April 12, 2021
Actor Hugh Laurie and British-themed SVOD service BritBox would seem a perfect pairing. Now, the North American streaming service from BBC Studios and ITV announced that the former “House” star will adapt Agatha Christie mystery, Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?, into an original three-part miniseries — the service’s its biggest original commission to date.
Laurie will also direct and executive produce the series, which will make its global debut on BritBox in the U.S. and Canada in 2022.
Produced by Agatha Christie Limited and Mammoth Screen, whose previous collaborations include The ABC Murders, starring John Malkovich, Evans follows the amiable Bobby Jones and his whip-smart friend, socialite Lady Frances Derwent.
On the hunt for a lost golf ball, Jones discovers the crumpled body of a dying man who, with his last breath, gasps the cryptic question of the series’ title. Armed with only a photograph of a beautiful young woman found in the dead man’s pocket, the sleuths embark on a crime-solving adventure and prove surprisingly adept at unearthing clues.
“I can’t overstate how excited we are to bring this new adaptation to life for the BritBox community,” Emily Powers, head of BritBox North America, said in a statement. “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.”
Casting will be announced at a later date. Endeavor Content brokered the commission and will handle International sales outside of the U.K., Ireland and the Americas.
“Hugh has brought his own inimitable style and flavor to this work, whilst at the same time being faithful to the original,” said James Prichard, CEO of Agatha Christie Limited.
“I loved this book as a nipper and still do. 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,” said Laurie. “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.”
BritBox has been commissioning original programming since 2017, starting with “The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco,” and most recently announced “Hope Street,” a new cozy crime series. In addition, the service showcases a substantial slate of co-productions, including “The Pembrokeshire Murders,” starring Luke Evans; “Honour,” starring Keeley Hawes; and “There She Goes,” starring David Tennant.