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 »
I see Mr Magoo has been employed by the BBC for the colour grading on this production. What else could explain all the horrible dark green, teal and yellows used. I could hardly see anything. Nice way to agitate the viewer.
The first episode took an age to get going and only hit the groove when we got to the courtroom and then it ended. I would had given episode one, a solitary star as a rating.
Writer Sarah Phelps has expanded Agatha Christie's short story and veered away from Billy Wilder's film version. It is set in the aftermath of the Great War and our three main characters, Mayhew, Leonard and Romaine have been damaged by it. The courtroom scenes in the second episode rustled through as the jury came out with its verdict at the halfway mark leaving the remainder episode to meander through its various twists. I did notice the visuals became slightly rose tinted after the verdict.
However this is a misfire from director Julian Jarrold who is normally reliable when it comes to film and television, but he has to take the blame for the visuals and the overall gloominess. Not helped by the casting of flavour of the month Toby Jones (there must be a contractual obligation that he has to be in every BBC drama and he will be appearing in Sherlock soon.) I would had got Kim Cattrall to play Vole's wife, she would had given Marlene Dietrich a run for her money.
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