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The BBC has ordered a two-part adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic short story The Witness for the Prosecution.
The project from Sarah Phelps (And Then There Were None, The Casual Vacancy) will be directed by Julian Jarrold (The Crown, The Girl) and co-produced by Mammoth Screen (Poldark, And Then there Were None, Parade’s End) and Agatha Christie Productions.
Following the success of last year’s three-part thriller And Then There Were None, the U.K. public broadcaster’s flagship BBC One has ordered the adaptation of the 1925 story, which Billy Wilder made into a 1957 film. In the U.S., the show will be available on streaming service Acorn TV that focuses on British content and that is part of RLJ Entertainment, which owns a 64 percent stake in the Agatha Christie Limited estate.
Set in the 1920s, the story focuses on a brutal murder at a London townhouse. “The victim is the glamorous and enormously rich Emily French,” details the BBC plot description. “All the evidence points to Leonard Vole, a young chancer to whom the heiress left her vast fortune and who ruthlessly took her life. At least, this is the story that Emily’s dedicated housekeeper Janet Mackenzie stands by in court. Leonard however, is adamant that his partner, the enigmatic chorus girl Romaine, can prove his innocence.”
“With And Then There Were None, we reminded viewers just how brilliant Agatha Christie’s plotting is and just how modern her stories could be,” said Hilary Strong, CEO of Agatha Christie Limited and executive producer. “We are delighted to be working with Mammoth Screen and Sarah Phelps again to deliver another iconic title for the BBC and our international co-production partners Acorn Media Enterprises and A+E Studios.”
Mammoth Screen executive producer Karen Thrussell added: “And Then There Were None made a huge impact last year, garnering great reviews and audiences of over 8 million. We’re thrilled to be reunited with Sarah Phelps as she takes on another iconic title, an incendiary courtroom drama that will keep you guessing right to the very end. The source material is so strong, and we hope the end result will be every bit as striking as And Then There Were None.”
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