BBC confirms more Agatha Christie drama to come in 2019

The ABC Murders screenwriter Sarah Phelps will hand over adaptation duties to Gwyneth Hughes, who is writing a version of Death Comes As the End for 2019

John Malkovich will star as famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot – although he will sport a neat goatee beard rather than the waxed moustache made famous by David Suchet (BBC)

This Christmas the BBC unwrapped The ABC Murders, a frenetic mystery starring John Malkovich as the legendary Hercule Poirot. But work is already afoot for more Agatha Christie adaptations in 2019…

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The BBC has confirmed that the author’s spooky ancient Egyptian story Death Comes as the End will be the next work to be adapted for TV.

Expected to be another three-part drama, this series will mark a departure of sorts from previous adaptations.

For one thing, it’s Christie’s only novel not set during the 20th century. Instead, the story is set in Thebes in Ancient Egypt in 2000 BC, and features entirely non-European characters.

RadioTimes.com understands that screenwriter Sarah Phelps – who has adapted previous Agatha Christie dramas including The ABC Murders, Ordeal By Innocence and The Witness for the Prosecution – will not write the script for Death Comes As The End.

Instead, the series is being written by Vanity Fair scriptwriter Gwyneth Hughes.

A BBC source confirmed that Hughes is working on a Death Comes as the End adaptation but said it “will be a very different proposition from the recent BBC Agatha Christie adaptations”. The BBC source was unable to confirm whether Death Comes as the End will air in Christmas 2019.

“Transmission for this is to be confirmed and Gwyneth has always been the writer attached to this title,” they confirmed

However, this does not mean that The ABC Murders will be Phelps’s last Agatha Christie adaptation.

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“Sarah is not ‘stepping aside’ from Agatha Christie,” the BBC source told RadioTimes.com. “In fact [production company] Mammoth Screen is currently in discussion with Sarah about her next 20th century-set title that she will tackle.”