Damien Timmer, executive producer, Mammoth Screen, says: “Sarah Phelps has excelled herself with this spellbinding adaptation of one of Agatha Christie’s most celebrated stories. A gloriously dark deconstruction of an apparently perfect family, we hope it delights and chills viewers when it airs!”
Joining the cast are Poldark’s Eleanor Tomlinson and Downton Abbey’s Matthew Goode alongside, Bill Nighy (Love Actually, Pirates Of The Caribbean) and Catherine Keener (Get Out, Capote), Anthony Boyle (Harry Potter And The Cursed Child), Ed Westwick (White Gold, Gossip Girl), Luke Treadaway (Fortitude, A Street Cat Named Bob), Morven Christie (The A Word, The Replacement), Crystal Clarke (Assassin’s Creed, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens), Ella Purnell (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Churchill) and Alice Eve (Star Trek Into Darkness, Black Mirror).
This new three-part drama reunites the dynamic team at Mammoth Screen, Executive Producers, Damien Timmer, Karen Thrussell, and producer Roopesh Parekh who were behind last December’s The Witness for the Prosecution and And Then There Were None in December 2015, both of which were critical successes for BBC One.
Adapted from Christie’s 1958 novel of the same title, Ordeal By Innocence will be directed by Sandra Goldbacher (Victoria, The Hour, Me Without You) and produced by Parekh, (Poldark, And Then There Were None, The Hollow Crown).
“Ordeal By Innocence”, first published in the UK in November 1958, takes place during Christmas 1954. Wealthy philanthropist Rachel Argyll is murdered at her family estate Sunny Point.Her adopted son Jack Argyll, a young delinquent, is arrested for her murder. He vehemently protests his innocence.
Eighteen months later, Dr Arthur Calgary, a scientist, walks onto the velvety lawns of Sunny Point claiming to have just returned from an expedition to the Arctic. Even more extraordinary is his claim to hold the alibi that can prove Jack’s innocence. But Jack died in prison before the case could come to trial, and the Argyll family is reluctant to dig up the secrets of the past.
Rachel’s widower Leo is about to remarry his secretary Gwenda and none of Rachel’s other adopted children Mary, Mickey, Tina or Hester, nor longstanding housekeeper Kirsten, is willing to reopen that most horrendous chapter of their lives. However, the shattering implications of Calgary’s story are too big to avoid; if he is telling the truth then the wrong person was arrested for Rachel’s murder. And if Jack was not the killer, then it must have been somebody else at Sunny Point.
James Prichard, executive producer and executive chairman of Agatha Christie Limited, says: “Ordeal By Innocence was one of Christie’s personal favourites and I cannot wait to see how this outstanding cast will bring her story to life under the skillful direction of Sandra Goldbacher and the Mammoth Screen production team. To have Bill Nighy and Catherine Keener head up this all-star cast really is a testament to the depth and quality of my great grandmother’s writing.”
Ordeal by Innocence was adapted into a film in 1985, directed by Desmond Davis and starred Donald Sutherland, Faye Dunaway, Christopher Plummer and Sarah Miles.
The story was also adapted for the third season of the 2007 ITV television series Marple featuring Geraldine McEwan with significant changes to the original novel.
Ordeal By Innocence continues BBC One and Agatha Christie Limited’s unique production deal that will see ACL and Mammoth deliver seven Christie adaptations! That’s music to Agatha Christie lover’s ears!
Ordeal By Innocence is a Mammoth Screen and Agatha Christie Limited drama for BBC One. The executive producers are Phelps, Thrussell, Timmer, and Helen Ziegler for Mammoth Screen, James Prichard and Basi Akpabio for Agatha Christie Limited, Gaynor Holmes for BBC.
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