According to Mediatel, 6.5 million people watched the first episode of Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime last night, making it the number one show in the UK.
The first episode was a fairly loose adaptation of The Secret Adversary, Agatha Christie’s 1922 thriller in which two Bright Young Things pursue a foreign agent. In the book the characters Tommy and Tuppence meet up, agree to form a company called the Young Adventurers, and fall in love in the course of their adventures.
In the show they are older, already an established married couple. David Walliams’ Tommy is a hapless pipe-and-slippers man who was invalided out of the war after being hit by a catering truck on his first day (it was going fast, in his defence). He is now trying his luck at bee-keeping but failing to keep up with the school fees for his son George.
Jessica Raines as Tuppence is slightly bored, obsessed with crime fiction, and looking for adventure. The references to the many other crime writers in the books have been trimmed down to John Buchan, Arthur Conan Doyle and Dorothy L. Sayers. Note Tuppence reading the Gollancz first edition of Strong Poison in the image below – although surely it should be yellow?
The story is updated to a 1950s Cold War espionage scenario, but retains some of the characters of the novel (although Albert, the lift-boy-turned-assistant in the books, has morphed into a one-armed chemistry teacher who supplies technical support). The story was pretty shallow, but the books are far from deep. The production values were very glossy, Walliams managed not to camp it up too much, and Raine makes a good Tuppence. We’re tuning in again next week chez Past Offences.
See also: Partners in Crime