‘A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED’ (2005)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Announcing Murder with Geraldine McEwan’s Miss Marple
The fourth and final film Series 1 of ITV’s ‘Marple’ called ‘A Murder Is Announced’ is based on the original book published in 1950. This ‘Marple’ TV film with Geraldine McEwan was shown in January 2005.
I’ve seen a theatre production of ‘A Murder Is Announced’ with Judy Cornwell at the New Theatre in Cardiff, October 2015. So I knew what the story was about and I also knew who the murderer was.
Comparing the two versions of ‘A Murder Is Announced’, I noticed there were more characters in this ITV film version than in the theatre version I saw. Interesting how these adaptation go about, isn’t it?
In this film, the villagers of Chipping Cleghorn see an advert in the newspapers about a murder being announced at Little Paddocks. Everyone gets curious and excited, unable to resist finding out about this.
Eventually at Little Paddocks, at the time of the murder, the lights go out and it seems that the murderer gets murdered himself. Very soon, Miss Marple turns up with solving this strange mystery.
This film features another stellar cast as usual in these ‘Marple’ films. This time, I was able to recognise more ‘Doctor Who’ stars in this ‘Marple’ film than any other for Series 1 of this ITV series.
Just to say, I’ve read that there have been many alterations in adapting from the original book into this TV movie of ‘Miss Marple’. I’m sure that is the case, especially with two characters featured in it.
Geraldine McEwan as ever excels in the role of Miss Marple. Her gentle eccentricity shines throughout, especially when he becomes so polite to the police investigators as they’re doing their jobs.
Miss Marple doesn’t get involved with the mystery until she sees the announcement of the murderer ‘murdered’ in the newspapers. Apparently she had contact with the murderer at the spa hotel she was staying at.
Zoë Wanamaker guest stars as Letitia Blacklock of Little Paddocks. In ‘Doctor Who’, Zoë played Lady Cassandra in the episodes ‘The End of the World’ and ‘New Earth’. She’s also been in the ‘Harry Potter’ films.
Keeley Hawes guest stars as Phillipa Haymes. I’ve seen Keeley Hawes in 1999’s ‘Wives and Daughters’ and 1998’s ‘Our Mutual Friend’. She also appeared in the ‘Doctor Who’ episode ‘Time Heist’ with Peter Capaldi.
Elaine Paige guest stars as Dora Bunner. Dora, also known as ‘Bunny’, is an old friend of Letitia Blacklock’s and lives at Little Paddocks. She gets a treat on her birthday before she meets a sticky end.
Cherie Lunghi guest stars as Sadie Swettenham. I’ve seen Cherie in an episode of ‘The Agatha Christie Hour’. She also appeared in the ‘Doctor Who’ audio ‘The Emerald Tiger’ with Peter Davison.
Catherine Tate guest stars as Mitzi, a paranoid housekeeper at Little Paddocks. I was delighted to see Catherine in this ‘Miss Marple’ film, since she also played Donna Noble in the ‘Doctor Who’ TV show.
There’s Claire Skinner as Amy Murgatroyd and Frances Barber as Lizzie Hinchcliffe. Claire was also in ‘The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe’ while Frances played Madame Kovarian in ‘Doctor Who’.
There’s another lesbian thing with Claire Skinner and Frances Barber’s characters in this ‘Miss Marple’ film. It’s happening again as in ‘The Body in the Library’, but does it mean they did the murders?
There’s also Robert Pugh as Colonel Easterbrook. Robert Pugh also starred in the ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘The Hungry Earth’/’Cold Blood’. In this, the Colonel has a romantic link with Cherie Lunghi’s character.
There’s also Gerard Horan as D.S. Fletcher. I’ve seen Gerard Horan in the ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘Human Nature’/’The Family of Blood’. D.S. Fletcher helps D.I. Craddock with solving this murder case.
The cast also has Matthew Goode as Patrick Simmons and Sienna Guillory as Julia Simons. There’s also Virginia McKenna as Belle Goedler, who seems to live in an Eilean Donan-like castle in Scotland.
There is a shocking scene that happens when one of Miss Marple’s friends gets murdered, after realising who wasn’t in the room at the time of the murder. It was a pretty upsetting scene to watch.
I like how the story ends with everyone else gathered at Little Paddocks and Miss Marple revealing who the murderer was. It was so tense and intriguingly complex on how the facts of the murder fit.
‘A Murder Is Announced’ has been a joy to see. It was great to see so many familiar faces in the film and see an engaging plot with Geraldine McEwan as Miss Marple taking stage to solve the mystery.
The DVD special features are as follows. There’s an exclusive behind-the-scenes documentary segment with key cast and crew interviews on ‘A Murder is Announced’ to enjoy.
The first series of ITV’s ‘Agatha Christie’s Marple’ has been a great collection of TV movies. They’ve been fun to watch in seeing who I can recognises from shows like ‘Doctor Who’ and others. And it’s a good season that sees Geraldine McEwan at her best as Miss Marple and with some gripping plots.
‘A Murder Is Announced’ (2005) rating – 8/10
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