Friday, September 28, 2012

Some updates

Hi everyone!

Just to let you know I'm still here, infrequently checking back on old posts and making tiny edits whenever I've discovered something new / a mistake in the chronology. I'm also - from time to time - publishing new posts over at Most recently, I discussed possible options for the inclusion of the stand-alone short story not to be filmed as part of the series (The Lemesurier Inheritance). I'm also planning to delve into behind-the-scenes aspects of the series, both in terms of interviews, documentaries, locations, sets etc. So that's the place to go if you want a broader look on the series, not just the chronology of the episodes (even though that is my great passion, obviously)!

Chronology-wise I'm still interested in comments from you readers to try and make this as correct as possible. I do value your comments, and I apologise to those of you who have e-mailed me over the last couple of months, as I haven't been able to check my account as often as I used to. But I promise that I'll check my account more frequently in the months to come.

The final series will go into production in a couple of weeks (October 15th, I've heard). The year ahead will be very interesting indeed for anyone with a passion for this series. I'm excited to get news on the production of each episode, particularly, of course, any hints to chronology. I will post here or on as soon as I have any news.

Thank you again for following my blog(s)! I am still completely amazed by the number of visitors this blog has from all over the world. I had no idea my musings would have such a massive audience. So thank you all, and let's all enjoy the final series once it gets shown in a year or two!

UPDATE: It seems likely that Curtain will be given a late 1940s setting, as David Suchet has mentioned this on Twitter. 

UPDATE MARCH 2013: I've made some significant changes to the chronology, moving a few episodes around. Do have a look and tell me what you think. 


  1. I've been thinking about the fact that CURTAIN will be set in the late 1940s, but it's something that I just can't see fitting, and the only reason is Hastings' daughter, Judith. MURDER ON THE LINKS was definitely set in 1936, so Hastings and Bella married around that year (I'm assuming), so Judith must have been conceived and born after (probably in 1937, I should think). If CURTAIN were set in the late 1940s, Judith would only be 10 or 11 years old. But she's in her 20s, as is the actress playing her (Alice Orr-Ewing). So either Hastings had married before and Judith was his child from that marriage, or the writers have forgotten the chronology. The latter seems to be the case, as there's no indication that Hastings was married before Bella. And in the novel, Christie states that Judith is indeed the oldest child of Hastings and Dulcie (who was amalgamated into the Bella character in the adaptation).

    So, there's only one solution to this unfortunate mixup, and that's to set the adaptation of CURTAIN in the late 1950s, not '40s. Only then would it make sense. Let's cross our fingers and hope that there are no explicit references to the '40s in the adaptation, although it'd be unlikely. They're probably going to write the year at the beginning like they did for APPOINTMENT WITH DEATH, for instance, so as to not confuse viewers.

    1. Hi Tom,

      This particular issue has been troubling me as well. As far as I know, they have already decided to set the episode in the late 1940s (see David Suchet's Twitter). I will be more than a little annoyed if they set the episode in, say, 1948 and expect us to believe that Judith is in her twenties! As you very accurately point out, MURDER ON THE LINKS is explicitly set in 1936, so Judith would be far too young in an adaptation of CURTAIN!

      Personally, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will make her into Hastings's niece (like they added a nephew in MURDER IN MESOPOTAMIA). That isn't a perfect solution, particularly as it is a rather unecessary change of Christie's characters, but at least it makes it more believeable to have a grown-up Judith in the adaptation.

      In any case, I sincerely hope that they haven't forgotten their own chronology and make some sort of believable change to the Hastings-Judith relationship!

  2. I like the idea of making Judith a niece than a daughter to Hastings, but then there arises a very vexing issue: in CURTAIN, Hastings is very protective of her and spends much of the novel worrying that she's getting mixed up with the wrong people (namely, the Major Allerton character, who may or may not have been cut from the adaptation). If Judith were his niece, would he still act the 'concerned parent' role as in the book? Perhaps if Judith's parents are dead and Hastings has adopted her as his own, then maybe it would be plausible, but that would be stretching things. I fear that Judith WILL end up being Hastings' daughter, and the chronology will be forgotten. I only say this because the screenwriter is Kevin Elyot, who has always adapted Christie's novels as faithfully as possible. At most he merely eliminates characters he sees as superfluous. The most extreme change he's allowed himself to make is to change a killer's identity in a Marple episode, and to change a character's sexual preference in FIVE LITTLE PIGS. Perhaps if he made such a change he wouldn't be incapable of making a familial one, but I've heard CURTAIN is a faithful adaptation of the novel, so that's why I have my doubts.

