When David Suchet hung up his little mustaches, it was the end of one era for Agatha Christie on the small screen, but it opened the way for another new wave of different adaptations. Fans have since been treated to Sarah Phelps' imaginative BBC takes and subjected to Kenneth Branagh's mistaken opinion that he should star in some big-screen remakes. But the latest comes from neither of these quarters. Based on Christie's 1934 novel of the same name, Why Didn't They Ask Evans? is instead produced and directed by Hugh Laurie, who most Americans routinely mistake for one of their own due to House.
Deadline originally announced Laurie was behind the three-part adaptation back in April, which will be BritBox UK's biggest original series to date. But though he is the sort of name that audiences tune in for as the lead, Laurie is not taking the lead role. (Though don't worry, he is part of the cast too.) Though it is technically co-equal billing, fans of the books know that this is one of Christie's one-off mystery stories from her early years where young single socialite girls find themselves cracking cases that happen to occur in their orbit.
Instead, the lead goes to Bohemian Rhapsody's Lucy Boyton as Lady Frances "Frankie" Derwent. (She was also in the Branagh Murder on the Orient Express, but we won't hold that against her). Will Poulter (Black Mirror) will play the leading man role of the local Vicar's son, Bobby Jones, who teams up with Frankie to help solve the case after finding a dying man whose last words supply the mystery's title. Laurie plays Dr. James Nicholson, the Clinical Director of the sanatorium near Merroway Court and one of the suspects.
Laurie recently celebrated the beginning of filming with a photo he tweeted out of the first day on set.
I appear to have pocket tweeted this pic.twitter.com/I9ssUPDDgE— Hugh Laurie (@hughlaurie) June 7, 2021
Here's the limited series' official synopsis:
Based on the 1934 Agatha Christie novel, Why Didn't They Ask Evans? follows the local Vicar's son, Bobby Jones, and his whip-smart friend, socialite Lady Frances "Frankie" Derwent on their crime-solving adventure after they discover the crumpled body of a dying man who, with his last breath, gasps the cryptic question of the title. Armed only with a photograph of a beautiful young woman found in the dead man's pocket, these amateur detectives pursue (and are pursued by) the answer to the mystery.
The cast also includes Maeve Dermody (And Then There Were None) as Moira, Dr. Nicholson's wife, Daniel Ings (I Hate Suzie) as the primary suspect Roger Bassington-French. Also, Conleth Hill (Game of Thrones) plays Dr. Alwyn Thomas, and Jonathan Jules (Small Axe) is Ralph "Knocker" Beadon, two trusted friends of the detective duo. The series also co-stars Miles Jupp (The Durrells), Amy Nuttall (Downton Abbey), Alistair Petrie (Sex Education), Paul Whitehouse (The Personal History of David Copperfield), Morwenna Banks (Skins), and Joshua James (Black Mirror).
Why Didn't They Ask Evans? does not yet have a release date. It also does not yet have a distributor in the U.S., but it should get snapped up quickly.