‘The Moving Finger’ (1985) (TV)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Poison Pen Letters Mystery with Joan Hickson’s Marple

The second story in the ‘Miss Marple’ series starring Joan Hickson is ‘The Moving Finger’. This is presented as a 2 x 50 minute episode story and based on the original 1942 novel by Agatha Christie.

‘The Moving Finger’ was shown on the 21st and the 22nd of February in 1985. There is an ITV version of ‘The Moving Finger’, but I can’t recall that version at this point as I haven’t reviewed it yet.

The story has RAF Squadron Leader Gerry Burton and his sister Joanna moving into the village of Lymston. Interestingly, the original book has the RAF Squadron Leader called Jerry, not Gerry in this.

Gerry and Joanna stay in a country cottage called the Furze. The village of Lymston seems to be a nice friendly place at first, until Gerry and Joanna get caught up in the village plagued by vile letters.

These happen to be poison pen letters sent by an anonymous writer as they’re sent to everyone in the village. It seems to be a vulgar joke at first before one of the letters causes someone to get killed.

It’s believed that the mother of three children killed herself as an act of suicide. But when Mrs. Marple is on the case, she gets convinced the mother was murdered and she didn’t commit suicide.

Once again, this has been am enjoyable TV adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel. The performances of the cast are brilliant; the storytelling flows nicely and Joan Hickson is pretty good as Miss Marple.

I’m not sure how this compares to the ITV version which I’ll have to see for myself. But I’m pretty sure this is a faithful adaptation of the story and keeps to the spirit of Agatha Christie’s original book.

The guest cast includes Andrew Bicknell as Gerry Burton and Sabina Franklyn as Joanna. I’ve seen Sabina Franklyn in the ‘Fawlty Towers’ episode, ‘Basil the Rat’. It was a small role compared to this.

There’s also Dilys Hamlett as Maud Calthrop, a friend of Miss Marple’s who summons her to investigate these poison pen letters. And there’s also John Arnatt as Rev. Guy Calthrop, Maud’s wife.

I took me a while to register it, but I realised that John Arnatt was also in ‘Doctor Who’. He played Cardinal Borusa in ‘The Invasion of Time’ with Tom Baker. It was so amazing was to see him here. 😀

There’s also Martin Fisk as Dr. Owen Griffith and Sandra Payne as his sister, Eryl Griffith. Both are Welsh characters in the tale and there’s a nice compliment about the Welsh in this TV production. 😀

There’s also Michael Culver as Edward Symmington and Elizabeth Counsell as his wife Angela, who gets killed in the story. There is also Deborah Appleby as Megan Hunter who falls in love with Gerry.

It was pretty surreal to watch the photograph montage of Gerry showing Megan around London and getting her to be more lady-like rather than tomboyish. Why didn’t they used proper film clips of it?

The story also features Richard Pearson as Mr. Pye, who didn’t turn out to be an important character as I expected. Apparently he’d been in ‘Alice Through The Looking Glass’ which starred Sarah Sutton. 😀

There’s also Hilary Mason as Emily Barton; Penelope Lee as Partridge and Juliet Waley as Beatrice. There’s also Geoffrey Davion as Police Superintendent Nash who conducts the murder investigation.

Imogen Bickford-Smith stars as Elsie Holland in this. I’ve seen Imogen before in the ‘Fawlty Towers’ episode, ‘The Psychiatrist’ as well as the ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘Underworld’ with Tom Baker’s Doctor.

The 1985 TV adaptation of ‘The Moving Finger’ has been pretty compelling indeed. In two 50 minute episodes, I was able to enjoy the story as it all came together so well with superb cast performances.

‘The Moving Finger’ (1985) rating – 8/10

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