Swigwatch Christmas 2018

There is a positive riot of Agatha Christie on UK TV over the holiday period; it is becoming a Christmas tradition. A Christie for Christmas? Just slightly! It is almost impossible to list everything which is on, but here are some highlights to give a flavour of it, with two obvious stand-outs. 

SUNDAY, 23rd DECEMBER
CHANNEL 5  
9:00 pm Agatha and the Truth of Murder
This is a new drama related to Agatha Christie’s infamous eleven-day disappearance in 1926. The story imagines that she faked her own disappearance to investigate a true-life murder: that of Florence Nightingale’s god-daughter … Sounds intriguing!

ITV3
Agatha Christie’s Poirot

4:25pm Dumb Witness
6:45pm Hercule Poirot’s Christmas – in which Poirot rescues Japp from his family Christmas
9:00pm Murder on the Orient Express 

HPC2

MONDAY 24th DECEMBER 
ITV3 
Agatha Christie’s Poirot
3:00pm The Theft o
f the Royal Ruby  royal ruby 5
 … in which Poirot displays his talent for peeling a mango (which David Suchet had learned from the Duke of Edinburgh)
4:00pm Dead Man’s Folly
… filmed at Greenway, Agatha Christie’s holiday home
6:00pm The Big 4  

BOXING DAY, 26th DECEMBER
BBC 1 
9:00 pm ABC Murders part one
The big event swigatha-wise over Christmas. Some purists have already slammed it without seeing it – and understandably so, given previous adaptations by the same team. Like those, this one has a strong cast and is a must-see, even though the verdict might be ‘never again.’ Parts two and three are at the same time, on the 27th and 28th December.

ITV3
Agatha Christie’s Poirot

4:45 pm The Affair at the Victory Ball
5:55 pm The ABC Murders 
… helpfully scheduled so that viewers can go from this old version (1992) to the new one and still have time to have supper in between. If there is a scene on BBC that lives up to the one below then we are in for a treat:  

ABC Cust and Poriot

In gaol: Donald Sumpter as Cust and David Suchet as Poirot

FRIDAY, 28th DECEMBER
CHANNEL 5
6:00 pm Crooked House 
A repeat of last year’s Christmas offering. It was tucked away on Channel 5, so many may have missed it. Worth a re-look. 

Also on this day, and on subsequent days, ABC Murders continues on BBC1 and ITV3 goes in for an orgy of  Suchet’s Poirot, with at least three films each afternoon, including  Curtain (28th December) and Evil Under The Sun (29th).  There are eight hours of it on New Year’s Eve alone. Neither the BBC Radio Times nor the ITV3 website lists all these episodes. 

NEW YEAR’S DAY
ITV3 
8:25 am Murder on the Orient Express
The first, and in my opinion, best adaptation of this brilliant story; made in 1974, it features Albert Finney and his (to Agatha) disappointingly unflamboyant moustaches. I find it amusing that, 45 years later, Agatha’s fans still respond to the appointment of a new Poirot, most recently Kenneth Branagh and John Malkovich, based on the evidence of his upper lip. I suspect she would have hated Suchet’s plastic monstrosity and quietly admired the chutzpah of Branagh’s. 
2:50 pm Agatha Christie’s Marple: At Bertram’s Hotel
4:55 pm Agatha Christie’s Marple: Ordeal by Innocence
A somewhat misleading series title. Agatha Christie’s actual Marple never appeared in this book
7:00 pm Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Adventure of the Clapham Cook 
One last outing for Suchet’s Poirot before he collapses on the sofa with exhaustion. 

 

 

 

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