Mr. Eccles
Patrick Barlow Patrick Barlow ... Mr. Timothy
O-T Fagbenle ... Chris Murphy
Jody Halse ... Amos Perry
Josie Lawrence ... Hannah Beresford
Michael Maloney ... Dr. Joshua Waters


Tommy and Tuppence Beresford visit their aunt Ada in a nursing home. Aida cryptically mentions to Tuppence about a murdered child. The next day Ada is found dead in her bed. Causes appear to be natural but Tuppence's suspicions are aroused when a note from Ada mentions that fellow-nursing home dweller Mrs Lancaster is not safe. Coincidentally, Mrs Lancaster has just checked out, accompanied by Mr and Mrs Johnson. While pondering all this at the nursing home, Tuppence runs into someone who is intrigued by her musings - Miss Marple. Together, and aided by a painting, they set off to find the Johnsons and Mrs Lancaster, as they are sure they are key to a mystery and potentially a murder, or two. Written by grantss

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Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Did You Know?


Although the date of is not made clear, it appears to be set in the Post-War late 40s or early 50s. The movie version of Jane Eyre (1943) that it refers to was made during the war in 1944, so although the poster art from the film appears similar to the Robert Stevenson film, it doesn't mention either Joan Fontaine or Orson Welles, who starred in the film. The part of Jane's friend, who dies in the film, was originally played by Elizabeth Taylor, although she dies from pneumonia, not leukemia, as stated in "By the Pricking of My Thumbs." See more »


The posters for the Farrell St Edmund 'Festival' reveal that it is set in 1951, the year of the Festival of Britain. See more »


Tommy Beresford: [Tuppence asks Tommy to drive so she can continue reading her copy of Macbeth. Tommy chuckles in response] I was in Macbeth at my prep school. "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day."
Tuppence Beresford: [gets in car on passenger side] I heard you were marvelous.
Tommy Beresford: Who from?
Tuppence Beresford: You.
Tommy Beresford: Hmm.
[gets in car and starts engine]
Tommy Beresford: "By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes."
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Crazy Credits

In the closing credits Claire Bloom is misspelled "Clare Bloom". In the opening credits the spelling is correct. See more »


Version of By the Pricking of My Thumbs (2005) See more »


Für Elise
(Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor (WoO 59, Bia 515))
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven (uncredited)
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User Reviews

Really poor delivery of an average product
8 January 2007 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Tommy and Tuppence Beresford go to visit Tommy's aunt Ada in a retirement home. While there Tuppence gets talking to the batty old Mrs Lancaster who tells of murderers and a dead child hidden behind the fireplace. A few days later and Tuppence gets a call to say that Ada has passed away. With Tommy away on business Tuppence goes to collect Ada's stuff and learns that Mrs Lancaster has been taking away by relatives. In Ada's possessions, Tuppence finds a painting that didn't belong to her and a letter from Ada talking about discoveries and how Mrs Lancaster is at risk. Tuppence confides her fears in an old woman visiting a friend in the home and together she and new friend Mrs Marple set off to follow a trail of clues deeper into mystery.

It must be said that this film does have some enjoyable parts to it and that generally the bright colours, pacey plot and simple delivery suited my dull and lazy brain when it screened on a Sunday evening. However that is about as forgiving as I feel like being because generally the film isn't very good and seems to ham it up at every chance with flamboyant touches in a frantic attempt to cover up how very average the whole thing is. The mystery is intriguing at first but gradually lost my interest by not building on the interesting aspects early on. The general delivery is a bit too light, supposedly in an attempt to try and make the whole film feel "fun", but in practice all it does is undermine the story. I wasn't too fussed about the source material but this was a mismatch of books and the whole film certainly is not what I think of when I think of Miss Marple.

The cast match this by producing a load of ham that even a butcher would struggle to sell. The performances are mostly OTT and unconvincing – obviously they have been directed to do this but it didn't pay off. Having earlier been concerned about McEwan in other films, here I was in no doubt that she is poor and unsuited to the role. Here she overdoes her facial expressions and at no point showed any sign of a sharp mind; in fact at times she is a shopping trolley and a smell of urine away from being a bag lady. Scacchi is no better, overdoing things and not convincing as the woman behind the man. Andrews is OK but is barely in it. This leaves the rest of the film to be populated by uninterested and hammy famous faces. The great Leslie Phillips delivers his lines with the vocabulary skills of Muhammad Ali (as he is now); Dance is such a ham that I kept expecting him to climb on a spit and stick an apple in his mouth; Whitfield is dotty; Lawrence has nothing to do and Berkoff is simply off his t1ts for no discernible reason.

Overall this just about suitable for a Sunday night because it moves along, is mindless and will not bother you much. However even ignoring the disrespect it shows to Christie, the film is still a fairly average affair with a poor "fun" delivery, so-so plot and performances that range form being pigs to being pure ham. Worth a look if you are seeking a refuge from thought but if you are an Agatha Christie fan then my advice would be to avoid this like the plague.

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Release Date:

19 February 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Agatha Christie - Marple: By the Pricking of My Thumbs See more »

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