The family of Agatha Christie embraces diversity in the BBC’s latest adaptation.
The great-grandson of Agatha Christie has proposed that she would have supported the BBC’s decision to alter the protagonist’s ethnic background from white to Nigerian in the TV adaptation of Murder Is Easy.
The BBC’s latest Christmas Christie adaptation has chosen David Jonsson to play the lead role of Luke Fitzwilliam. Fitzwilliam is a ambitious young man working in Whitehall who becomes intrigued by a strange encounter and decides to delve into a murder case in a quaint English village.
When the Radio Times asked James Prichard, 53, what Christie would have thought about making Fitzwilliam’s background Nigerian, he replied, “I never try to predict what my great-grandmother would have thought – that would be crazy. I believe that the first few adaptations of her plays were done by others and she didn’t approve of them because she felt they weren’t bold enough for the new medium.”
“She acknowledged the need to alter the narrative when switching mediums. While this allows for some creative leeway, I believe these are adaptations rather than direct translations. It’s important to consider the context and perspective of the story, 90 years after its initial creation.”
The story remains the focus, and it contains an essential element of Christie’s style. It is easily recognizable in Murder Is Easy.
Publishers have employed sensitivity readers for Christie’s novels to eliminate offensive language regarding gender and race in order to maintain their relevance for contemporary readers. In the month of March, updated versions of various novels were released after undergoing editing to omit potentially offensive language, such as insults and references to ethnicity.
According to Prichard, Christie’s work is now on the rise once again, after experiencing a decline for most of his life.
Referring to the BBC’s choice to have a yearly Christmas showing of Agatha Christie’s work, including Sarah Phelps’s 2015 adaptation of And Then There Were None and Kenneth Branagh’s Poirot movies, as well as this year’s A Haunting in Venice, the speaker mentioned that they may have avoided it in the past due to Christie’s lack of popularity.
In my lifetime, she has never been as widely respected and taken seriously as she is now. Not only are her book sales staying steady, but they are also increasing. Her stage performances are also thriving. It’s remarkable how she continues to maintain her popularity and high demand.
Many individuals who used to secretly enjoy reading Agatha Christie’s works are now openly embracing their love for her writing. Even popular actors like Hugh Laurie, John Malkovich, and Kenneth Branagh are eager to be a part of her adaptations. Christie’s talent for storytelling is now being recognized and respected by more people.
Prichard recalls his great-grandmother as a “humble and uncomplicated elderly woman” and has faint recollections of their interactions until her passing in 1976, when he was six years old. “I returned home from school and learned that she was the main story on the news. That’s when I understood that she was truly remarkable.”