Agatha Christie’s captivating murder-mystery Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? will be brought to life globally on BritBox in 2022. This three-part series is directed by Hugh Laurie and boasts an all-star cast.
Based on the iconic 1934 novel by Agatha Christie, Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? follows vicar’s son Bobby Jones, played by Will Poulter and his adventurous friend, socialite Lady Frances ‘Frankie’ Derwent (Lucy Boynton), as they dig deep into a murder. But their amateur sleuthing brings no end of trouble their way. There are some big names in the cast too, with Jim Broadbent and Emma Thompson playing aristocrats Lord and Lady Marcham, who are the parents of Lady Frances.
Here’s the lowdown on everything we know so far about the BritBox adaptation of Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?...
Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? release date
Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? will air on streaming service BritBox in 2022 in the US and Canada. The British release date isn’t yet fixed but is expected around the same time. We will of course update as soon as we know more.
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The plot of Agatha Christie's Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?
When Bobby Jones and Frankie Derwent comes across the body of a dying man, they hear his cryptic last words – ‘Why didn’t they ask Evans?’. They soon discover a photograph of a beautiful young woman in the dead man’s pocket and with that as their only clue they set about solving the mystery behind his death.
Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? cast — Will Poulter
British star Will Poulter stars as Bobby Jones, the son of the local vicar. He’s amiable and honest to a fault, so is the perfect person to investigate a murder mystery. Will has been on our screens since he was a child, when he starred as Lee Carter in the 2007 film Son of Rambow. He went on to be cast in The Chronicles of Narnia and The Maze Runner films and appeared in the comedy movie We’re The Millers alongside Jennifer Anniston in 2013. He became a huge name after starring in The Revenant in 2015, playing Bridger. Will says he jumped at the chance to star in an Agatha Christie adaptation: ‘I’m deeply honoured to have been given the opportunity to co-lead this project with Lucy and the chance to bring Agatha Christie’s thrilling story to life under Hugh’s direction.'
Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? cast — Lucy Boynton
Lucy Boynton plays whip-smart socialite Lady Frances ‘Frankie’ Derwent, who’s described as ‘a clever, unflappable woman with a flare for adventure’. British actor Lucy first hit our screens playing a young Beatrix Potter in the 2006 movie Miss Potter. She’s since starred in Sense and Sensibility, Don’t Knock Twice, Apostle and numerous other movies and will portray singer Marianne Faithfull in the biopic Faithfull, coming later this year. This isn’t Lucy’s first foray into the work of Agatha Christie as she played Countess Andrenyi in the 2017 film version of Murder On The Orient Express. ‘I’m so thrilled to be working with Hugh and Will, and on this story from one of my favourite authors. I can’t wait to get started,’ she says.
Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? director Hugh Laurie also stars
House and The Night Manager actor and comedian Hugh Laurie is directing and executive producing the series. As well as that he'll also play psychologist Dr James Nicholson. The psychologist is the clinical director of the sanatorium near the Bassington-ffrench estate, Merroway Court. This will be Hugh’s first major TV drama in the writer and director’s chair and he has loved the novel since he was a child. Hugh says: ‘The hairs on the back of my neck haven’t properly settled down from the first time I grasped the beauty of the essential mystery. Since then, I have fallen deeper and deeper in love with the characters, and feel immensely honoured to have been given the chance to retell their story in this form. I will wear a tie on set, and give it everything I have.’
Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? — who else is starring
As with most Agatha Christie mysteries there are all sorts of characters, so in Why Didn't They Ask Evans? look out for plenty of other cast, most notably Jim Broadbent and Emma Thompson as aristocrats Lord and Lady Marcham.
The Secret Garden star Maeve Dermody plays Moira, the troubled wife of psychiatrist Dr James Nicholson (Hugh Laurie, see above). Game of Thrones actor Conleth Hill plays Bobby’s genial mentor Dr Alwyn Thomas. Daniel Ings (I Hate Suzie) takes on the role of suspect Roger Bassington-ffrench while The Durrells star Miles Jupp is his brother, Henry. Amy Nuttall (Downton Abbey, Emmerdale) stars as Sylvia Basington-ffrench, the American wife of Henry. Jonathan Jules (Small Axe) is Bobby’s shipmate, Ralph, while Morwenna Banks also stars as Mrs Cayman, the dead man’s sister.
Alistair Petrie (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) is Bobby’s father, Rev Richard Jones, along with Paul Whitehouse (The Personal History of David Copperfield) as the landlord of a country inn and Joshua James (Black Mirror) as Frankie’s long-suffering ally, Dr George Arbuthnot.
Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? — the 1980 TV version
Agatha Christie's novel Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? was first adapted for television in 1980 and starred Sir John Gielgud as Bobby’s father Reverend Jones. Francesca Annis played Lady Frances Derwent while James Warwick took on the role of Bobby Jones. Fawlty Towers star Connie Booth played Sylvia Bassington-ffrench.
As Agatha Christie was notoriously protective of her work, not allowing the slightest deviation from the script, it took 18 months of negotiations with her estate before the 1980 drama could be made. Before that there were relatively few adaptations of Agatha Christie’s work on TV, rather than film, as she disliked the medium. When ‘And Then There Were None’ was shown on telly in 1949 there were several errors, including one of the corpses standing up and walking off set on camera, and from then on a furious Agatha Christie refused to give television rights. This only changed after the author's death in 1976.
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