Monday, 2 January 2017

"Contains some strong language and some sexual content"

An Agatha Christie character shows off her pussy on BBC One

There are quite a few very Agatha Christie fans in my family (and not only the older members), so any adaptation gets watched. BBC One's latest version of The Witness For The Prosecution didn't get good reviews from them. It was far too dimly-lit for starters and it just didn't feel like Agatha Christie, they said. 

His review is a brilliant piece of writing - so much so that I'm going to copy and paste it all for once:
Indulgent BBC has its history wrong, again
Agatha Christie’s Witness For The Prosecution was a successful play before becoming a classic film of the 1950s.
It’s not a work of genius, but it is a good courtroom drama with a surprise at the end. How could the BBC possibly have made such a mess of it, as it did in its TV version last week?
The answer is simple. The BBC cannot leave the past alone, but does not understand that it was really different from the present.
It thinks that if it shows enough characters smoking, and shoots everything in a sort of gravy-stained dingy light, it has recreated the 1920s.
I think I counted seven people lighting up cigarettes in the first two minutes. After that, I stopped counting in case I got cancer.
I also spotted characters, plainly supposed to be reporters, smoking in court during an Old Bailey trial, which in the real 1920s would have earned them a spell in the cells for contempt of court.
Having done this, it made most of the characters (including a cat) behave and speak as if they were appearing in EastEnders.
A knighted barrister unhesitatingly used the f-word. The police were shown as thugs who arrested a suspect by bursting in on him without a warrant and beating him with truncheons, even though he was asleep in bed. Nobody seemed to know the law of England.
Lawyers blatantly and unlawfully coached witnesses. The only Christian (of course) was a plain, sour, repressed lesbian with a secret passion for her mistress, who was then wrongfully hanged.
A cat was lingeringly shown licking up its dead owner’s blood. A character who had been gassed in the war was shown coughing up yet more blood. No doubt this is all much more modern and ‘truthful’ than the 1957 film version.
But it is also much worse, and the portentous music and pretentious camera work only underline that.
The BBC licence fee is not collected under the threat of imprisonment to allow people to indulge themselves in this way.
Naturally, I didn't watch it.


  1. Excellent! Peter Hichens might have added that, on at least two occasions, characters addressed the senior police officer as just 'Detective' - something that we British have never done. The British plod is proud of his rank and guards it jealously because he has had to pass exams in order to reach it; so detectives may be DC, DS, DI, DCI, D Supt or DCS but assuredly not just 'DETECTIVE'! Why do the BBC 's scriptwriters so often get it wrong? There are, I think, two possible explanations, the first of which is that the children who write for the BBC are lacking in both powers of observation and general knowledge. The latter explains how the lawyer, whose lungs had been turned into paper doilies by mustard gas, managed to make a full recovery from the terminal cough which became 'a bout of bronchitis.' The other reason is that the BBC wants to sell the programme to the States & so is trying to make it 'American-friendly' ie similar to American detective programmes. Do the idiots not realize that the attraction of ITV's 'Inspector Morse' was precisely that it was 'SO-O BRIDISH'(sic)? I'm hoping that, once Saint Barack is out ofthe White House, the BBC will revert to its default position of being anti-American - this would work wonders for the (British) English language as the Corporation's minions could revert to the correct pronunciation of hurricane, leverage, schedule, schism etc. STOP PRESS: While I was writing this, with one eye on the News Channel, a reporter informed us that somebody had been in 'the BATHROOM' when the Istanbul massacre began; please BBC, call it the lavatory, or, if you must, 'the toilet', the bog, the khasi or the crapper, but DON'T resort to limp transatlantic euphemisms like 'the bathroom'!
    PS for Craig, liked the flaunted pussy caption - the Donald would be proud of you!

  2. RJ's comment on BBCbiased seems worthwhile repeating here " Witness was a sick joke, riddled with barely concealed messages and designed to nudge our thinking in the “correct” direction " .

  3. I still haven't forgiven the BBC for turning War and Peace into Downton Abbey.