‘A Murder Is Announced’ (1985) (TV)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

An Announcement of Murder with Joan Hickson’s Marple

The third story in the ‘Miss Marple’ series starring Joan Hickson is ‘A Murder Is Announced’. This is presented as a 3 x 50 minute episode story and based on the original 1950 novel by Agatha Christie.

‘A Murder Is Announced’ was shown on the 28th of February and the 1st and the 2nd of March in 1985. I have seen the ITV version of ‘A Murder Is Announced’ before this as well as a theatre version.

In the drama, a murder gets announced to be taking place at Little Paddocks cottage in Chipping Cleghorne village. Everyone assumes it to be a party game as they turn up to see what occurs there.

But the assumed party game goes wrong when a young Swiss man walks in and gets killed in the process. Everybody assumes he shot himself until Inspector Craddock turns to Miss Marple for help.

I greatly enjoyed this TV adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel. I’ve said it before but I believe that these BBC versions of the Miss Marple stories are closer to the original books and other adaptations.

This is especially when there doesn’t seem to be a lesbian element going on between two characters as there was in the ITV version. It may have been hinted at, but it was not explicitly stated in this drama.

I also feel that there’s more story to be told in this three 50-minute episode structure and that nothing seemed to be crammed in. I especially liked how the first episode introduces the characters.

It takes a while for Miss Marple to actively get involved in the plot by the time we get to end of ‘Part One’. But when she does, she forms connections to these characters who may be potential suspects.

Joan Hickson is once again superb as Miss Marple in this TV adaptation of ‘A Murder Is Announced’. She certainly is a quiet observer and very kind-hearted whilst also adopting a serious attitude to life.

The guest cast includes Ursula Howells as Miss Blacklock; Samantha Bond as Julie Simmons; Simon Shepherd as Patrick Simmons and Renée Asherson as Miss Bunner. These four live in Little Paddocks.

I’ve seen Samantha Bond in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’ playing the villainous Miss Wormwood. It was extraordinary seeing a young version of Samantha Bond in this TV adaptation of a ‘Miss Marple’.

There’s also Joan Sims as Miss Murgatroyd and Paola Dionisotti as Miss Hinchcliffe. I’ve seen Joan Sims in the ‘Doctor Who’ story, ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’ with Colin Baker and ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’.

Interestingly in the ITV version, the Murgatroyd character seemed to be of a relation to Miss Marple and was younger. Here the Murgatroyd character isn’t so young and isn’t connected to Miss Marple.

There’s John Castle as Detective Inspector Craddock and Kevin Whately as Detective Sergeant Fletcher. I like how Inspector Craddock seemed to rely on Miss Marple for help in this TV adaptation.

There’s Ralph Michael as Colonel Easterbrook and Sylvia Syms as Mrs. Easterbook. I’ve seen Ralph Michael before in ‘Jeeves & Wooster’. I’ve seen Sylvia Syms in the ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘Ghost Light’.

There’s Matthew Solon as Edmund Sweetenham and Mary Kerridge as Mrs. Sweetenham. There’s Nicola King as Phillipa Haymes and Elaine Ives-Cameron as the Little Paddocks housekeeper Hannah.

There’s Vivienne Moore as Mrs. Harmon, who is Miss Marple’s niece in this TV adaptation. And there’s David Collings as Reverend Harmon, who’s done some ‘Doctor Who’ stories on TV and audio.

I was amazed and surprised to see Ardverikie House, which was used as Glenbogle House in ‘Monarch of the Glen’. I couldn’t believe as I recognised it from the outside and on the inside in this.

The 1985 TV adaptation of ‘A Murder Is Announced’ is pretty good. The climatic scene of where the murderer is revealed was shocking to see, but it was very compelling with good story and characters.

‘A Murder Is Announced’ (1985) rating – 9/10

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