Kim Cattrall has a date with death in The Witness for the Prosecution

by Fiona Rae / 24 November, 2017
RelatedArticlesModule - Witness for the Prosecution

The Witness for the Prosecution.

A glamorous socialite looking for love post-war comes to grief in an Agatha Christie short-story adaptation.

Kim Cattrall puts all her Sex and the City powers of seduction into the latest BBC Agatha Christie adaptation to reach our shores, The Witness for the Prosecution (Prime, Sunday, 8.30pm).

Cattrall plays Emily French, a glamorous socialite in post-WWI England, when being a free spirit was not the done thing. Unfortunately, her adventures turn to tragedy after she meets lovely young Leonard Vole (Billy Howle).

Writer Sarah Phelps, who successfully adapted And Then There Were None, has taken a short Christie story and expanded on it, fleshing out the characters of lawyer John Mayhew (Toby Jones) and Leonard’s girlfriend, Romaine (Andrea Riseborough), among others.

It’s a much darker Christie, Jones told UK website Metro. “I think it’s darker than any Christie that’s ever been done. There is no reassuring sense that justice will be restored.”

Phelps and director Julian Jarrold have infused the two-parter with the trauma of the war.

Cattrall’s character is a feminist in a world that is changing, although not fast enough. “Her world has begun to suffocate her and she dreams of having a beautiful romance with someone different to her. She goes out at night hoping to find exciting partners and new friendships,” says Cattrall.

“A whole generation of men were lost, so it’s hard to find a man anyway, and when she meets this gorgeous, vulnerable young man, he is different from anyone around her, and her interest is piqued.

“This is not simply about an older woman preying on a younger man, it’s more than just her gratification; she wants an adventure.”

The original short story is only about 20 pages long, and Phelps says on the BBC website that when she read it, she thought “it felt like the most perfect film noir for 1920s London”.

She believes there’s a universality to Christie’s stories, which continue to be adapted, because they are very much about their time. “They’re not trying to be specifically historical, but they are. They are specifically about the pressures of a particular time that might lead somebody to commit a murder.”

They also work for television because they are “twisted and great”, she says. “I came late to Agatha Christie, but I think that works in my favour because I’m shocked by it. I am acutely aware of the danger, the really unnerving, unsettling qualities. It makes me want to push it that little bit harder, because I think that’s what she wants.”

This article was first published in the November 25, 2017 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

Latest

Labour MP Meka Whaitiri stripped of ministerial portfolios
96626 2018-09-20 15:50:21Z Politics

Labour MP Meka Whaitiri stripped of ministerial po…

by Jo Moir

Labour MP Meka Whaitiri has been stripped of her ministerial portfolios but remains an MP.

Read more
Is the Government all talk, no action?
96616 2018-09-20 14:22:42Z Politics

Is the Government all talk, no action?

by The Listener

The Ardern Administration knows that consultation and risk-assessment are vital, but there’s such a thing as too much homework.

Read more
Fixing youth mental health is going to take more than money
96608 2018-09-20 12:38:53Z Social issues

Fixing youth mental health is going to take more t…

by Aaron Hendry

You can throw money at the system all you want, but until our youth mental health services are designed to put rangatahi at the centre, they'll fail.

Read more
A new look Mint Cakery brings sweet treats to Ellerslie
96602 2018-09-20 11:38:14Z Auckland Eats

A new look Mint Cakery brings sweet treats to Elle…

by Alex Blackwood

Mint Cakery gets bigger and better, moving from Pt Chev to a sunny space in Ellerslie.

Read more
Golfer Bryson DeChambeau's scientific quest for a consistent swing
96600 2018-09-20 11:33:10Z Sport

Golfer Bryson DeChambeau's scientific quest for a …

by Paul Thomas

Bryson DeChambeau has put himself in the top spot for the FedEx Cup finale at East Lake with a single-minded drive to simplify the game.

Read more
Housing NZ to reimburse hundreds evicted on flawed meth testing
96594 2018-09-20 10:03:55Z Politics

Housing NZ to reimburse hundreds evicted on flawed…

by Jo Moir

Housing NZ has committed to compensating hundreds of tenants it evicted from state homes based on bogus meth testing, some of whom were made homeless.

Read more
Shortland Street is turning into a metaphor for the Trump White House
96588 2018-09-20 09:27:11Z Television

Shortland Street is turning into a metaphor for th…

by Diana Wichtel

An extra night of Shortland Street won’t change the psycho storylines or the mad characters who act without consequence.

Read more
Why GE grass will be the next divisive issue for the coalition Government
96475 2018-09-20 00:00:00Z Politics

Why GE grass will be the next divisive issue for t…

by Jane Clifton

As the Government gropes all over in reports and reviews for answers, it looks like GE grass may not be one.

Read more