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N or M?: Part 2 

There is a murder at the local Veterans Ball, as Tommy and Tuppence continue their search for the Soviet spy.

Director:

Edward Hall

Writer:

Claire Wilson
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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
Alyy Khan ... Major Khan
Jessica Raine ... Tuppence Beresford
Christina Cole ... Mrs Sprot
David Walliams ... Tommy Beresford
Andrew Readman ... Security Guard
Robert Hands Robert Hands ... Mr Minton
Issy Van Randwyck ... Mrs Minton
Chris Myles Chris Myles ... Catering Manager
Ed Speleers ... Carl Denim
Roy Marsden ... Commander Haydock
Pinar Ögün ... Veronika Urbanowicz
Aoife McMahon ... Sheila Perenna
Matthew Steer ... Albert
James Fleet ... Carter
Hannah Waddingham ... Blonde Assassin
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Storyline

Khan reveals to Tuppence that he too is after the Russian spy but for personal reasons and joins the Beresfords and the other guests at the Veterans Ball, where he is murdered. Soon afterwards Carter tells Tommy that N is demanding the release of several Communist prisoners or else a bomb will be detonated to destroy London. Tuppence suspects Mrs Sprot, who tells her that she was once Khan's lover whilst Tommy, seeing young Denim arrive at a deserted beach by boat, discovers an underground smugglers' passage leading up to the hotel. He investigates with Tuppence but they get separated. Written by don @ minifie-1

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 August 2015 (UK) See more »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Goofs

Mrs Sprott calls Mr Beresford by his real name even though she is only meant to know him as Mr Meadows. See more »

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User Reviews

 
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Although Agatha Christie is one of my favourite authors, adaptations of her work have always personally been judged on how good they are on their own merits, regardless of how good or bad an adaptation it is.

The Tommy and Tuppence books/stories are entertaining reads, though none of them are among my favourites from Christie, and the 80s 'Partners in Crime' series is not only true in details and spirit to the stories but charming, suspenseful, light-hearted entertainment in its own right. But when advertised, surprisingly didn't find myself desperate in seeing this, which is highly unusual for an Agatha Christie adaptation. Despite looking good visually, the casting just seemed off and even when advertised the writing seemed clunky.

Finally giving it the benefit of the doubt, and without comparison to the source material and the previous 'Partners in Crime' series, as someone who loves Agatha Christie and who has enjoyed a large amount of adaptations of her work. "N or M?" continues to be as weak as "The Secret Adversary", part 1 was weak, this perhaps is even weaker.

It has a few plus points, with the best thing about it being the production values.

The 1950s setting is evoked beautifully, the scenery is positively sumptuous and at times effectively mysterious and a lot of work clearly went into evoking the period, because the attention to detail is great. It is also very stylishly filmed and atmospherically lit.

While the acting is a vast majority really not very good, it's not without bright spots.

In fact Christina Cole and Roy Marsden are pretty good, particularly Cole, though the only actors to make much of a positive impression.

However, that is pretty much it for the good things. One of the main things that ruins "N or M?: Part 2" is the woeful miscasting of David Walliams as Tommy, have nothing personal against Walliams but there was the fear that he would be out of place and stick out like a sore thumb and that fear was proved correct. Walliams even when playing straight often looks vacant and doesn't seem to have a clue as to whether to camp it up as Tommy or underplay, his performance here is a mess of both and he never looks comfortable doing either, he acts jarringly buffoonish when camping it up, the dramatic scenes being very overwroughtly played, and when underplaying he is incredibly wooden.

While Jessica Raine is not as badly affected, this viewer is in the camp of not finding her that much better, she doesn't look very engaged as Tuppence (as if she didn't want to be there), a very charming and authoritative role, and comes over as rather too forceful in the more dramatic scenes. Although this is more to do with how the character is written here Raine seems and acts too modern for the 50s, at least here and throughout 'Partners in Crime'.

The two have no obvious chemistry together, while it may not have been the case at all it was like they didn't get along, or maybe it was how the roles were written because Tuppence looked more annoyed with rather in love with Tommy. Both manage to do something seemingly impossible and make Tommy and Tuppence annoying. The rest of the acting is not good either, the lack of chemistry also applies to the supporting cast which severely undermines the tension and pacing of the story and few seem sure of how to play their roles.

As good as the production values are, the effort put into them doesn't translate in the music, script and storytelling. The music is too loud, too much, too constant and too intrusive, not to mention very one-note mood-wise, even in scenes that would have benefited from more understated scoring or none at all.

Script-writing is clunky and instead of being suspenseful and light-hearted it's like trudging and struggling through very thick mud, and it never feels like it belongs in the 1950s, constantly the viewer feels like they are yanked back to 21st century. The dialogue, complete with comic elements in serious need of a toning down, dramatic elements that are talky and overwrought and mystery elements that feel under-explained and as long a way from tense as one can get, is rather stilted and lacks pulse and urgency, especially in the talkier scenes.

Sadly, the storytelling in "N or M?: Part 2" is not good. On the page, 'N or M?' seems slow going but it was really quite diverting. Here the storytelling rambles on ponderously as a result of far too much padding with a lot of the 'tense' or 'suspenseful' scenes instead bordering on the laboured. And there are additions that are either silly, pointless or confuse the story, sometimes even all three, it's a slog and needlessly convoluted especially the latter parts.

Regarding the direction, while it fares well visually and does a good job bringing a sense of period it does poorly in the direction of the actors, most of whom look lost at sea with what to do, and with the storytelling.

To conclude, no improvement on the first part. 3/10 Bethany Cox


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