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Coach Trip Murder with Joan Hickson’s Marple
The eighth story of the ‘Miss Marple’ series starring Joan Hickson is ‘Nemesis’. This is presented as a 2 x 50 minute episode story (the last two-parter) based on the original 1971 book by Agatha Christie.
‘Nemesis’ was shown on the 8th and the 15th February in 1987. Again I have seen the ITV version of ‘Nemesis’ since there was a coach trip in that. But my memories of the ITV version are pretty vague.
The 1987 BBC adaptation of ‘Nemesis’ is interesting when it comes to a character who died early in the story and he requests Miss Marple to solve a murder mystery in his will. There is a catch though.
In the book series, Miss Marple had met the character Jason Rafiel first ‘A Caribbean Mystery’ before dying in ‘Nemesis’. In the BBC TV series, ‘Nemesis’ was produced first before ‘A Caribbean Mystery’.
This has led to some viewer confusion when Jason Rafiel is supposed to be dead in ‘A Caribbean Mystery’ with ‘Nemesis’ coming out first. The ITV series is not any better as it did the same thing too.
Mind you, the character’s played by different actors in the two stories and maybe they’re not the same character in each story. That’s something I’ll soon find out when I get to ‘A Caribbean Mystery’.
Incidentally, Jason Rafiel is played by Frank Gatliff in the BBC version of ‘Nemesis’. He doesn’t last long. 😀 I’ve seen Frank Gatliff in ‘The Good Life’ and the ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘The Monster of Peladon’.
I did feel the story was rather confusing in places, especially in regards to how Jason Rafiel seemed to be a master manipulator and knew that Jane Marple would solve the mystery. It’s rather peculiar.
Anyway, like I said, Miss Marple gets sent on a mission by the aforementioned Jason Rafiel who died to clear his son’s name. Miss Marple has her godson, Peter Tilbury as Lionel Peel accompanying her.
As Miss Marple vows to discover the truth via a coach trip, she discovers that a girl named Verity Hunt was involved. Can she discover what the connection is, regarding a family of three odd sisters?
Joan Hickson again delivers a splendid performance as Miss Marple here. It was interesting how she solved this murder mystery with her godson Lionel accompanying her, who is often out of his depth.
It was also amusing to see Miss Marple dozing off at times in the story like Godfrey does in ‘Dad’s Army’. It was also very interesting when Miss Marple was being watched by two women in the story.
The family of three odd sisters includes Valerie Lush as Lavinia Glynne; Margaret Tyzack as Clothilde Bradbury-Scott and Anna Cropper as Anthea Bradbury-Scott. Which of these sisters is the murderer?
The cast also includes John Horsley as Professor Wanstead. I’ve seen John Horsley before in the BBC TV sitcom ‘You Rang M’Lord’. Professor Wanstead becomes this helpful ally for Miss Marple’s cause.
There’s Helen Cherry as Miss Elizabeth Temple. She seems to know something about what’s going on regarding Miss Marple’s murder investigation before getting tragically killed at the end of ‘Part One’.
Liz Fraser stars as Mrs. Brent in this production. I’ve seen Liz Fraser before in the 1971 ‘Dad’s Army’ movie and she’s done ‘Carry On’ films too. It was delight to see her in this ‘Miss Marple’ production.
Bruce Payne stars as Michael Rafiel, the son of the dead Jason Rafiel who lives rough on the London streets. I was not sure what to make of this character in watching this TV production before the end.
Joanna Hole stars as Madge; Jane Brooker stars as Miss Cooke and Peter Copley stars as Archdeacon Brabazon. There is also Roger Hammond as Mr. Broadribb and Patrick Godfrey as Mr. Schuster here.
The story’s climax and the reveal of the murderer is always a surprise for me, especially when watching this production. But that extra twist of Michael Rafiel meeting Miss Marple was a surprise.
The 1987 TV adaptation of ‘Nemesis’ has been enjoyable. It was confusing in places and the fact Jason Rafiel is dead here before he is alive in ‘A Caribbean Mystery’ is a mystery. But I did enjoy this.
‘Nemesis’ (1987) rating – 7/10
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