Tommy and Tuppence take up the challenge
Think of Agatha Christie and what immediately springs to mind? Probably that fastidious Belgian detective Hercule Poirot and sharp-as-a-tack pensioner Miss Marple. In fact, there are maybe even some people who have never read any of her work that believe Christie’s output only features those two formidable characters. But how wrong they are. Christie wrote a variety of books and short stories that featured neither of them, as well as four novels and a collection of tales featuring the adventures of Tommy and Tuppence Beresford, a pair of married amateur detectives. The Beresfords first popped up in 1922, and their adventures spanned the next 50 years – indeed their final story, Postern of Fate, was the last novel written by Christie. This take on their tales, Partners in Crime, BBC1, 9pm, takes place solely in the 1950s and stars David Walliams and Jessica Raine as the daring duo. It also mixes espionage, drama and humour against the backdrop of the Cold War. The first run features two stories – The Secret Adversary and N or M? – and lasts six weeks. Christie’s books are relatively short and tend to be adapted into feature-length dramas, so it’s refreshing that here, viewers have something to really get their teeth into – as well as the potential for cliffhangers at the end of each episode. In fact, the whole project appears to have been put together with tender loving care by people with real enthusiasm for the subject. “David Walliams and Hilary Strong from the Agatha Christie Group came to discuss the fact that they wanted to reinvent Tommy and Tuppence,” says executive producer Hilary Bevan Jones. “David was particularly tickled by the idea of a married amateur detective duo and the image of them bickering over a dead body. “Christie has a wonderful sense of humour and I’m not sure how many people know that. We decided to think of it as Indiana Jones meets Agatha Christie.” Eyebrows may be raised among Christie worshippers at the thought of Walliams playing Tommy, but Zinnie Harris, who adapted their first case, The Secret Adversary, for the small screen, reckons he’s just perfect. “David is a wonderful Tommy as I always thought he would be,” she reveals. “He is a great combination of brave, gung-ho and a bit left-footed which is quite a hard thing to pull off. I love what he has done with the character.
I Spy David Walliams stars in the crime drama.