Agatha Christie’s detective duo Tommy and Tuppence feature in a brand new series Partners in Crime, which premieres on BBC1 tonight. Tuppence Cowley and Tommy Beresford first appeared in 1922 in The Secret Adversary, hiring themselves out as “The Young Adventurers”. Later turning to detective work, getting married and raising three children, Tommy and Tuppence are the only Agatha Christie detectives to have aged in real time over the five books they appeared in. They were introduced in their early twenties and were in their seventies in their last appearance in Postern of Fate, which was also the last book Agatha wrote. The last appearance of Tommy and Tuppence on-screen was a ten hour series in 1983.


The first known illustration of Tommy and Tuppence by Arthur Ferrier in The Royal Magazine in December 1923

David Walliams and Jessica Raine star as the husband-and-wife detective duo. Edward Hall (Downton Abbey , Restless) is at the helm, directing all six episodes, which will cover two books. Episodes 1-3, The Secret Adversary, are penned by Zinnie Harris, (Spooks, Born With Two Mothers, Richard Is My Boyfriend), and the following three, N or M? by Claire Wilson (Where There Is Darkness, Twist).

Partners-in-Crime-003David Walliams says: “In bringing these thrilling stories to the screen, it is our ambition for Tommy and Tuppence to finally take their rightful place alongside Poirot and Marple as iconic Agatha Christie characters. I was first drawn to the delicious notion of a married couple solving crimes together, and the more I read of the Tommy and Tuppence novels and short stories, the more I realised they are among Christie’s very best work.”

Jessica Raine said she was “struck by what a unique and fabulous part it was for a woman. Tommy and Tuppence are a team, and there’s no sense of her playing second fiddle to her husband…I can honestly say it has been so much fun playing Tuppence. Sometimes when you play a character they can rub off on you, and I felt more adventurous and energised while being Tuppence.”


Partners in Crime will be set in the 1950’s rather than starting off the twenties. Executive producer Hilary Bevan Jones said: “We looked at a number of different periods to set it in because the books themselves are spread over a very long period from before Tommy and Tuppence were married, right until they are significantly older with grown up children. We decided that around 10 years is the right stage for bickering to set in in a marriage and that would take them into the 1950s. That historically would set this in the context of the Cold War, so the period would suit the stories that Agatha had already written.”

Partners in Crime also stars James Fleet (The Vicar of Dibley, Outlander, Father Brown) as Major Anthony Carter, Matthew Steer (Cinderella, Siblings) as Albert Pemberton and Miles Roughley (Les Misérables) as George Beresford.

About The Author

Olga Hughes is currently pre-occupied with fairy tales, fantasy, misanthropy, medieval history and the long eighteenth century. She has a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Victorian College of the Arts and is currently majoring in Literature and History at Deakin. She has contributed to websites such as History behind Game of Thrones, The Anne Boleyn Files and The Tudor Society.

6 Responses

  1. Dale

    I’ve enjoyed the books and hope the series comes to Canada.

  2. Underdogge

    I missed this yesterday but hopefully it is still on iplayer and I’ll be able to catch it that way. I think it will be the first time I have seen anything where David Walliams plays a “goody”.

  3. Olga Hughes

    Can’t see any international air dates yet Dale but hopefully you won’t have to wait too long.
    We watched it tonight and it was a little slow-paced but I really did enjoy it Underdogge. The married couple dynamic is fun too.

  4. Underdogge

    I’ve watched this now and I did like it although as Olga says the pacing is on the slow sides by modern standards. One or two little things didn’t ring true – like Tommy and Tuppence are supposed to be on a restricted budget (Uncle Carter pays their son’s school fees) but they have a nice big house and don’t seem to be wanting for furniture and Tuppence has a fur coat – and not one that she just wears for special occasions either. But I don’t want to be nit-picky and there was more to like than to find fault with. I know our site runners were not too pleased with the most recent season of GoT but did anyone pick up that “Blonde Assassin” was played by Hannah Waddingham who also played Septa Unella.

  5. Underdogge

    I suppose I should have clarified that Tuppence was wearing a fur coat while Britain was still undergoing post-war austerity. A lot of women were probably still sewing their wardrobes then (well some still do but it may have been more a necessity then).

    • Olga Hughes

      To be fair it is perfectly feasible that her coat may have been purchased some time ago. And to be frank I like a good authentic set, the house didn’t look overly-luxurious, I thought it was quite homey.

      I didn’t notice the actress. I suppose the Septa had her hair covered.