Ordeal by Innocence

GKCfanGKCfan Wisconsin, United States
Are any UK Christie fans watching Ordeal by Innocence on the BBC?  If so, what do you think?


  • Dr.SheppardDr.Sheppard Oxford, UK
    Based on the first of three episodes, it is evident that Sarah Phelps has taken her accustomed darker, sinister approach to the story interpretation. Arthur Calgary prepares to be trod on and suppressed by the Argyle family members as he is unsure what to do in his wish to save an innocent man. As Calgary's character develops so will the story and what else will Phelps have in store? I'm not sure how far the film has progressed with the novel. Chapter 3 matches, but chapter 4 introduces a lawyer and in 5 a Chief Constable. Chapter 4 also shows a very different side to Calgary, who has become a keen private investigator. All very interesting. 
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I thought it was so-so, It wasn't the worst thing I have ever seen, It is far from the best Adaptation of a Christie Book I have ever seen, I can't say the occasional swearing added anything to it, I hate Flash-backs, I like it mainly for Bill Nighy, I will watch the rest, If the whole thing was repeated when there was nothing on on the other side when I might watch it again as I might feel less negative after the other Episodes but I doubt it, Time will tell.
  • I wasn't impressed.  Sarah Phelps has taken the bare bones of the plot and written her own story.   Then the producers have put Christie's name on it to guarantee ratings.
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    The Occasional Swearing added nothing, The Flashbacks were inevitable but annoying and the Adaptation was understandably Dark as it is a Dark Book, It would be lovely if there was a way of telling the story in a light Adaptation, I don't understand why you said Sarah Phelps took the bare bones and wrote her own story, can you explain Miranda?
  • I felt that SP has completely changed the feel of the story.  The thing with AC is that she wrote fairly normal people in a situation where one of them is not what he or she seems.  And it is that undercurrent of dismay and suspicion that makes this one of  my favourites.  The Argylls are a family that have settled into a routine contentment after a tragic event that made sense to them.  And now, with the arrival of Arthur Calgary, nothing makes sense.  

    But SP has written all of the characters as damaged and with good reason to kill Rachel.  So that undercurrent has gone.  This is now a house full of victims and monsters and there's no subtlety of plot. 

    There's also no sense of the setting.  People of that class in the 1950s did not behave that way in public.  It just wasn't done.  So the only way we know when it is set is the dresses the women are wearing.  

    And it annoys me that Rachel is always portrayed as a monster in dramas.  In the book, she is arrogant. But she is also generous and loving.  And that is why it's tragic she is killed for the reason she is.  In the drama, she is such a horrible person you can't really blame anyone for batting her over the head.
  • I am not a fan of SP adaptations, I felt that they got away with And then there were none. I felt that when I sat down to watch Witness for the Prosecution I was disappointed that it was in the same style, and that I think it didn't deserve to be a two parter.

    Regarding Ordeal by Innocence I am mid way through the book and loving it. I am unsure whether to watch this new version. I have heard reports that they have changed the ending and murderer. It looks like style over substance, as it is now about more 'arty' shots than the characters and the plot. It has echos of the ITV Marple, when they changed the ending of The Body in the Library.

    There would be a time when I would sit down for every AC adaptation, especially when it was a Suchet Poirot and I absolutely love Joan Hickson as Marple, but I don't know whats happened with these recent adaptations, I accept that AC did write some plots which were dark such as ATTWN, but to carry that style on and say that 'this is AC' is wrong as AC was a Mistress of many different styles! 

    spoilers possible 
    'Outrage at BBC's decision to change Murderer'
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I disagree with you Miranda, The way I read the Book the Children are damaged and have reason to kill their Mother and I don't feel the mother has a redeeming quality, to the outside world she looks like a lady kind enough to house these poor children but she is doing it to make herself look good, I missed Witness for the Prosecution but after seeing a Programme on BBC2 presented by Giles Coren with the writer and Sophie Hannah, I actually felt a warmth to Sophie Hannah which was a shock and a disdain for SP
  • We'll have to agree to disagree.

    In the book, they certainly aren't damaged to the degree they are in the drama.  Mickey self-harms, Heather is a secret alcoholic, Tina has a death wish and Kirsten is shut down and depressed.  None of that is the book. And as for what she's done to Arthur Calgary.....
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I didn't say to the same degree but I think they are Damaged in the Book, I agree The Self-harming, The Alcoholism etc is not in the book, I didn't notice what has been done to Arthur, perhaps I was trying to remember which Man had an Actor Change, I know now.
  • Arthur has gone from being a scientist who has just returned from a Polar expedition to a man on the edge of a nervous breakdown.
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I missed that, thankyou.
  • No worries.  I won't be watching any more of it so will come back here to find out who she made the murderer!
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    That suggests you want people to ruin it for others who might be recording all the Episodes to watch at a later date together, that is fine as long as people put SPOILER ALERT first.
  • I just assumed that people would be discussing it, that's all.  
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I would think like you.
  • Tommy, I agree with you - while I didn't see the series (it doesn't show where I live) and I certianly won't be watching it after the comments here, the children in the book are certainly damaged - damaged by an omnipotent mother who always knows what is best for them, and therefore doesn't let them make their own choices and mistakes and built their own character. My favourite AC quote is from this book (I'm including a few following  sentences to make it clearer): "The thing she didn't give them and that they needed, was a little plain, honest-to-goodness neglect. They weren't just turned out into the garden to play like ordinary children in the country..... Their food wasn't plain, ordinary food. Why, those kids even had their vegetables sieved...  and their calories weighed and the vitamins computed!"  Except for Tina, every one of the surviving children has a grudge against Rachel, either for thwarting them in what they wanted to do, or for being right about them when they insisted on doing their own thing and failed. Even after her death they still carry their anger, and only after Calgary's bombshell makes them rethink the whole past, do some of them come to peace with the memory of Rachel. 
  • But my point was that Rachel in the book is not the monster that she is portrayed as in dramas.  Helicopter parents can be damaging but not usually to the extent of SP's drama.  And there was certainly no suggestion of sexual abuse in the book at all.
  • Heavens, no! What the hell has she done with the series? 
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    Read a thumb nail sketch of the story and re-written the story using the same Character names and key points
  • I think you're right, Tommy.  
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    If that is what happened it is insulting the viewers
  • So who did SP make the murderer?

  • Miranda said:
    So who did SP make the murderer?

    I was wondering the same thing myself. I bet it was Leo.

  • Ok I was enjoying the series until they changed the identity of the murderer. For those who want to know it was changed so that
    Leo killed Rachel so that she wouldn’t divorce him after finding out about his affair with Gwenda
    . And the ending was even more stupid. In my opinion It totally ruined the impact of the original story and killer. 
  • james2898james2898 England
    edited April 2018
    IMO it seems like they made Leo the killer just to give Bill Nighy something more interesting to do
  • Given the title of the story that made no sense at all!  Just your average sordid murder.  

    So what silly thing happened at the end?
  • All the children confront him because Kirsten reveals that when she was 15, Leo raped her and that Jack(o) was their child. Then you think that they've murdered him but actually they're keeping him captive in the bunker underneath the house (I kid you not) and that's where it ends
  •  :D    
  • What a load of old clobbers!    I've read on a TV forum that there were loosed ends left dangling all over the place.  Dame Agatha would never have stood for that!
  • Dr.SheppardDr.Sheppard Oxford, UK
    Miranda said:
    What a load of old clobbers!    I've read on a TV forum that there were loosed ends left dangling all over the place.  Dame Agatha would never have stood for that!
    The loose ends were at the end of episode 2 and all were resolved in the final episode.
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