Death Comes as the End: BBC One orders new Agatha Christie drama
James R | On 31, Dec 2018
Agatha Christie and the BBC are teaming up again for another drama in 2019.
The crime author has been something of a goldmine for BBC One, which has been slowly adapting a number of novels for the screen to huge success. Starting with And Then There Were None, books including Ordeal By Innocence and The Witness for the Prosecution have been adapted by Sarah Phelps. Her latest adaptation was The ABC Murders, starring John Malkovich as Hercule Poirot, which aired this Christmas. That was already known to be the latest in an ongoing run of six adaptations from Agatha Christie Limited and Mammoth Screen. Now, the BBC has confirmed that the next will air in 2019 – and that it will mark a major departure from the previous dramas.
That is partly because it is Christie’s only novel to be set outside of the 20th century. Instead unfolding in ancient Egypt, Death Comes at the End takes place in Thebes in 2,000 BC and features non-European characters – a notable change of pace and cast from the current slew of dramas.
Expected to be a three-part series, it will also mark a notable change behind the camera, with Phelps not tapped to write the script. Instead, RadioTimes reports it will be penned by Vanity Fair screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes.
A BBC source told the publication that it “will be a very different proposition from the recent BBC Agatha Christie adaptations”, adding that “transmission for this is to be confirmed and Gwyneth has always been the writer attached to this title”.
That, however, doesn’t mean that Phelps, who is currently adapting Dublin Murders for BBC One, will be bidding farewell to Agatha.
“Mammoth Screen is currently in discussion with Sarah about her next 20th century-set title that she will tackle,” said the source.
The ABC Murders, meanwhile, is still available on BBC iPlayer until February 2019.
“A shrewdly judged, impressively mounted story of an identity slowly being reclaimed. Phelps and the BBC have done it again,” we wrote in our review.