Viewers divided over BBC change to Ordeal By Innocence ending

The finale of the BBC adaptation revealed a different murderer to Agatha Christie's 1958 novel

Ordeal by Innocence

The BBC’s latest Agatha Christie adaptation Ordeal By Innocence concluded with a different ending to that of the original book – and viewers were divided over the decision.

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*Spoilers for Ordeal By Innocence follow*

The final episode of screenwriter Sarah Phelps’ Ordeal by Innocence takes a dramatic turn away from Christie’s 1958 novel and gives us a different killer entirely. It’s not housekeeper Kirsten Lindstrom who walloped Rachel over the head and then murdered the meddling Philip, as in the book; instead it’s “daddy” Leo Argyll who did the deed.

The decision provoked a strong reaction from Agatha Christie traditionalists and fans of the new series, who were either blissfully unaware of the difference until it was pointed out to them on social media, or just as happy to see a 60-year-old story get a “brave and bold” update and provide a last minute surprise.

A RadioTimes.com poll of over 900 readers saw 52% of users vote that Phelps made the right call in changing the ending, while 48% were against it.

Check out the arguments on both sides of the debate below.

Viewers against the ending change

Some Agatha Christie fans were simply outraged at the idea that a modern screenwriter would dare change a plot created by the Queen of Crime, while others felt simply “if it ain’t broke”…

“Was Dame Agatha Christie’s writing just not good enough for you?” Twitter user @AliBailey wrote, “changing the murderer and the whole ending of Ordeal by Innocence? Shame on you.”

“Just finished Ordeal By Innocence,” @LangoMango said. “The ending bears no resemblance to the book and it a bit of a mess.”

Viewers for the ending change

Meanwhile, some viewers who enjoyed the ending weren’t aware of its divergence from Christie’s novel, while others saw the change as a fitting re-interpretation.

“I loved Ordeal By Innocence,” Emily Randall wrote on Twitter, “don’t mind in the least they’ve changed the ending. That’s storytelling: updating & re-interpreting. I’ve often though I’d love to see a Shakespeare season where all the endings are changed and the audience don’t know what they’re in for.”

Viewer Lynn Shirley commented on the RadioTimes.com Facebook page: “I’ve not read the book so not bothered in the slightest if it has a different ending, which I loved. It was rivetting viewing and clever stuff. I loved the music too which added to the atmosphere! I’m sure there will be plenty of us looking forward to what Sarah Phelps comes up with next. Congratulations to all concerned.”

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One thing’s for sure – it got people talking.