Agatha Christie’s Ordeal by Innocence adds Bill Nighy and Poldark’s Eleanor Tomlinson


Following on the heals of the last two successful Agatha Christie adaptations, And Then There Were None and Witness for the Prosecution, comes one of Christie’s personal favorites, Ordeal by Innocence, this Christmas.

Starring Bill Nighy and Poldark‘s Eleanor Tomlinson, the 3-part Ordeal by Innocence will be adapted from the original Christie novel which was published nearly six decades ago in 1958. This year’s ‘Christie for Christmas’ entry will focus more on the psychology of murder rather than the traditional Christie ‘figuring-out’ of the case.

While it wasn’t the best received at the time, it is now considered to be one of Christie’s better later works. In addition, Agatha Christie’s great grandson and executive chairman of Agatha Christie Ltd said in a press release that “Ordeal by Innocence was one of Christie’s personal favorites.”

Starring alongside Nighy and Tomlinson will be Star Trek Into Darkness‘ Alice Eve, White Gold‘s Ed Westwick, Star Wars’ Crystal Clarke, Downton Abbey‘s Matthew Goode, the brilliant Catherine Keener (Get Out), Fortitude‘s Luke Treadaway, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child‘s Anthony Boyle and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children‘s Ella Purnell.

Ordeal by Innocence synopsis according to the BBC…

  • It’s 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.

Screenwriter Sarah Phelps, who adapted the two earlier Christie stories for the BBC, will adapt the 3-part Ordeal, set to air this Christmas on BBC1.