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The healthy flow of Agatha Christie adaptations doesn’t appear to be drying up anytime soon.
The Pale Horse will be the next story from the legendary author given the TV treatment by the BBC and Amazon, following last year’s Ordeal by Innocence and The ABC Murders (starring John Malkovich as the famed Belgian detective Hercule Poirot). In 2017, Amazon signed a multiyear deal with Agatha Christie Limited, which manages the literary and media rights to the late English crime novelist’s works.
The latest project is again being produced by U.K. banner Mammoth Screen, (Ordeal by Innocence, Poldark, Victoria), with the BAFTA-nominated writer Sarah Phelps (Ordeal by Innocence, The ABC Murders, Witness for the Prosecution) returning to adapt.
“The Pale Horse was one of the later novels penned by my great grandmother, written as it was in the 1960s,” James Pritchard, executive producer and CEO of Agatha Christie Limited, said Tuesday in a statement. “This new drama allows writer Sarah Phelps to continue her exploration of the 20th century through Christie’s stories, with the book’s fantastic, foreboding atmosphere completely suited to Sarah’s unique style of adaptation.”
When a mysterious list of names is found in the shoe of a dead woman, one of those named, Mark Easterbrook, begins an investigation into how and why his name came to be there. He is drawn to the Pale Horse, the home of a trio of rumored witches in the tiny village of Much Deeping. Word has it that the witches can do away with wealthy relatives using the dark arts alone, but as the bodies mount up, Mark is certain there has to be a rational explanation. And who could possibly want him dead??
“Written in 1961, against the backdrop of the Eichmann Trial, the escalation of the Cold War and Vietnam, The Pale Horse is a shivery, paranoid story about superstition, love gone wrong, guilt and grief,” said Phelps. “It’s about what we’re capable of when we’re desperate and what we believe when all the lights go out and we’re alone in the dark.”
Added Mammoth Screen executive producer Helen Ziegler: “Sarah Phelps has crafted an extraordinary adaptation of Agatha Christie’s celebrated 1960s novel The Pale Horse, where the rational world and dark supernatural forces seem to collide. Asking the question, ‘How far would you go to protect your own happiness?’ It’s a tale of guilt, terror and witchcraft which we hope will delight and terrify viewers in equal measure!”
The two-part effort will be directed by Leonora Lonsdale (Beast) and produced by Ado Yoshizaki Cassuto (City of Tiny Lights) and is a Mammoth Screen and Agatha Christie Limited drama for BBC One. Executive producers are Phelps, Ziegler and Timmer for Mammoth Screen, Prichard and Basi Akpabio for Agatha Christie Limited and Tommy Bulfin for BBC.
Amazon Prime Video is the U.S. co-production partner on The Pale Horse, and Endeavor Content will handle sales in all territories internationally.
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