8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Brillant adaption for the wrong reasons,
This review is from: Agatha Christie : Marple - Murder At The Vicarage [DVD] (DVD)
This 2004 adaption of the classic Agatha Christie is well up to the mark, but I can't help feeling if the 1986 Joan Hickson version was far better, because Stephen Churchett's adaption seems to lose all of its gloss, as with TR Bowen's adaption which was in my opinion, well-researched, and closer to Christie's book.
Geraldine McEwan is excellent as Marple, and the only other notable exceptions are Robert Powell as Dr Haydock, and Stephen Tomkinson as DI Slack.
The other parts are somewhat miscast : Tim McInnery, and Rachel Stirling as the Reverend, and Mrs Clement (the late Paul Eddington, and the wonderful Cheryl Campbell were more suitably cast in the 1986 BBC adaption) . Jane Asher as an unmemorable Mrs Lestrange playing the character somewhat unpleasant making Norma West's original portrayal of the character far more believable, and understandable to viewers which is sadly lacking in Churchett's screenplay.
There are so many incosistencies in the screenplay including Mrs Lestrange's plight with the ITV Version potraying the characters as unsympathetically as possible making the BBC Version compulsive viewing. Although 20 years apart, ITV should have learnt valuable lessons fromm the BBC in adapting the Marple books. The 2nd series of Marple is a marked improvement compared to the first.
So what went wrong? A number of things, mainly relating to the screenplay which should have been researched better, but this is to judge it too harshly, it still brilliant to watch, and Geraldine McEwan is the best thing in it.