Rating 0

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn

Written by Stephen Churchett and Nicolas Winding Refn, based on the novel by Agatha Christie

Starring Geraldine McEwan, Richard E Grant, Lee Ingleby, Amanda Burton, Anne Reid, Dan Stevens, Ronni Acona, Adrian Rawlins, Will Mellor, Emily Woof, Johnny Briggs, Laura Michelle Kelly, Ruth Wilson, George Cole and Graeme Garden

When financier Jason Rafiel dies, he conspires to bring together a disparate group of people on a coach tour, leaving Miss Marple (Geraldine McEwan) to unravel the tangled web of intrigue and solve the mysterious disappearance of a young woman called Verity Hunt several years earlier.


‘Nemesis’ was the last of the twelve Miss Marple novels written by Agatha Christie and was first published in 1971, forty-one years after the first novel, ‘The Murder at the Vicarage’, Miss Marple having first appeared in a short story published in 1927. It was adapted for television by the BBC in 1987 with the inimitable Joan Hickson in the lead role.

The new ITV adaptation, part of the Geraldine McEwan ‘Marple’ series, was broadcast on 1 January 2009. Although it follows the basic premise of the novel, it makes numerous changes, omitting some characters and adding others. None of these changes add to the story. They do, in fact, detract greatly from it. Geraldine McEwan is an excellent actress, but I don’t especially like her take on Miss Marple, who is portrayed as far too knowing and vaguely bohemian, taking away completely from the person whose real achievement is being able to blend into the background and observe what is happening around her with needle-sharp incisiveness. That is the character created by Agatha Christie and portrayed so brilliantly by Joan Hickson. I do, however, understand the thinking behind the decision to “modernise” the character and offer an alternative to Hickson’s definitive portrayal.

Although not really a fan of ‘Marple’ (which began with ‘The Body in the Library’ in December 2004), I have enjoyed some of the eleven episodes that proceeded ‘Nemesis’, but this latest instalment, the last to feature McEwan, was painful to watch. I cannot imagine a worse and more dispiriting adaptation, quite frankly.

‘Marple’ continues during 2009 with four new episodes, now starring Julia McKenzie in the lead role, starting with ‘A Pocket Full of Rye’.

Review posted 2 January 2009


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