Christie's husband- -and-wife sleuths; Poirot... Marple... now meet Tommy and Tuppence.
HINK of Agatha Christie and what immediately springs to mind? TProbably 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 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.
BBC1, 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 of this generation 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.
"But more than that, David and I worked quite closely as the first script was being shaped and written so he brought masses to the whole series. He was a great collaborator as all those early decisions about tone and story were being made. In fact many of the best ideas were his!" Will we be seeing more of Tommy and Tuppence once this run is over? According to Walliams, that's entirely up to us.
"We certainly hope there will be more Tommy and Tuppence adventures," he remarks. "There are more books to adapt and it's been a real pleasure filming these two stories. But ultimately, it's what the public think. If the public enjoy it, then I am sure there will be more. It has been a brilliant adventure so far..."
PARTNERS IN CRIME BBC1, tomorrow, 9pm
Jessica Raine and David Walliams as Tuppence and Tommy Beresford |