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Miss Marple:

Ordeal by Innocence

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Written by: Agatha Christie (novel)
Stewart Harcourt (screenplay)
Directed by: Moira Armstrong
Aired: 30 September 2007 on ITV1
Duration: 120 minutes
Produced by: ITV Productions and WGBH
Distributor: ITV

Cast:






 

  • Miss Marple -
    GERALDINE MCEWAN

  • Gwenda Vaughan-
    JULIET STEVENSON

  • Leo Argyle - DENIS LAWSON

  • Kirsten Lindstrom -
    ALISON STEADMAN
  • Philip Durrant -
    RICHARD ARMITAGE
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  • Hester Argyle -
    STEPHANIE LEONIDAS

  • Mary Durrant -
    LISA STANSFIELD

  • Jacko Argyle - BURN GORMAN
  • Rachel Argyle - JANE SEYMOUR

This 2007 drama ensured that Richard fulfilled many an actor's "required remit" of appearing in at least one Miss Marple episode and he was joined by a wonderful ensemble cast for the adapation of one of Christie's favourite novels. This was the third series of Miss Marple filmed by ITV, starring Geraldine McEwan in the title role. Ordeal by Innocence was the third story out of a total of four in this series.

Some of the filming took place in Turville, Buckinghamshire, which is also the village used for all the outside locations for The Vicar of Dibley.

Agatha Christie's novel was published in 1958 and considered one of the best of her later works, also one of the author's favourites of her own novels. It was adapted into a film in 1985 starring Donald Sutherland and a stage play in 2007. This adaptation by ITV deviates in several ways from the novel. Source: wikipedia.



Synopsis (with spoilers)

Jacko Argyle, convicted of murdering his adoptive mother Rachel, was hanged while protesting his innocence. Jacko had a terrible row with his mother in her study just an hour and half before she was killed. He was in deep debt and faced the threat of violence from his debtors but despite his pleas, she had refused him any money and he threatened to kill her.

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Two years later, widowed Leo Argyle is engaged to his secretary Gwenda Vaughn. Gwenda invites her friend Miss Marple to the wedding at their home Sunny Point. During the evening of the family gathering, a young doctor named Arthur Calgary, who has returned from an Arctic expedition, provides an alibi for Jacko. He was with him at the time of the murder, having picked him up as a hitchhiker. The family must come to terms with the fact that suspicion falls upon each of them, and that one of them is the real murderer.

Arthur Calgary quickly realises that his news has reopened old wounds and the family are upset with him for interrupting their now happy lives. He mistakenly assumed that the family would be grateful without realising the implications that his news brings, but despite their recriminations he decides to prove the young man’s innocence with the assistance of Miss Marple.

Arthur visits the retired local doctor, Dr MacMaster, to ask him about Jacko. The doctor states that he was surprised when Jacko killed his mother, not believing him capable of such an act since he was too cowardly to do the deed himself.

Miss Marple discovers that not only were all of the Argyle children adopted, but that Rachel was not liked by any of them. Hester is on medication for emotional problems, Mary lives at Sunny Point with her resentful and money-hungry husband Philip and Bobby strives desperately to hold the family together. Meanwhile, Tina and Micky keep their distance. None of them miss having Rachel around and indeed the family functions better off without her, thereby ensuring that they all have a motive for her murder. None of them have a cast iron alibi either.

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However, the true killer becomes restless, striking once more. Of course, Miss Marple solves the case, and it is revealed that the murderer was indeed acting under the influence of Jacko Argyle.

 

 

Trailer

Courtesy of Yorkshirewench. Richard is speaking at the start of this trailer. Click the image to play/download.

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Article in Reveal Magazine 29 September 2007

Image credit: C19 forum

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GMTV interview with Lorraine Kelly 3rd October 2007

Richard was on Lorraine's show to promote Robin Hood series 2 but there is quite a bit of discussion about Miss Marple and the challenges of playing a character confined to a wheelchair.

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Screencaps from this interview are here

 

Useful Links

Ordeal by Innocence on IMDB

Ordeal by Innocence Screencap Gallery

PBS Ordeal by Innocence site

DVD links to Amazon and Play.com

Filming Location: Nether Winchendon House.