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Ordeal by Innocence (BBC-1 2017, Bill Nighy, Catherine Keeper)



Adapted from Agatha Christie’s 1958 novel of the same title, Ordeal By Innocence begins filming in Scotland this month. It’s a major adaptation by Sarah Phelps of Christie’s classic title.

This new three-part drama reunites the team behind last December’s The Witness for the Prosecution and And Then There Were None in December 2015, both of which were critical successes for BBC One.

Christmas 1954. Wealthy philanthropist Rachel Argyll is murdered at her family estate Sunny Point.Her adopted son Jack Argyll, a young delinquent, is arrested for her murder. He vehemently protests his innocence.

Eighteen months later, Dr Arthur Calgary, a scientist, walks onto the velvety lawns of Sunny Point claiming to have just returned from an expedition to the Arctic. Even more extraordinary is his claim to hold the alibi that can prove Jack’s innocence. But Jack died in prison before the case could come to trial, and the Argyll family is reluctant to dig up the secrets of the past.

Rachel’s widower Leo is about to remarry his secretary Gwenda and none of Rachel’s other adopted children Mary, Mickey, Tina or Hester, nor longstanding housekeeper Kirsten, is willing to reopen that most horrendous chapter of their lives. However, the shattering implications of Calgary’s story are too big to avoid; if he is telling the truth then the wrong person was arrested for Rachel’s murder. And if Jack was not the killer, then it must have been somebody else at Sunny Point.

Damien Timmer, executive producer, Mammoth Screen, says: “Sarah Phelps has excelled herself with this spellbinding adaptation of one of Agatha Christie’s most celebrated stories. A gloriously dark deconstruction of an apparently perfect family, we hope it delights and chills viewers when it airs!”

James Prichard, executive producer and executive chairman of Agatha Christie Limited, says: “Ordeal By Innocence was one of Christie’s personal favourites and I cannot wait to see how this outstanding cast will bring her story to life under the skillful direction of Sandra Goldbacher and the Mammoth Screen production team. To have Bill Nighy and Catherine Keener head up this all-star cast really is a testament to the depth and quality of my great grandmother’s writing.”

Gaynor Holmes, BBC executive producer, says: “We’re delighted to be continuing our special relationship with Agatha Christie on BBC One. Sarah Phelps’ stunningly crafted adaptation of this wonderful novel has attracted a brilliantly stellar cast and will thrill audiences.”

Ordeal By Innocence continues BBC One and Agatha Christie Limited’s unique production deal that will see ACL and Mammoth deliver seven Christie adaptations.

Bill Nighy
Catherine Keener
Matthew Goode
Eleanor Tomlinson
Anthony Boyle
Ed Westwick
Luke Treadaway
Morven Christie
Crystal Clarke
Ella Purnell
Alice Eve

key behind the scenes crew
Sarah Phelps as Executive Producer
Karen Thrussell as Executive Producer
Damien Timmer as Executive Producer
Helen Ziegler as Executive Producer
James Prichard as Executive Producer
Basi Akpabio as Executive Producer
Gaynor Holmes as Executive Producer
Sarah Phelps as Writer
Agatha Christie as Original Author
Sandra Goldbacher as Director
Roopesh Parekh as Producer

show type
Period crime drama

broadcast from
Currently in production

network and production companies
BBC One – Mammoth Screen – Agatha Christie Ltd