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.
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).
David 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.