The mysteries of Agatha Christie have enjoyed a resurgence in media in recent years. Murder on the Orient Express hit the big screen a few years back and the sequel Death on the Nile will open at some point, and TV has seen Christie’s stories return with adaptations of And Then There Were None and The ABC Murders. Now Mammoth Screen, BBC Studios, and BritBox in North America are teaming up for another Agatha Christie mystery with a limited series adaptation of the novel Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?, which will be written, directed, and executive produced by House star Hugh Laurie.
Deadline broke the news of the Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? TV series in the works from Mammoth Screen, who also produced And Then There Were None and The ABC Murders. If you’ve never encountered the mystery novel that was first published in 1934, here’s the official synopsis:
While playing an erratic round of golf, Bobby Jones slices his ball over the edge of a cliff. His ball is lost, but on the rocks below he finds the crumpled body of a dying man. With his final breath the man opens his eyes and says, ‘Why didn’t they ask Evans?’ Haunted by these words, Bobby and his vivacious companion, Frankie, set out to solve a mystery that will bring them into mortal danger!
Left with only that mysterious question and a photo of a beautiful young woman in the dead man’s pocket, Bobby Jones and his socialite friend Lady Frances “Frankie” Derwent try to figure out who is responsible for this man’s death and what these cryptic clues actually mean. Though the novel is filled with plenty of danger, there’s also plenty of levity that the main characters bring to the equation, which makes a comedically-inclined talent like Hugh Laurie the right man to adapt the book into a three-part limited series.
As of now, Hugh Laurie is also working as writer, director and executive producer of the series, but it’s hoped that he will also have some kind of role in the series. For Laurie’s part, he’s just happy to have a chance to adapt the book that he first read as a child. The actor said:
“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 honored 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.”
Laurie has appeared in front of the camera more often than he’s gotten behind it, but he’s directed a couple episodes of House and has plenty of writing experience thanks to the beloved sketch comedy series A Bit of Fry and Laurie. He’s also coming off executive producing The Night Manager, which earned several Emmy and Golden Globes nominations, as well as a few wins.
Mammoth Screen is certainly thrilled to have Laurie on board with their director of television and executive producer Helen Ziegler saying, “His dazzling scripts take the mischief and cleverness of the original novel to a new level, and with Hugh sitting in the director’s chair, this really is going to be an authored treat for Christie fans everywhere.”
Brit Box’s Emily Powers, head of BritBox North America, added, “Hugh Laurie’s writing pays homage to the brilliance of the original Agatha Christie mystery while adding fresh wit, humor, and creativity that will appeal to all audiences.”
Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? doesn’t currently have a release date.
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