The BBC have made a new mini-series, Partners in Crime, out of the Tommy and Tuppence series by Agatha Christie. I have read before that these were Christie’s favourite sleuths to write – and I love them too! Their pluck, banter, relationship and sense of fun make their adventures a delight to read. But apparently, they’ve never quite worked.
She only write five books about them, spanning their lives from early twenties to old age. And I’ve seen a few attempts to pull them into ever-popular TV adaptations but again, it’s never quite worked. There’s an innocence, playfulness and warmth about them that has never translated to screen, and apparently people find it’s presence in the books cheesy and saccharine.
As for this series? Well. They’ve made the decision to pull all the adventures into one age bracket; they are mid to late thirties or early forties, and set them in a different time period. They’ve made Tommy a far more reluctant spy, and taken a time in their life where their marriage isn’t exactly prospering. All of which, I think, are fair choices. They have to make the series work, and the results are a pacy, well produced, watchable show.
But Tommy and Tuppence? Still not right. They’ve become so helpless here that I find myself agreeing with the characters who tell them to stop spying. You’re terrible at it. Go and get a real job. And they’re not even very likeable; Tommy is a bumbling idiot (I always imagined him a fairly dapper, fairly clever man accustomed to underestimating his own wife) and Tuppence is spiky and obtuse. There is no real warmth, or particular skill.
I’ll keep watching, because it’s a fairly good show by it’s own merit. But I’m still waiting for my (and Christie’s) favourite Beresfords to be portrayed well!
Perhaps I’m a snob? I didn’t much like the new Poirot either…