Agatha Christie’s legendary Miss Marple was given a make over by ITV with Geraldine McEwan and then Julia McKenzie bringing a twinkle to the eye of the elderly lady who just happens to be a dab hand at mystery solving.
Very glossy and with very high production values and design, the series was also packed to the gills with high quality guest stars, everyone from Joanna Lumley, Amanda Holden to Francesca Annis in fact pretty much every speaking role is a role for a well known face.
The show quickly gained notoriety for not staying faithful to Christie’s books, in fact several of the adaptations were not based on Miss Marple novels at all (although to be fair, one of the classic Margaret Rutherford movies was actually based on a Poirot novel) but they also changed the identity of the murderer and created plenty of new characters, the producers even brought in the occasional character, such as Tommy and Tuppence, from other Christie novels. As the series has progressed this happened more and more and with the fifth season only featuring one original Marple story (The Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side), it’s an interesting concept though as it basically allows the production team to adapt whichever Christie story they like.
After three seasons and 12 stories Geraldine McEwen retired from the lead role and was replaced by Julia McKenzie who was equally good, heading more towards the Margaret Rutherford end of the spectrum rather than the Joan Hickson end. The series had something of a troubled broadcasting history in the UK, episodes were broadcast only sporadically and well after they have been broadcast in places like the US and Australia. The show was actually made with quite a bit of American finance and had a large audience outside of the UK and it was probably only because of that that ITV continued with the series for as long as they did.
UK / ITV1 Network – Chorion – WGBH Boston / 23×120 minute episodes / 12 December 2004 – 29 December 2013
Executive Producers: Rebecca Eaton, Damien Timmer, Phil Clymer, Michele Buck / Music: Dominik Scherrer
GERALDINE McEWAN as Miss Jane Marple (2004-2007)
JULIA McKENZIE as Miss Jane Marple (2008-2013)
SEASON ONE 12 December 2004 – 2 January 2005
1. THE BODY IN THE LIBRARY (12 Dec 04)
2. THE MURDER AT THE VICARAGE (19 Dec 04)
3. 4.50 FROM PADDINGTON (26 Dec 04)
4. A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED (2 Jan 05)
SEASON TWO 5 February – 30 April 2006
1. SLEEPING MURDER (5 Feb 06)
2. THE MOVING FINGER (12 Feb 06)
3. BY THE PRICKING OF MY THUMBS (19 Feb 06)
4. THE SITTAFORD MYSTERY (30 Apr 06)
SEASON THREE 27 September 2007 – 1 January 2009 (broadcast in the US from July – August 2007)
1. AT BERTRAM’S HOTEL (27 Sep 07)
2. ORDEAL BY INNOCENCE (30 Sep 07)
3. TOWARDS ZERO (3 Aug 07)
4. NEMESIS (1 Jan 09)
SEASON FOUR 6 September 2009 – 15 June 2010 (broadcast in the US from 5 – 26 July 2009)
1. A POCKETFUL OF RYE (6 Sep 09)
2. MURDER IS EASY (13 Sep 09)
3. THEY DO IT WITH MIRRORS (1 Jan 10)
4. WHY DIDN’T THEY ASK EVANS? (15 Jun 10)
SEASON SIX 16 June – 29 December 2013
1. A CARIBBEAN MYSTERY (16 Jun 13)
2. GREENSHAW’S FOLLY (23 Jun 13)
3. ENDLESS NIGHT (29 Dec 13)