Agatha Christie’s dark murder mystery The ABC Murders is getting the small screen treatment, courtesy of the BBC and writer Sarah Phelps — and it’s the stuff of a casting agent’s dream.
Oscar nominee John Malkovich, Rupert Grint (aka Ron Weasley), Broadchurch’s Andrew Buchan and Poldark’s Jack Farthing all star in the thriller, which is set in 1933 and follows legendary Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (Malkovich) as he attempts to catch the self-styled “A.B.C” serial killer.
Here’s everything you need to know about the extensive ensemble cast.
Who is Hercule Poirot? A famous Belgian private detective, Poirot’s star has faded and his remaining friends at Scotland Yard have all since retired. He’s been keeping busy hosting murder mystery parties at hotels instead — that is until a serial killer, who signs him or herself as “A.B.C”, launches into a killing spree and sends clues and taunting letters to Poirot.
Where have I seen John Malokich before? An American actor and Oscar nominee whose distinctive voice is instantly recognisable (although perhaps less so when he’s using a Belgian accent), he’s enjoyed countless iconic roles in films including Empire of the Sun, The Killing Fields, Dangerous Liaisons, Con Air, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and, of course, Spike Jonze’s Being John Malkovich.
Rupert Grint plays Inspector Crome
Who is Inspector Crome? Crome is a young, hot-headed hot shot at Scotland Yard. He’s anxious to catch the self-styled “A.B.C” serial killer — and he doesn’t have time for a has-been detective poking around on his patch.
Where have I seen Rupert Grint before? The former child actor was first cast as Ron Weasley, one of the three central characters’ at the heart of the Harry Potter film franchise, when he was just 11-years-old. He starred in all eight Potter films, which concluded in 2011. He’s since starred alongside Julie Walters in Driving Lessons, and in Sky 1’s black comedy Sick Note.
Andrew Buchan plays Franklin Clarke
Who is Franklin Clarke? Handsome and debonair, Franklin Clarke is a decided charmer who possesses a great love for both women and gambling. He’s the outgoing brother of gentle Sir Carmichael Clarke.
Where have I seen Andrew Buchan before? The RADA alumnus played the complex and broken-hearted Mark Latimer in Broadchurch opposite David Tennant and Olivia Colman. He’s also known for playing William Garrow in the BBC period drama Garrow’s Law, and starred in Ridley Scott’s film All the Money in the World, in which he played John Paul Getty II opposite Michelle Williams.
Anya Chalotra plays Lily Marbury
Who is Lily Marbury? The abused and unloved daughter of drunken Rose Marbury, Lily possesses a kindly heart and is often underestimated. Both mother and daughter live at Marbury Boarding House.
Where have I seen Anya Chalotra before? Chalotra’s first screen role came earlier this year when she was cast as Jennifer Ashman in Wanderlust, opposite Toni Collette. In October is was also announced that the up-and-coming actor is set to play Yennefer in Netflix’s The Witcher, alongside Superman actor Henry Cavill.
Eamon Farren plays Cust
Who is Cust? Cust is a mysterious recluse who lives at Marbury Boarding House, where he’s hoping to build a women’s stockings empire. He’s developed some bad habits as a way to ease his suffering.
Where have I seen Eamon Farren before? The Australian actor starred as Richard Horne in US series Twin Peaks, and has appeared on Broadway opposite cate Blanchett in The Present. Like Anya Chalotra, his The ABC Murder co-star, he has also been cast in Netflix’s The Witcher, as Cahir.
Jack Farthing plays Donald Fraser
Who is Donald Fraser? Self-serving but charming, Donald dated Megan Barnard before getting engaged to her sister, Betty. He’s doted upon by the young women’s mother.
Where have I seen Jack Farthing before? Poldark fans will instantly recognise Jack Farthing as the deeply flawed and complex George Warleggan, one of the main villains in the BBC1 drama. He also played John Lennon in the 2014 Sheridan Smith drama Cilla, and played George Balfour in the film The Riot Club.
Tara Fitzgerald plays Lady Hermione Clarke
Who is Lady Hermione Clarke? The wife of Sir Carmichael Clarke, Lady hermione Clarke is an aristocrat and deep admirer of Hercule Poirot’s. A faded beauty, she prefers to live in the past and reminisce about her youth.
Where have I seen Tara Fitzgerald before? An actress of stage and screen, she played Selyse Baratheon (mother of the much-mourned Shireen) in the HBO series Game of Thrones. She’s also starred in the BBC’s Walking the Dead as Dr. Eve Lockhart, and appeared in shows like Death in Paradise and Strike.
