Sunday, 11 May 2014

Doctor Who Vs. Agatha Christie, Part 2

BBC2 first transmitted Agatha Christie: A Life in Pictures in September 2004. This feature-length biopic - told in flashback from Agatha's point of view - documented
her famous disappearance of 1926. Here, her psychiatrist concluded that the novelist (portrayed by Olivia Williams) had been in a fugue state at the time, and her amnesia was genuine (see Part 1).
The programme was repeated on BBC4 in 2008, and featured these seven Doctor Who cast and crew connections:
  • Anna Massey (Older Agatha) voiced Miss Pollard for The Girl Who Never Was (Big Finish, 2007)
  • Raymond Coulthard (Archie Christie) voiced Loki, Edgar and Hawks for Cobwebs (BF, 2010), and Ralph for the upcoming release, Suburban Hell
  • Anthony O'Donnell (Kenward and Hercule Poirot) played Commander Kaagh in The Sarah Jane Adventures: Enemy of the Bane and The Last Sontaran
  • actor and writer Mark Gatiss (Kenyon) and Bertie Carvel (Max Mallowan) both appeared in The Lazarus Experiment, as Dr. Richard Lazarus and the 'Mysterious Man' respectively
  • Olivia Darnley (Nurse) made a cameo appearance in The Five(ish) Doctors
  • Mick Pantaleo was also the first assistant director on A Christmas CarolThe Doctor's Wife and Night Terrors
Sky Arts' recent documentary, Agatha Christie Vs. Hercule Poirot, also examined
the writer's disappearance in the context of the reception to her latest novel,
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.
Gareth Roberts' series four story, The Unicorn and the Wasp (2008) depicts the events (albeit fictional) leading up to Agatha's disappearance. By the end of the episode, the action has moved from the atypical Christie 'whodunnit' setting - the English country house - to Silent Pool, where the novelist's car was actually found abandoned. Here, Agatha (now played by Fenella Woolgar, pictured) is briefly possessed by the alien firestone, and falls unconscious. The Doctor now realises that this incident caused her memory loss, and takes the writer to Harrogate ten days later (ie. the day before she was discovered). In the TARDIS, the Doctor shows Donna a copy of Death in the Clouds (1935), a book in which a wasp sting is an apparent cause of death - so Agatha's amnesia was not complete, she remembered the Vespiform. Even by the year 5 billion, Christie is still the best selling author of all time.