Netflix Winds Into Agatha Christie Adaptations with 'The Seven Dials Mystery'

The key art from the 1982 film of 'The Seven Dials Mystery'

The key art from the 1982 film of 'The Seven Dials Mystery'


Netflix continues to spend 2024 as a dominant force in the streaming landscape, while traditional production companies race to catch up any way they can with evolving technologies. On the same day that the BBC released its annual plan that would put the public broadcaster in a £492m deficit hole, and Russell T. Davies admitted he took Doctor Who to Disney+ as a safety measure, as he feared its inevitable collapse, Netflix announced it was coming for one of the British Broadcaster's longest running successes, the Agatha Christie TV miniseries. First up, an adaptation of The Seven Dials Mystery, written, ironically, by former Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall.

The new miniseries will be produced for Netflix by Susan Mackie, the LeftBank producer who was one of the primary forces behind The Crown actually achieving its original planned six seasons/three queens goal. Mackie technically left LeftBank in 2020 to start her own company, Orchid, which made a deal with Netflix to produce upon launch; however, she still stuck with The Crown to see it through, making The Seven Dials her company's debut production.

The choice of The Seven Dials Mystery is almost certainly deliberate, a signal to the BBC of Netflix's intention that it is coming to eat their lunch. Like the recent hits Why Didn't They Ask Evans, Murder is Easy, and the BBC's next miniseries, Towards Zero, The Seven Dials Mystery is not one of Christie's well-known novels. It's only been done once, as a TV film, by the same ITV forerunner that did Why Didn't They Ask Evans? in the early 1980s; and like Murder is Easy and Towards Zero, it was initially a Superintendent Battle book, and will most likely be reconfigured to remove Battle from the narrative to focus on the novel's non-professional sleuth, Lady Bundle Brent.

A shot of the Seven Dial Masked men from The Seven Dials Mystery

The Seven Dial Masked Men from The Seven Dials Mystery


The tentative synopsis already suggests Battle will be cut wholesale:

Seven Dials is one of Christie’s lesser-known works and tells the story of Eileen “Bundle” Brent, an amateur detective attempting to solve the murder of a man who slept with eight alarm clocks only to turn up dead one morning. Gerry Wade had proved himself to be a champion sleeper; so the other house guests decided to play a practical joke on him... Eight alarm clocks were set to go off, one after the other, starting at 6.30 a.m. But when morning arrived, one clock was missing, and the prank had backfired with tragic consequences.

No cast has been announced yet, but the announcement states that The Seven Dials Mystery will be shot this summer in the UK and Spain, so casting will be announced in due course. Director Chris Sweeny (The Tourist) will helm all three installments. Mackie and Chibnall are producing alongside former BBC exec Chris Sussman and Joanna Crow for Netflix.

Should it be as big a hit as its BBC counterparts, sources say The Seven Dials Mystery will be the first installment of what is described as Netflix's "Christie-verse,” which will feature interconnected stories and characters spanning multiple decades.  

The Seven Dials Mystery does not have a release date yet, but Netflix is likely to schedule it to arrive around the 2024 holidays if it can swing it or early 2025 if it can't.


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. 

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