Agatha Christie adaptations have become as much of a Christmas staple in recent years as mince pies and Call the Midwife specials.
The whodunnits, usually written by Sarah Phelps, have been airing over the festive period on the BBC since 2015, and have included the likes of And Then There Were None, The Witness for the Prosecution, Ordeal by Innocence, and The ABC Murders, which have featured the likes of Bill Nighy, Toby Jones and John Malkovich.
However, last year the viewing schedules were without any Christie adaptations, with The Pale Horse (penned by Sarah Phelps) airing later in the year instead. Will this year be the same – or could there be a surprise Agatha Christie drama under the Christmas tree?
Is there an Agatha Christie drama on BBC One for Christmas 2020?
As it stands, there are no plans for an Agatha Christie adaptation for this Christmas. However, at the time of writing, there’s still uncertainty surrounding the Gwyneth Hughes adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Death Comes as the End.
A BBC source has claimed it “will be a very different proposition from the recent BBC Agatha Christie adaptations,” but perhaps its more unusual setting and premise – the story takes place in Ancient Egypt in 2000 BC – has presented difficulties, as the project was announced two years ago but has yet to finalise casting.
In December 2018, the BBC revealed to RadioTimes.com that Death Comes as the End would its next Agatha Christie adaptation – and that it was originally due to air the following year.
The historical whodunnit is set in Thebes in Ancient Egypt, and sees an Egyptian family rocked when the patriarch, Imhotep, returns with a new concubine, who begins to sow seeds of discord.
However, while there’s been no news concerning the drama, it could well be that COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown and delays to multiple film projects may have impacted the production – and any other Agatha Christie adaptations that could have been in the pipeline.
What can I watch this Christmas instead?
While broadcasters’ Christmas schedules haven’t yet been announced, it’s likely we might see some Agatha Christie drama repeats over the festive period, including Sarah Phelps’ various BBC One adaptations.
We could also see Channel 5 repeat its three Agatha Christie fictional dramas, all inspired by Christie’s own life: the most recent, Agatha and the Midnight Murders, aired in October of this year and starred Helen Baxendale in the title role.