Have Television adaptions encouraged more book reading ?

MarcWatson-GrayMarcWatson-Gray Dundee City, United Kingdom
Is there any evidence around to show that the Poirot/Marple television adaptations may have encouraged more people to read  the books ?
Or are there clear divisions of Book Readers/T.V.Watchers ?
I personally do both (Although book reading is my first love)and i find that having watched a television adaptation,i can't help (when reading the book version) picturing the character with the face of the T.V.character......For example...i always " see" Ariadne Oliver (In a book ) with Zoe Wanamaker's face !!!!!
Any thoughts ?


  • I so agree about Zoe Wanamaker. She is perfect for the role, and allows it to escape characature by giving the flamboyant, eccentric a stillness of inner being, and an intellectual rigour. However, I think I am right in saying that Zoe Wanamaker played Lettie Blacklock in a television dramatisation of A Murder is Announced, and inhabited the part, so perhaps, instead of my thinking that she has elements of Ariadne in her character, I should think that she is a very great actress who can mould herself to a range of parts.

     Could there be another Hastings? Surely nobody could do it better than the actor we are so used to. The same could be said of Miss Lemon. Casting is key. The Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice adaptation for tv with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth was so perfect because they seemed so much the characters. As for Julia Swahalia's Lydia in that adaptation - perfection.

  • Not in my case. I dislike most of the adaptions.
  • AnubisAnubis Ontario, Canada
    I like the adaptations, even if some of them are not completely faithful to the written text, because, for me, they often bring out new facets of the story that I hadn't thought of. For example, when I read a conversation in a book I tend not to think much beyond the actual meaning of the words. But a good actor can show whether the words are meant seriously, or facetiously, or ironically. And there is the opportunity for non-verbal communication, such as a lifted eyebrow, that might not be mentioned in the book. I also really enjoy the set decoration - the lavish interiors, the clothing, the old cars (by the way, has anyone else noticed that old blue taxi cab that seems to appear in every adaptation). I doubt the adaptations are made with the sole intention of increasing readership — alas, not as many people read books as they used to — but I think it would be one of the collateral results. There always seem to be new editions coming out at about the same time of the film versions.
  • MarcWatson-GrayMarcWatson-Gray Dundee City, United Kingdom
    All great comments......I also love some of that sayings of the time eg: "It won,t all be beer and skittles". "Make do and mend" and Hastings in the ABC Murders came into the room "At the fag** end of a conversation"
    i try to use some of them in my daily conversations......

    ** Fag is slang for cigarette in the U.K.
  • I like 'We can wash him/her out of it'. I've started using 'wash something out of it.'   I also like the formal, 'I had no idea of such a thing.' It's what Richard Symington says when Jerry says he has wanted, for some time, to marry Megan.' Characters in other of the novels have used it too.

    I think, mostly, the AC novels are so well-written that the direction as to how to screen them are there in the script. Occasionally, I think a director mis-reads a section - and this can put an unhelpful slant on our interpretation of the action. For instance,I remember,  the most recent (I believe) tv, screening of Death on the Nile, with David Suchet. Poirot says 'They realised they were still lovers' about SPOILER ALERT Jacqueline and Simon Doyle, suggesting that they had hated one another for a while, in the time that Simon proposed to Linnet, and that Jackie and Simon had then realised that they still had an unbreakable bond. In the book, Poirot actually says, 'Realise they are still lovers', in other words, to understand this crime, we need to realise that they have never stopped being a couple, the break up was just a pretence to allow Simon to marry Linnet, kill her, inherit, and marry Jackie. There is such a difference to understanding the planning of the crime, and Jackie's motivation, as she describes it. She never, ever thought that Simon did prefer Linnet. 

    But, on the other hand, dramatisation can enhance, in this case, what the dramatisation put in which was excellent was a scene at the end where we see the little attic flat of Jackie or Simon, snow flakes falling on the skylight, and the couple dancing, Jackie giddy with love, in the months before Linnet comes between them. You see the pathos of  Jackie's feelings,how love would have been enough for her, and why Poirot is sympathetic to his murderer, and lets her get out of life more easily.

  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
    I can see other people who would have been perfect as Hastings and we have discussed in the past although perhaps not recently Actresses who would also make Great Ariadne's but now we have seen Hugh Frazer and Zoe Wanemaker It would be odd to have others in the Rples on Television unless there was a new Poirot, It is far more likely for Poirot to make people want to watch the Books than it is for The ITV Episodes of Marple to make people read the books, If the aim was to encourage people watch the Christie Books It has surely backfired I would have thought because ITV put The Character in Adaptations she shouldn't be in, especially if you know from this site that Miss Marple doesn't appear in a particular Book, I suppose they might read an Agatha Christie Book and then see that it isn't as racy as the Adaptation and then be turned off from Reading them again   
  • tudestudes Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    I really don't know. They're very different. I mean, there are a lof of adaptions so far from the stories that if someone liked that TV adaptation and rush to the bookstore to buy the book, probably will be very disappointed.
  • I found that if I first read a book and then see the movie or T.V. adaptation I might like it or not - personally, I like the Joan Hickson MM's, but not the modern ones - and sometimes even like the changes in the story. However, if I first see the movie or T.V. series and then read the book, it is somehow flat - I expect what I saw on T.V., and miss the subtleties in the book that were not filmed, because I am limited by the movie - I can't imagine the characters and situations any differently than I saw them. So I prefer to read the book first. 
  • tudestudes Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    I agree with you, @taliavishay-arbel. You have a very good point.
     Besides, in my case (I watched The Mirror Crack'd first and years later I read the book), it totally spoiled the book, because I've already known the ending.
  • edited July 2016
    tudes said:
    I really don't know. They're very different. I mean, there are a lot of adaptions so far from the stories that if someone liked that TV adaptation and rush to the bookstore to buy the book, probably will be very disappointed.

    I remember reading a review on Amazon.com on A Murder Is Announced and one of the reviewers said: "Too long and quite boring. T V series much better."  This person was totally disappointed with the book. And I'm pretty sure when he/she referred to the TV series that person was talking about the ones with Geraldine McEwan. And it's sad actually because those films deviate so far from Agatha Christie's work. This reviewer who much prefer the TV series is missing the essence of Agatha Christie. The films miss this completely.
  • I would say that the answer is probably "yes", the filmed adaptations promote more reading of the books.  Not necessarily buying them but finding a copy somewhere out of interest after watching the program.  However, the majority of people who would be inspired to read the book after viewing the film would most likely be those who like to read in the first place, and I wouldn't say that an Agatha Christie adaptation would make readers out of the general public who aren't inclined in that way.  If a person likes to read mysteries and thrillers, for example, but thinks of Agatha Christie as "old hat" or irrelevant (as many of them do, unfortunately), the adaptations might help to change one's mind at least enough to give Christie a fair chance.  That is how my own introduction to her work began.
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