Tuesday, 28 July 2015


Husband and wife Tommy and Tuppence Beresford stumble into the shadowy world of espionage because of a strange encounter on a Paris train and Tuppence's curiosity. 

They're enlisted by Tommy's uncle, the head of a secretive Military Intelligence department.

« You read too many detective novels, do you know that? »

In 2014 the BBC announced that they would be the new TV home of English crime writer Agatha Christie in the UK for the 125th anniversary of her birth, thanks to a major deal with her estate. Partners in Crime is one of the first two commissions under this deal, with And Then There Were None (1). It is based on a collection of short stories written by Christie between 1922 and 1973 and featuring crime-fighting duo Tommy and Tuppence Beresford. Francesca Annis and James Warwick played the Beresfords in a 1983-1984 series for LWT. In France, André Dussollier and Catherine Frot were the sleuth couple in three movies from 2005 to 2012. Since 2009 French television airs Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie, adapted from the author's work with local detectives (2).

« The field... It's not for you. »

Partners in Crime, the six-part series launched on sunday on BBC One, is set in 1952 and stars comedian and actor David Walliams as Tommy and Jessica Raine (Call The Midwife) as Tuppence. Walliams and Hilary Strong, of the Agatha Christie Group, got the idea to bring back the Beresfords. The first three one-hour episodes are an adaptation of The Secret Adversary by Zinnie Harris. In Part One the couple is taken out of their money worries and daily routine when they embark on the trail of a missing young woman and a Soviet assassin known as "Mr Brown". They now work for Major Anthony Carter (James Fleet), Tommy's uncle and the head the Third Floor, a branch of British Military Intelligence which doesn't officially exist. Tommy and Tuppence are assisted by Albert Pemberton (Matthew Steer), a chemistry teacher and part-time agent for Carter.

« Where did you learn all this?
- John Buchan, Conan Doyle, Dorothy L. Sayers.
- Books.
- And boarding school. Dodging the housemistress. »

Partners in Crime is charming, fun and gorgeously produced. David Walliams pleasantly surprises, Jessica Raine is excellent as usual and their duo works perfectly. It's the kind of classy and entertaining drama you expect from the BBC, whose special relationship with the estate of Agatha Christie starts well. Clarke Peters and Alice Krige are amongst the guest cast of The Secret Adversary. Partners in Crime is produced by Endor Productions and Agatha Christie Productions for the BBC. It is executive  produced  by  Hilary Bevan Jones for Endor, David Walliams, Mathew Prichard and Hilary Strong for Agatha Christie Productions, and Matthew Read for the BBC. Tim Phillips composed the great score. Peter Anderson Studio designed the titles.

« Why, Mr Beresford. I do believe your pulse has quickened just a little. »

The last three episodes are adapted from N or M? by Claire Wilson. The whole series is directed by Edward Hall. Partners in Crime is distributed by All3Media.

(1) http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2015/then-there-were-none
(2) http://tattard2.blogspot.fr/2015/07/les-petits-meurtres-dagatha-christie.html

http://www.electrictp.com/ (Tim Phillips)

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