This Christmas, BBC1 is showing a two-part adaptation of Agatha Christie’s courtroom yarn The Witness for the Prosecution, starring Kim Cattrall, Toby Jones and Andrea Riseborough.
And after last year’s successful Yuletide Christie drama And Then There Were None, starring Aidan Turner, RadioTimes.com understands that it’s not a coincidence: seasonal Christies are set to become a BBC tradition in the years to come.
BBC insiders point to the fact that “A Christie for Christmas” was the name given to the Queen of Crime’s tradition of publishing a new novel each festive season for most of her career, and they say there is every chance the BBC could follow her lead into 2017 and beyond.
Stories including Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding and 4.50 From Paddington were all classic Christie Christmas tales, although they did not always have a seasonal setting.
A BBC source told RadioTimes.com: “There’s a very good chance that the BBC could follow suit and that they could do one every year for the foreseeable future.”
The Witness for the Prosecution is being adapted by Sarah Phelps – who scripted the successful Agatha Christie adaptation And Then There Were None last Christmas. The new two-part drama is also being made by the same production company, Mammoth Screen.
The original text is a Christie short story written in 1925 which runs to just 23 pages. It has already been turned into a successful stage play and a much-loved film directed by Billy Wilder.
“With the long terrible shadow of the Great War falling across the rackety, feral 1920s, The Witness For The Prosecution is a compelling story of deceit, desire, murder, money and morality, innocence and guilt, heartbreak and – most painful and dangerous of all – love,” said Phelps. “At the centre of this dark and tangled net is the astonishing character of Romaine, a noir heroine for all our times”.