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on 3 January 2014
Marple Series 6 is a triple treat of murder, mayhem and mystery.

The first episode is 'A Caribbean Mystery' the only full length Marple novel left to dramatise. When Major Palgrave dies suddenly after appearing to recognise a murderer in an old faded photograph, Miss Marple has to join forces with the wheel-chair bound Mr Rafiel to foil the murderer. At the start, the mood of the piece is colourful and exotic, with elements of voodoo, but the holiday-makers soon discover they're on the vacation from hell, as the body count mounts rapidly, and tropical storms add to the frenzied, lurid atmosphere.

(Christie anoraks - like myself - will no doubt spot the omission here, caused by filming the Marple novels out of sequence. This should be the story where Rafiel memorably christens Jane Marple 'Nemesis', the name revisited in a much later novel, in which Rafiel commissions Miss Marple from beyond the grave - and already filmed in Agatha Christie's Marple Series 3 [DVD] [2007] (Towards Zero / Nemesis / Ordeal by Innocence / At Bertram's Hotel). I suspect there was a nod to this with a burst of Latin from Rafiel right at the end.)

The cast of familiar faces includes Warren Brown, Myanna Buring, Oliver Ford Davis, Monserrat Lombard, Hermione Norris, Alistair McKenzie and Robert Webb. The screenplay is by Charlie Higson. He has given the tale some quirky touches all of his own, but nothing that detracts from the essential plot. However I did feel that the part of the murderer was miscast/poorly acted.

The second episode is 'Greenshaw's Folly'. It is loosely based on a short story from the collection [Miss Marple's Final Cases] [by: Agatha Christie] with a smattering of 'The Thumb Mark of St Peter' from The Thirteen Problems (Miss Marple). The story begins with Mrs Oxley (Kimberley Nixon) and her young son Archie taking refuge in the rambling old home of Katherine Greenshaw (Fiona Shaw). The cast also includes Joanna David, Martin Compston, Robert Glenister, Jim Moir (Vic Reeves) and Julia Sawalha. The mood is dark and gothic; the story has a strong emotional pull, and I enjoyed it enormously. It is a difficult tale to pull off (television being largely a visual medium) but I think they just about get away with it. My only quibble would be at how neatly the various strands of the plot resolve themselves. There is almost too much plot!

But best of all is the final: Endless Night. Endless Night is a Marple-free novel, but her inclusion here is less of a cheek than it first appears, since the basic story is also recounted in 'The Case of the Caretaker' from [Miss Marple's Final Cases] [by: Agatha Christie]. As a result this is not a traditional Marple story (which might disappoint some viewers). The focus is less on detective work (interviewing the various suspects etc.) and more on the core characters, and the dynamic of the storyline. The screenwriter Kevin Elyot wisely keeps the novel's first-person narrative as Michael Rogers begins in voice-over to recount the tale of his doomed marriage to heiress Ellie Goodman. The mood is sombre and fatalistic. The colour palette is overwhelmingly grey and brown, with just the occasional splash of colour from Ellie herself. I particularly enjoyed seeing The Paradise's Joanna Vanderham and Borgen's Birgitte Hjort Sorenson in two such different roles as Ellie and Greta. The cast also includes Tom Hughes (as Michael), Wendy Craig, Tamzin Outhwaite, Glynis Barber, and this episode's mandatory comedian is Hugh Dennis.

Overall this is a strong and satisfying collection. If I had to complain ... and why not? ... it would only be to observe that (as advertised above) there are a mere three stories in this set, and not the usual four. Of course without falling back on the short stories, they have run out of Marple novels, and there are only a handful of non-Poirot stories left for her to appear in, mostly those belonging to Tuppence and Tommy Beresford and the occasional thriller such as 'Passenger to Frankfurt, 'They Came To Baghdad' and 'Destination Unknown'. My best bet would be 'Crooked House'. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Jane Marple should turn out to be an old friend of the Leonides family ...
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on 9 January 2014
Greenshaw's Folly is the best story of this series. A classic Agatha Christie tale with a shocking twist at the end. Julia McKenzie on top form as Miss Marple with a brilliant supporting cast. I absolutely loved this interpretation.

Joan Hickson made the definitive "A Carribean Mystery" but this version was really rather good and I enjoyed the lovely setting and detailed attention given to the sets and the costumes. It is "out of sequence" but does complete the Miss Marple collection and I'm pleased it was included. I loved the "James Bond" joke, very well done indeed, I certainly didn't see it coming! The whole cast were excellent and obviously enjoyed playing their roles. Well done ITV.

Endless Night is the weakest of the three stories. Wendy Craig played the Major's widow superbly well and Julia McKenzie did the best she could with her script but the whole story just wasn't up to the high standard I have come to expect from ITV. Ellie and Mike could have been much much better. Ellie's American accent kept slipping, Mike was too nasty from the off; he's supposed to be a real charmer, sweeping Ellie off her feet for goodness sake! The rest of the supporting cast were lacklustre; the gypsy wasn't scary enough, Mike's friend was just managing to play his part and the doctor was a poor shadow somewhere lurking around. As for Greta and that house words fail me! The book is so much better and very dark and menacing indeed, it really does portray the evil soul of the killer and is a true macabre thriller. ITV did not do justice to Agatha Christie's legacy with this interpretation.

