In the United States, the week between Christmas and New Years is pretty much a TV dead zone. Not so in the UK, where the BBC and ITV bring out their four-star specials. This year, the schedule looks particularly rich.
I’ve already posted items about the début of Dickensian (26 December 2015, on BBC One) and the return of Holmes and Watson in The Abominable Bride (1 January 2016, on BBC One), the one-off episode the takes Sherlock back to his Victorian roots. Many popular series have special extended episodes around the holidays: Doctor Who and Call the Midwife* are set for Christmas Day on BBC One, and the final episode of Downton Abbey** will play on ITV the same day.
The plot thickens. BBC One will follow the Boxing Day début of Dickensian with the first episode of a three-part adaptation of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.
And Then There Were None is Christie’s best-selling book, and the best-selling mystery of all time, with over 100 million copies sold. It’s arguably her best work, and the one that Christie said it was her most difficult book to write. (She wrote something like 85 novels, but I’ve always thought of them as five or six original stories and 80 variations of the same tale.)
There have been numerous adaptations of the book for film, theatre, and television. This new version is supposed to be darker and more graphic than the others, with language that might make the rather prudish Dame Agatha blush. The stellar cast includes, well, all the usual suspects: Sam Neill, Miranda Richardson, Charles (Is there anything he isn’t in these days?) Dance, Aidan Turner, Douglas Booth, and Toby Stephens.
Should be fun. And if it doesn’t work out, just wait: 20th Century Fox has acquired the feature rights to And Then There Were None. A new movie version should be out in the next year or so.
*How long will it be before Bravo launches a series named Call the Real Midwives of Orange County? Since that sleazy Andy Cohen has made the network unwatchably trashy, it’s only a matter of time.
**In the spirit of the holidays, I’m not going to write anything snarky about Downton Abbey. Besides, I just slimed Andy Cohen, so I’m feeling mellow.