And Then There Were None is a 2015 BBC three-episode TV miniseries. Set in the 1930s, it’s an adaptation of an Agatha Christie mystery novel. This version stars Aidan Turner (Poldark), Charles Dance (The Jewel in the Crown, Game of Thrones), Anna Maxwell Martin (The Bletchley Circle, Death Comes to Pemberley, South Riding), Sam Neill (My Brilliant Career, La révolution française, The Piano), and Miranda Richardson (Black-Adder II, Enchanted April, Sleepy Hollow, The Young Victoria, and so much more). We recently got to see it stateside, and it’s a period film, so we should discuss it, right?
Well, except for the fact that it’s totally un-costumey! Meaning, everybody is in very appropriate for the 1930s clothing, but nothing stands out in the least.
The good news is that I found the plot absolutely riveting. Eight people are invited by a couple they’ve never met to stay at a house on THE most atmospheric tiny island off the Devon coast. A local fellow boats them over, and then they’re cut off from the mainland.
There’s a wide range of characters…
Two servants are already on the island (a butler and housekeeper), and they’re joined by:
Their hosts are delayed, and so the 10 are left to fend for themselves as a storm blows in, both literally and figuratively … I don’t want to talk any more about the plot because I was on the edge of my seat, and I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t seen it!
Okay, to be fair, the costumes — designed by Lindsay Pugh (Dancing on the Edge) — were absolutely appropriate to the setting, story, and characters. There’s just nothing shiny, aside from some guys in nice suits!
Miranda Richardson’s character is frumpy, Anna Maxwell Martin plays a housekeeper, and Maeve Dermody — the obvious choice for anything shiny in that she’s youngish and female — plays a secretary, shows up in some nice-ish suits but goes quickly downhill from there.
There are a few flashbacks showing her in some smart beach wear:
While this show is decidedly un-shiny when it comes to costumes — okay, Aidan Turner follows in Adrien Brody’s manly footsteps in rocking the towel:
It is, however, total Art Deco house porn. The exteriors are super atmospheric:
The interiors are totally amazing. Apparently it was filmed at Harefield House, which is outside London. Clearly it was done up in the 1930s, because nearly every room is just picture perfect for the era in terms of decor.
In the end, I highly recommend And Then There Were None. The acting is good, the locations are perfect, the costumes are totally appropriate to the story and characters — they’re just not the least bit flashy. Watch it on a stormy night with the lights out!
What’s your favorite pre-war murder mystery?
Where the hell are the trees?
A house like that deserves some trees.
It’s on a windswept island just offshore of Devon, so not too many trees would be there!
I’m sad how Toby Stephens with that mustache appears to be aging into Tom Selleck. This role doesn’t do justice to Toby Stephens’ supreme hotness.
Yeah, he’s more creepy than hot in this!
Ooh, I didn’t notice the lovely topstitching on the collar of her jacket when I watched it!
This is an Agatha Christie story, done many times, but I did like this adaptation because of the sheer volume of talent involved.
However, I’m sorry Aidan: that’s a 21st Century body, not something that would have been seen in the 30s (actually anywhere other than the last 30 years, unless it was at the body building gym).
That is exactly the issue i have with Jamie in Outlander. I keep thinking 21stC body builder not tough 17thC Highlander.
I’m sorry, but some guys actually did have bodies like that back in the 30’s. A good number of actors were that level of muscularity, as were a lot of athletes and manual laborers.
That’s not a “bodybuilder” level body– then or now– just an athletic body.
I’m not sure what the backstory on Turner’s character is, but he’s described as an “adventurer” above, so he may have engaged in a fair amount of physical activity.
But hey, at least his body hair wasn’t obviously “manscaped”, like Jeremy Piven’s chest was in his shirtless scenes as “Mr. Selfridge”.
That purple suit is gorgeous! I still can’t believe I haven’t watched this one yet!
We were able to see it on BBC, and I immediately thought “I need that suit!” The purple and green are fabulous. I’m assuming it would be wool suiting? A few of the guys have linen but a can’t imagine that first day suit is anything but woollen.
I had a problem with Maeve Dermody’s hair length. It was a bit too long for 1939 and especially for the 1935 flashbacks.