There are no extra's on the DVD, which is disappointing. A "behind the scenes" for the Carribean would have been lovely!

It looks as if this will be the last Marple DVD unless ITV put her into other stories. There are certainly books which have not been filmed where Marple could play a part. ITV did a nice job with "Why didn't they ask Evans?" with Julia McKenzie so the potential is there. However, as this DVD only includes 3 stories I'm guessing that either ITV have called time on Marple or Julia McKenzie has completed her contract and doesn't wish to take the role further. I will though live in hope that Marple may continue or be once again totally revamped! I can watch the Marple stories many times, they are Christie classics.
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on 26 April 2015
I love Agatha Christie's romans and I think Miss Marple's series are excellent. There is subtitle option so it's perfect for me who is French and sound & image are very good. The negative point is there are only 3 episodes.
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on 15 December 2013
No info on this product yet but I imagine that two of the films on this set are 'A Caribbean mystery' and 'Greenshaw's folly' since they have both been screened fairly recently on ITV. There is a third title (Endless night) which has not been screened yet but is very likely to be included in this Miss Marple set (series 6).
The two titles screened to date are excellent in every detail as they always are, and I am looking forward to owning this set very soon to add to my collection. The Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot TV adaptions are brilliant - and of course no ads in the dvd's ! I look forward to more Miss Marple adaptions over the coming years - no more Poirot to look forward to unfortunately but I am so glad for David Suchet that he was allowed to complete the entire set of Poirot stories. I don't think giving the role to another actor would be acceptable for many years to come. I wonder how long Julia Mackenzie can carry on with her good work as Miss Marple ?
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 March 2014
Highly enjoyable mixed bag of episodes with some definitely better than others. Still the production values and acting are all excellent even if some of the scripts needed greater work. Enjoyable undemanding entertainment.
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There will always be an argument over who plays the best Marple. I particularly liked Joan Hickson but Julia McKenzie comes a very close second.
I don't normally comment on whether a TV programme follows a book story faithfully. However, I just want to say that any acted performance of a book is an interpretation of the original. It is hard to follow a book precisely as, in a book, many paragraphs can be written about how a person is feeling/thinking at a particular point in time, whereas, in a play/film/TV story, it can be covered in 2 seconds with a 'raising of an eyebrow' moment.

OK I've had my rant. Any lover of Marple or Christie in general, will get a lot of enjoyment from this series.

Can't wait for series 7
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on 11 February 2014
I do love miss marple but has anyone notice but that the music is different on the dvd from the TV showing and that the scene where miss marple is having her knee looked at the scene where the dyson's walk on and order their drinks that parts of that scene seem to be missing instead you see them sat at the table with their drinks are already on the table and he does not take a photo of miss marple's knee it is a shame because it does spoil the show I sent the first one back but the second one is the same so I have ask for a refund don't know if is this is a mistake when it was made or if they have change the dvd version.
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on 20 February 2014
I consider the late Joan Hickson to have been the definitive Ms Marple and, while Geraldine McEwan is a most accomplished actress, she was not suited to the role of Jane Marple but Julia McKenzie is a most worthy successor to Joan Hickson.

In terms of sheer escapism I enjoyed the latest series of Agatha Christie's Marple and even though the stories tend towards the far-fetched, the series appears to attract some very fine actors which added to my appreciation of the DVD. Two of the episodes are based on full-length Agatha Christie books while Greenshaw's Folly is based on a short story. In fact, the novel Endless Night did not feature Ms Marple.

The DVD comprises 3 episodes:

A Caribbean Mystery
Ms Marple is staying in a hotel in the Caribbean courtesy of her nephew Raymond when a fellow guest dies apparently of a heart attack. Ms Marple refuses to believe Major Palgrave died of natural causes and sets about investigating his death,

Greenshaw's Folly
The spinster detective helps a young mother and her son by finding them refuge in a country house Greenshaw's Folly, However murder most foul soon occurs and Ms Marple steps in to solve the mystery,

Endless Night
Newlyweds Mike and Ellie decide to build their dream home on a local beauty spot called Gypsy's Acre despite warnings from local gypsy Mrs Lee that the land is cursed. The house is built and when Mike and Ellie are installed tragedy strikes, Enter Ms Marple...

