What would Agatha Christie say? BBC's racy adaptation of The Witness For The Prosecution features sex scenes, swearing and police brutality

The new adaptation of the classic Agatha Christie  will star Sex And The City's Kim Cattrall as a wealthy widow

It has been scheduled at the heart of the Christmas schedule, when families are typically gathered round their TV sets.

But the upcoming Agatha Christie adaptation on the BBC is so racy that it has been deemed inappropriate for elderly people to watch.

The director of The Witness For The Prosecution warned that that it is a 'million miles away from an episode of Miss Marple', and said that 'grandparents and young children might have to be put away'.

The two-part drama, which has been adapted by Sarah Phelps and stars Kim Cattrall, focuses on the trial of Leonard Vole, who is charged with the murder of a wealthy older woman, Emily French.

And it is far from the 'cosy fireside entertainment' of some Christie adaptations, screenwriter Sarah Phelps conceded at a BFI screening of the drama.

The first instalment - which airs on Boxing Day - includes examples of police brutality, a flurry of swear words and sex scenes that are likely to shock viewers.

There is then understood to be an attempted rape in the second episode, which airs the following evening.

Director Julian Jarrold added: 'I always associated Agatha Christie with a nice, cosy afternoon watch on the sofa. [But] I think grandparents and young children might have to be put away before watching this adaptation.'

Award-winning actor David Haig, who plays King's Counsel Sir Charles Carter, described the show as 'edgy, dark and provocative' and warned: 'There's nothing comforting about it.'

Kim Cattrall is joined by, from left, Andrea Risborough, Toby Jones, Billy Howle and Monica Dolan in the adaptation, which its director has said is a 'million miles away from Miss Marple'

Miss Phelps, who also wrote last year's adaptation of And Then There Were None, hinted that she would like to write a provocative Miss Marple, complete with swear words, as she is convinced the much-loved character had a 'dirty mind'.

She also responded to recent criticism about her use of swear words in her Christie adaptations, saying: 'I don't set out to go 'let's shock everyone'. I genuinely react to the story.

'People think cursing was not invented until 1963, but you would be cursing the air blue with absolute terror. If I ever do a Miss Marple…she had a dirty mind.'

She confirmed that the BBC has asked her to adapt Ordeal By Innocence, which is one of Christie's darker works and examines the psychology of innocence. 


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