I’ve always been an Agatha Christie enthusiast. I grew up reading and watching her whodunnits from a young age.
So when I heard there was a new adaptation of her 1934 novel Why Didn’t They Ask Evans, being streamed on Britbox, I immediately signed up for my free trial.
Like many Agatha Christie nuts, I greet a new adaptation with excitement but also slight trepidation.
This is with the temptation in recent years to modernise the stories – just see that oddly gritty 2018 version of the ABC Murders.
Though why Kenneth Branagh in his latest film adaptations of Poroit decides to wear what can only be described as an enormously fat dead rat as his moustache is beyond me.
But in this latest adaptation, Hugh Laurie, the director, proved that the original story can speak for itself. We don’t need grittier, edgier or contemporary storylines added – just a good old romp in the countryside.
It starts with Bobby Jones (Will Poulter), a vicar’s son and former naval officer finding a dying man at the bottom of a cliff.
In his last breath, he asks the question – “Why didn’t they ask Evans?”
And with Hercule Poroit and Miss Marple seemingly on holiday, it falls to Bobby and his old school friend, Lady Francis ‘Frankie’ Derwent (Lucy Boynton) to investigate.
This cues hare-brained plans, cross-country journeys, undercover detective work and a little bit of romance. What more could you want for an Easter treat?
Poulter and Boynton make for a rather charming double act, worlds away from the dire Tommy and Tuppence (David Walliams and Jessica Raine) we saw on our screens seven years ago.
Bobby is sincere and determined if slightly dimwitted. But fortunately his posho pal Frankie is excitable, intelligent and daring – with a fantastic dress sense.
The only shame with this adaptation is the all too brief cameos from some of our favourite actors. We’re all left wanting more from the Oscar-winning Emma Thompson and Jim Broadbent.
Altogether Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? Is an unashamedly traditional tale full of engaging twists and turns which makes for a very pleasant way to spend an Easter afternoon.