Bril­liant, edgy court­room drama

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - BOOKS & DVD/BLU-RAY -

OH my, if Agatha Christie had lived to see this sexed up new BBC1 ver­sion of her clas­sic, I fear the grand old Dame may have needed smelling salts.

Writer Sarah Phelps (re­spon­si­ble for last Christ­mas’s hit ver­sion of And Then There Were None) has cre­ated the rawest and best ver­sion yet of this edgy court­room drama. The grimy 1924 Lon­don back­streets and gloomy houses lit by splut­ter­ing new elec­tric lights are vividly por­trayed. It looks as if it was shot through nico­tine-stained yel­low gauze. The rich are shrug­ging offthe­cling­ing mis­ery of the Great War­by­whoopin­gitup, and lonely Amer­i­can so­cialite Emily French (Kim Cat­trall) pays young men to be her lovers. Then she changes her will leav­ing a for­tune to lat­est gigolo LeonardVole (Billy Howle) and­soon­after, she’s found blud­geoned to death by jeal­ously pos­ses­sive house­keeper Janet (Mon­ica Dolan). Vole’s charged with mur­der. De­spite his show­girl lover Ro­maine (An- drea Rise­bor­ough) giv­ing him an al­ibi, Vole looks set to hang when eventsun­ex­pect­ed­ly­play­in­tothe hand­sofhis­pa­thet­i­clawyerMay­hew(bril­liant TobyJones) andthe out­come­be­comesabat­tle­ofwits. Two more big sur­prises de­liver a shat­ter­ing cli­max.

Wh i c h Po ld a r k hu n k starredin­lastyear’sBBCChristie hit? En­triestoAlexGor­don, Wit­ness comp by Jan­uary 19.

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