Shirley Henderson plays Mrs Rose Marbury
Who is Mrs Rose Marbury? Mother to Lily and the crotchety owner of Marbury Boarding House, she’s a drunkard and frequently unleashes her wrath on guests and Lily.
Where have I seen Shirley Henderson before? Scottish character actress Shirley Henderson has enjoyed a number of memorable film roles including Gail in Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, Jude in all three of the Bridget Jones films, and as Moaning Myrtle in the Harry Potter film franchise opposite her The ABC Murders cast-mate, Rupert Grint.
Bronwyn James plays Megan Barnard
Who is Megan Barnard? The sister of Betty Barnard and ex-girlfriend of Betty’s fiancé, Donald Fraser, she feels trapped in her family and is plagued by low self-esteem, which Betty exploits.
Where have I seen Bronwyn James before? Newcomer Bronwyn James is everywhere this Christmas, also starring in BBC1’s Call the Midwife Christmas special as Mavis, an expectant mother. She also starred as Fanny Lambert in Harlots.
Freya Mavor plays Thora Grey
Who is Thora Grey? Thora Grey is an acclaimed beauty, and has been adopted into the Clarke family. She’s grown particularly close to patriarch Sir Carmichael Clarke — which other members of the Clarke household are starting to notice.
Where have I seen Freya Mavor before? The Scottish actress rose to prominence as strong-willed teen Mini McGuinness in the E4 teen drama Skins, and has appeared in various other television roles since, including in BBC1’s The White Queen as Princess Elizabeth of York.
Michael Shaeffer plays Yelland
Who is Yelland? A policeman working at Scotland Yard, and Inspector Crome’s right-hand man there.
Where have I seen Michael Shaeffer before? Beady-eyed fans of this year’s BBC1’s Bodyguard will recognise Michael Shaeffer as the mysterious Longcross. He’s also starred in Vera as Ian Holland, and as DCI Martin Ackroyd in New Tricks.
Eve Austin plays Betty Barnard
Who is Betty Barnard? The obnoxious, flirtatious sister of Megan Barnard, Betty is engaged to Megan’s former beau, Donald Fraser. She’s got an icy interior and the quick, cruel quips to match.
Where have I seen Eve Austin before? TV actress Eve Austin has appeared in Emmerdale, Casualty, Doctors, and Inside No. 9, and appeared in drama Print as Jenny.
Gregor Fisher plays Dexter Dooley
Who is Dexter Dooley? A portly ventriloquist with a pencil moustache and grey, thinning hair, who’s unhappy with his lot in life.
Where have I seen Gregor Fisher before? The Scottish comedian and actor is probably best-known for his role as manager to Bill Nighy’s faded pop star in the film Love Actually. He’s also starred as the title character in the comedy series Rab C. Nesbitt and appeared in films like Lassie and Nineteen Eighty-Four .
Lizzy McInnerny plays Jenny Barnard
Who is Jenny Barnard? Mother to Betty and Megan, she’s exceptionally fond of Betty’s fiancé (and Megan’s ex-boyfriend), Donald.
Where have I seen Lizzy McInnerny before? Lizzy McInnerny played the Queen’s confidante Bobo Macdonald in the first two seasons of The Crown. She also stars in recent film Peterloo, directed by Mike Leigh, as Mrs. Moss, and has appeared in Peaky Blinders and Father Brown.
Kevin McNally plays Japp
Who is Japp? A dear old friend of the detective Hercule Poirot, Japp is a former police officer who was forced into retirement, and who now seeks refuge in his allotment.
Where have I seen Kevin McNally before? International viewers will recognise Kevin McNally as pirate Joshamee Gibbs from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise. More recently he starred as murder suspect James Hollis in ITV’s Unforgotten, and as Inspector Grandjean in Maigret’s Night at the Crossroads.
Cyril Nri plays Father Anselm
Who is Father Anselm? A priest ministering in 1933 Britain.
Where have I seen Cyril Nri before? Theatre and screen actor Cyril Nri was previously nominated for the Bafta Best Supporting Actor Award for his role as Lance in Russell T Davies’s Cucumber on Channel 4. He’s also recognised for his roles in shows like Death In Paradise, Midsomer Murders, Eastenders and This Life.
Christopher Villiers plays Sir Carmichael Clarke
Who is Sir Carmichael Clarke? A gentle aristocrat, he adores his family and his dog, Wilbur.
Where have I seen Christopher Villiers before? Christopher Villiers is perhaps best known for his former role on Emmerdale as Grayson Sinclair. He’s also appeared in New Tricks, Father Brown, Hetty Feather, and Indian Summers.
This article was originally published in December 2018