Agatha Christie: Marple
Sleeping Murder

Starring: Geraldine McEwan
Granada Ventures
RRP: 9.99
Certificate: PG
Available 17 July 2006

Gwenda, a young woman is instinctively drawn to her perfect home in the picturesque seaside village of Dilmouth, while searching for a house. Yet the house has a terrible past, a past Gwenda is forced to confront as she suffers a disturbing case of deja-vu. It transpires that Gwenda lived in the very same house as a child and witnessed a murder - that of her father's beautiful fiancée Helen, a singer in a flamboyant musical troupe...

Sleeping Murder (2006) sees Geraldine McEwan star as Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. This time she tries to get to the bottom of one woman's visions of a corpse in her new house. Gwenda claims she's never even been to England before, let alone this house, so why does she keep having these visions?

It's not long before Marple, and Gwenda's friend Hugh Hornbeam, discover that Gwenda's visions are actually memories from childhood, and that she did live there briefly as a very young child. On further digging it appears that Gwenda's father, who had previously lost a wife in a car accident in India, may well have killed his fiancée and then committed suicide.

This episode has a number of guest stars that will be familiar to British viewers. These include Una Stubbs, Paul McGann, Dawn French, Martin Kemp, Russ Abbot and Geraldine Chaplin (who I will always remember for her fantastic portrayal of Charles Chaplin's mother - in reality Geraldine is Charles Chaplin's daughter- in Richard Attenborough's Chaplin). This episode also stars Anna Louise Plowman, who Stargate: SG-1 fans will know better as Dr. Sarah Gardner/Osiris.

I have to admit that when I saw the following names appear on the opening credits: "Russ Abbott, Dawn French and Martin Kemp" my heart sank. I thought this was going to be a bit of a disaster with all three making a pigs ear of their roles. Don't get me wrong I think all three are great in their own way - especially French - who is still as funny today as she was at the height of her '80s fame. But I couldn't picture them not hamming their performances up. It just goes to show how wrong you can be. All of the performances in this production are subtle and incredibly well delivered. And I was totally surprised by Russ Abbott's performance.

The production uses some fantastic locations in Devon, as well as numerous period set pieces and great costume design.

Extras include Interviews & Behind the Scenes (16 minute featurette that goes behind the cameras for this episode and interviews a number of the main characters).

Agatha Christie fans will not be disappointed by this excellent drama.

Amber Leigh

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