BBC One to become new home of Agatha Christie in UK

Date: 28.02.2014     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 17.57
Category: BBC One; Drama
BBC One is to become the new home of Agatha Christie in the UK, and today exclusively announces the first two commissions to mark the start of this special relationship.

Major new BBC One adaptations of 'And Then There Were None' and 'Partners In Crime' promise to deliver audiences event television of the highest quality and bring Agatha Christie’s masterpieces to a new generation in her 125th celebration year.

Dame Agatha Christie, DBE is the best-selling novelist of all time. Since her debut in 1920, Agatha Christie has never been out of print and is currently published worldwide in over 50 different languages.

'And Then There Were None' is Christie's most successful work and has sold over 100 million copies. Acclaimed writer Sarah Phelps (Great Expectations, The Crimson Field, The Casual Vacancy) will adapt a new telling of this extraordinary and ingenious masterpiece, produced by Mammoth Screen (Parade’s End, Poldark) in partnership with Acorn Productions Ltd. The premise is timeless, dark and gripping: 10 strangers marooned on an island. One by one they start to die.

Sarah Phelps says: “'And Then There Were None' is Agatha Christie’s masterpiece, a brilliant, unsettling, forensically precise psychological thriller about guilt and paranoia, crime and punishment. It is as sharp as a scalpel, as gripping as a steadily tightening noose, its darkness interspersed with the blackest of black wit. I am thrilled to be working on this and very excited to be bringing it to the small screen and to audiences both familiar with and totally new to Agatha Christie’s unique vision.”

‘Partners In Crime’ will see crime-fighting duo Tommy and Tuppence return to the screen in a 1950s set six-part adventure thriller series, starring David Walliams as Tommy. The first three episodes will be an adaptation of ‘The Secret Adversary’ written by award-winning author, playwright and director Zinnie Harris, with writer Claire Wilson adapting ‘N Or M’ which will form the rest of the series. All six episodes will be produced by Endor Productions (Restless, The Escape Artist, Esio Trot) in partnership with Acorn Productions Ltd. The impulsive and excitable Tuppence is still to be confirmed. In search of adventure they stumble into a world of undercover agents, mysterious evil masterminds and diabolical political conspiracy.

David Walliams says: “In bringing these thrilling stories to the screen, it is our ambition for Tommy and Tuppence to finally take their rightful place alongside Poirot and Marple as iconic Agatha Christie characters. I was first drawn to the delicious notion of a married couple solving crimes together, and the more I read of the Tommy and Tuppence novels and short stories I realised they are among Christie’s very best work.”

Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, says: “I am delighted that the great British institution that is the BBC is going to have a long-term relationship with the works of Agatha Christie - both the BBC and Christie are as brilliantly British as it is possible to get. We are blessed to have found such like-minded partners in Mathew Prichard and Hilary Strong whose ambition for Christie's work is modern and creative. We're thrilled to welcome a brilliant new series ‘Partners In Crime’ and a classic adaptation of one of the best-selling novels of all time ‘And Then There Were None’ to BBC One and we are having lots of exciting discussions about what next.”

Charlotte Moore, Controller, BBC One, says: “I’m thrilled BBC One is to become the new home of Agatha Christie in the UK, it’s the start of a great new relationship and a real treat for BBC One audiences.”

Mathew Prichard, Chairman of Agatha Christie Limited and grandson of Agatha Christie, says: “It is fantastic that, in her all-important 125th anniversary year, my grandmother is to be welcomed with such enthusiasm to the BBC: a wonderful new home for her much-loved characters and their stories, and one which she would be delighted with. The commitment to these productions from all those involved is great to see, and I’ve no doubt will result in compelling new adaptations, to be enjoyed by fans old and new.”

Hilary Strong, MD of Acorn Productions Ltd, says: “We are delighted to unveil these two major new dramas for BBC One. They are an integral part of our plans for the Christie brand and demonstrate the scale of our ambition at Acorn Productions Ltd, for the portfolio of works that we own. With Christie’s 125th anniversary next year, we are developing innovative new content on all platforms – publishing, digital and theatre – with new adaptations of her timeless stories and channeling new energy into this iconic brand.”