No one does murder mystery quite like Agatha Christie, so any adaptation of her work is a sure-fire TV hit.
One of her most enduring characters is the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, and fans of her work will be excited to see a brand new version of one of his cases.
Find out all you need to know about the forthcoming Agatha Christie adaptation below.
When is The ABC Murders on TV?
BBC One has confirmed that filming for the thriller began in June and we’ve had a sneak peek at the first-look photo of Poirot.
In 2017, Agatha Christie tale Ordeal by Innocence was due to be the BBC’s Boxing Day feature until scenes had to be reshot following allegations about one of its actors, Ed Westwick, and it eventually aired over Easter 2018.
So we’re expecting that this three-part mystery will be back on schedule to fit into the BBC’s Christmas programming this December.
What is The ABC Murders about?
The ABC Murders is billed as one of Christie’s most chilling Poirot tales and is based on her 1936 novel of the same name.
It is set in 1930s Britain, where an atmosphere of suspicion, division and hatred is on the rise, making for a tense backdrop to the case.
A brutal killer strikes first in Andover, then in Bexhill, and becomes known as ABC thanks to the copy of The ABC Railway Guide which is left behind at each crime scene.
Detective Hercule Poirot faces one of his toughest challenges in trying to unmask the murderer, and will find his own integrity and past called into question as he races to stop the next crime.
The adaptation comes from Sarah Phelps, who was also at the helm of the BBC’s last three Agatha Christie tales – And Then There Were None, The Witness for the Prosecution, and Ordeal by Innocence.
She said: “Set in the seething, suspicious early 1930s, The ABC Murders is a brutal story of violence and lies, the long shadow of the past and the slaughter to come. At its centre, one of the most familiar, famous characters in crime fiction. We may all think we know Poirot, but do we really know Hercule?”
Who plays Hercule Poirot?
The famous detective has been played by a long list of stars on screen, notably Albert Finney who was Oscar-nominated for Murder on the Orient Express, Peter Ustinov, who took on the role six times, and most recently Kenneth Branagh in the 2017 remake of Murder on the Orient Express.
Most of us will picture David Suchet as Poirot, who played the character on ITV from 1989 unil 2013 when his Poirot was killed off in the final episode.
Now, we will see a Hollywood star have his first crack at the part as John Malkovich dons the famous moustache.
The Being John Malkovich and Dangerous Liaisons actor said: “I’m honoured to have been asked to play Hercule Poirot. It’s a role that’s been played by a number of excellent actors, and I am enjoying the numerous challenges this part presents. I have great respect for Sarah Phelps’ screenplay and hope to do both she and Agatha Christie’s creation some measure of justice.”
Who else stars in the series?
John Malkovich isn’t the only star lined up for the thriller – it will also feature Harry Potter and Snatch actor Rupert Grint, who is set to play Inspector Crome.
Broadchurch’s Andrew Buchan will play Franklin Clarke, and Game of Thrones star Tara Fitzgerald will appear as Lady Hermione Clarke.
We’ll see Twin Peaks actor Eamon Farren as Cust, Bronwyn James (Harlots) as Megan, and Freya Mavor (The Sense of an Ending) as Thora Grey.
Recently, the BBC announced that Olivier Award-winner and Harry Potter actress Shirley Henderson would play Miss Rose Marbury, Pirates of the Caribbean’s Kevin McNally has signed up as Japp, Gregor Fisher (Love Actually) will play Dexter Dooley, and Poldark’s Jack Farthing has been cast as Donald Fraser.
Other cast includes Karen Westwood (The Alienist), Lizzy McInnerny (The Crown), Anya Chalotra (Wanderlust), Eve Austin (In the Flesh), Christopher Villiers (Hetty Feather), Suzanne Packer (Keeping Faith), Michael Shaeffer (Rogue One), Cyril Nri (Cucumber), Henry Goodman (Genius: Einstein), Tamzin Griffin (A Fantastic Fear of Everything), Ian Pirie (Sunset Song), Shane Attwooll (Dark River) and Terenia Edwards (Peter Rabbit).
James Prichard, executive producer and CEO of Agatha Christie Limited, said: “The ABC Murders is one of my great grandmother’s most unsettling and intense stories and Hercule Poirot one of her most intriguing characters. I am humbled by the quality of cast we have lined up for the show and I am most excited to experience the unique approach John Malkovich will bring to the role in this thrilling one-off television adaptation.”
The ABC Murders is expected to air at Christmas on BBC One.
Never miss an episode with BT TV – look out for it on the BBC iPlayer app.