Based on Crooked House, a work of detective fiction by Agatha Christie first published in the US by Dodd and Mead Company in March 1949, and published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club on 23 May of the same year.
Set in 1920s London, a brutal and bloodthirsty murder has stained the plush carpets of a handsome London townhouse. The victim is the glamorous and rich Emily French. All the evidence points to Leonard Vole, a young chancer to whom the heiress left her vast fortune and who ruthlessly took her life. At least, this is the story that Emily's dedicated housekeeper Janet McIntyre stands by in court. Leonard however, is adamant that his partner, the enigmatic chorus girl Romaine, can prove his innocence. Tasked with representing Leonard is his solicitor John Mayhew and King's Counsel, Sir Charles Carter KC.
This is the first production of "Witness for the Prosecution" that based on Agatha Christie's original short (23 pages) story first published in the January 31, 1925 edition of Flynn's Weekly under the title 'Traitor Hands'. She republished it in 1933 under the present title as part of a collection called 'The Hound of Death and other stories'. Christie expanded the story for her 1953 play, changing some of the character names and introducing Sir Wilfrid Robarts as the defense counsel. It is the play, not the short story, that has been the basis for all subsequent television and film versions. See more »
The gramophone in episode one playing a 78 shellac record has the sound of a 33rpm vinyl record supposedly at the end of the track, but the visual shows the needle about a third of the way into the track which would have music etc. See more »
My anticipation for Witness for the Prosecution has been enormous since reading about its announcement. As a huge Agatha Christie fan I was gutted to see the end of Poirot and to some extent Marple. The BBC dazzled us this time last year with their stunning adaptation of And then there were none, and if we're using that as a benchmark then the bar is set very high.
Witness for the Prosecution was one would expect has beautiful production values, it looks suitably gloomy, yet meticulously detailed from the sets to the fashions.
So very different from the excellent adaptation featuring Marlene Dietrich and Tyrone Power, it felt very dark, atmospheric and full of genuine intrigue, had you not read the book, you'd be constantly asking yourself is he guilty or innocent.
Wonderfully acted, huge plaudits for Billy Howle, Toby Jones and Andrea Riseborough, all showing just how good they are. Lovely to see the glamorous Kim Cattrall back in a British production, a historical piece in particular. As a huge fan of Monica Dolan, I must admit it was her I enjoyed enormously, such a venomous performance as Janet McIntyre.
Based on a short story, it's one of Agatha Christie's less well known works, but I felt this adaptation has brought the story very much to life once again.
BBC you've sorted a Christmas mystery for us once again. Please continue this trend. 9/10
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