I must say I failed to warm to Mike and Ellie's "Dream House" which appeared to me a bit of an eyesore!
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on 24 May 2014
Masterpiece Mystery (PBS) has just announced that it will air the three episodes of Agatha Christie's Marple - Season 6 on Sundays beginning in September 2014. (The season was available for UK television viewers in January 2014). Season 6 may be the final season of Marple on Mystery. After the season aired in the UK, BBC announced they had acquired the rights for the production of Agatha Christie adaptations, suggesting that ITV/WGBH would be unable to make a seventh installment. The three episodes starring the robust and spirited Julia McKenzie as the spinster sleuth are as follows:

First up is an adaptation of the only full-length remaining Marple novel of twelve for Mystery, A CARIBBEAN MYSTERY (1964) filmed in Cape Town, South Africa, with beach scenes shot at Boulders Beach, a sheltered area known for its African penguins. Supporting cast includes Antony Sher as Jason Rafiel, Oliver Ford Davies as Major Palgrave, and Robert Webb and Charity Wakefield as the owners of the hotel. As the Christie plot goes, Miss Marple has suffered a bout of ill health and has been afforded a vacation in a warmer climate by her favorite nephew. Bored and longing for something exciting to happen, she listens to another guest, a retired detective, tell a rather unusual story about a man who got away with murder more than once. Before a photo of the man can be fished from his wallet, he suddenly stops and changes the subject abruptly. The next day, when one of the maids finds the detective dead in his room, Miss Marple stops her knitting, suspects murder, and interviews the British owners of the hotel and the other guests, including tycoon Jason Rafiel, who has a weak heart and is confined to a wheelchair; Jackson, his nurse/valet; and Esther, his secretary.

A CARIBBEAN MYSTERY has been adapted for television two other times. In 1983 for American viewers with a screenplay written by Sue Grafton, Helen Hayes was Miss Marple and Barnard Hughes was Mr Rafiel. A BBC TV adaptation in 1989 starred Joan Hickson as part of the series Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, with Donald Pleasence co-starring as Mr Rafiel. Both Hayes and Hickson wore the traditional elderly spinster costumes of the times including headwear.

The second episode is "Greenshaw's Folly," the last short story of six in THE ADVENTURE OF THE CHRISTMAS PUDDING..., a collection first published in the UK by the Collins Crime Club in October of 1960. The Folly is a large English estate that was built in the 1860s or 1870s by an eccentric botanist who had an immense fortune but little idea of architectural style. Christie's essential story is maintained with some embellishments from characters from an earlier story, "The Thumb Mark of St. Peter." Miss Marple sends an old family friend and her son for refuge from an abusive husband to the labyrinthe estate for care and employment by the elderly Miss Katherine Greenshaw, the last surviving Greenshaw. Miss Marple uncovers the past and present secrets of the estate and its owners and finds a murderer.

And finally in episode three is a dramatization of Christie's ENDLESS NIGHT, a tale that was published as a novel in 1967 and was one of her favorite stories of psychological suspense. Again, the setting is an English estate, a modern dream house built for a young penniless man by his wealthy American wife. Told by the young fellow in first person narrative, ENDLESS contains a most clever plot device that occurs in only one other of Christie's tales. Miss Marple is nowhere to be found in the pages. (Dame Agatha will no doubt roll over in her grave every time this episode is shown.) You may wish to prepare for this episode by reading the original novel and considering a viewing of ENDLESS NIGHT, a 1972 full-length film starring Hywel Bennett, Hayley Mills, Britt Ekland, and George Sanders (in his last role).

You may have noticed that all three of this season's episodes were adapted from novels and a story first published in the 1960s--tales written when Christie was in her seventies. Directors and screenwriters have been playing with images of Miss Marple and distorting the plots since British stage actress Gracie Fields was the first Miss Marple in NBC's Goodyear Theater's 1956 production of A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED. There can be some comparison in this latest portrayal to an early one: Julia McKenzie has the same stature as the quirky 70 year-old Margaret Rutherford who wore her own clothing in the role. Rutherford also had her husband inserted as a reoccurring character "Mr. Springer" in all four of her comedic performances beginning with MURDER SHE SAID in 1961. Rutherford's films, of course, bore little resemblance to the Christie novels.

If Joan Hickson is your ideal Miss Marple, rest assured that you are in good company. Dame Agatha herself was very vocal in her disapproval of several of the early depictions of her beloved character. She had written her in the stories as a prim and birdlike elderly woman in tweed suit, hat and sensible shoes: a perfect description of Joan Hickson. (Christie once remarked "Someday I would like you to play my Miss Marple" to a young Joan Hickson who played a bit part in Rutherford's MURDER SHE SAID.) Hickson can be seen in all twelve of the Miss Marple novels in BBC's multi-disk release in 2012 The Miss Marple Collection.

Who is my favorite Miss Marple? The grand dame of American theater, Helen Hayes. Hayes appeared in two film adaptations in the early 1980s when she herself was in her early eighties. I still remember her performance in A CARIBBEAN MYSTERY. My goodness, that was thirty years ago!
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on 26 May 2014
Arrived in good packaging & on time. This is an Excellent series, with contrasting, unusual stories & settings. I liked the setting of 'The Holmwood' - a National Trust Property - but cleverly there were some re-configurations of the property, in order to fit in with the story line & what was happening when & where!! Would definitely recommend.
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