    So, if it comes down to it, the only way to explain Judith being Hastings' 20-year-old daughter in the late '40s even though Hastings was only married 10 years is to ignore the '40s setting and just say it was set in the late '50s and be done with it. Otherwise maybe you could get away with saying Judith is an adopted daughter because Bella couldn't conceive children or something. I don't know. If only the producers were concerned with the logics of chronology! Poirot would NOT approve of this asymmetry! :P

    1. I agree with everything you say. Like you, I'm fairly certain this will become a major chronology issue. Whether Hastings would still act in the 'concerned parent' role is probably the least pressing issue in that sense :P I am aware of Kevin Elyot's faithfulness to the novels (which is one of the reasons why I feel certain this will be a fantastic adaptation on all other accounts!).

      Hopefully, he (or someone else in the crew) will manage to put two and two together and work out that she would be too young in terms of the series. After all, they all seem to be aware that the entire series (except Styles, obviously) has been set in the 30s, so they should be able to bear that in mind now as well. At least I hope Suchet does, as he is known to influence the scripts to some degree (for instance, he asked for the scene with the marrows to be added to MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD and has since become associate producer, as I'm sure you know). Having said that, nothing would surprise me in terms of chronology and this series!

      For now, I'm just hoping Judith will become his niece and/or his adopted daughter (I like that idea!). As you so aptly put it - Poirot would not approve if they get it wrong! (Not that I think I would approve of their rather messy chronology in the first place ;))

    2. Especially if Judith was the daughter of Bella's twin sister, Dulcie, who died just before the war. His worry over Judith's interest in the much older man who he wants to kill could turn out to be because the guy was Judith's biological father!

      CatAmongthePigeons from the Agatha Christie website

    3. Hi CatAmongthePigeons! Certainly an intriguing suggestion! I guess it would work to have Judith become Dulcie's daughter. But as Tom points out, it might just be a little too complicated for a 90 minute episode? In any case, I am delighted that there are more fans questioning this out there! Let's hope Elyot, Suchet or the producers make this work somehow :)

  3. Hi CatAmongthePigeons,

    That's an intriguing idea, to have the suspicion that Major Allerton was Judith's biological father... however, that does sound rather soap-ish, don't you think? And if Allerton suspected that Judith was his daughter, he certainly wouldn't encourage any sort of romantic attraction. It does lead to some complications that might take up too much time in the long run - after all, I'm assuming this episode will be the standard 90 minutes.

    I do appreciate that CURTAIN is not being set in the '30s, which would've been ridiculous if it had, but even the '40s is too early for it to work out, if indeed Elyot does not alter the biological relationship between Hastings and Judith. If anyone has a Twitter account, I suggest tweeting David Suchet directly and letting him know about this inconsistency. Even if he doesn't respond directly, at least he'll read what is sent to him. Maybe - *just* maybe - he'll try to remedy the situation, if it's still possible. Perhaps by adding a few lines to address the issue, or by trying to shift the setting to the '50s. It's been almost two weeks since they began filming, so heaven knows how far they've gotten, but hopefully there's a chance to try to set things straight. I love HickroyDickory's blog and all the work that's been put into it, and it would be an extraordinary achievement if it ends up 'correcting' an episode's chronology while it's still in production!

    1. Actually, I think someone on Twitter has just pointed this out! I assume it's you, Tom(@BrushedElegance)? I don't have a Twitter account myself, so thank you for pointing this out to Mr Suchet - and thank you for mentioning the blog! Let's hope he will take notice!

    2. Ah, you're welcome! I only got one so as to keep track of those involved in the new Christie adaptations. I realized that, aside from Mr Suchet, there are many actors with accounts who use them on a regular basis, so I'm going to try finding them as new adaptations are being filmed... it was Twitter that actually led me to find out that both Alice Orr-Ewing and Shaun Dingwall are in CURTAIN. Hopefully when the press release for it comes (soon!) I'll be able to find more actors using the service.

      The only downside is having to send multiple 'tweets' in order to say something longer than 140 characters. I hope that isn't an annoyance, but it's the only way you can express yourself fully. I thought to tweet directly to Mr Suchet after I posted my comment, because the sooner he finds out, the better the chance he can end up doing something to remedy it. Hopefully it isn't too late. And I hope he does take a browse through this blog, because it really is a testament to how dedicated his fans can be. Maybe he didn't put much thought into the show's chronology before, but I'm sure if he learns that there are some fans who devote quite a bit of their time to it, he may be more conscious of it for these final episodes. We can only hope, anyway. I mean, the logistics of the Hastings-Judith relationship are hard to ignore if the time period makes no sense, isn't it?

    3. Soapy or not, It could explain why Hastings is so anxious. Allerton is separated but not divorced -- his wife is Catholic -- and, therefore, Dulcie wasn't married when she had Judith. She was a child when Bella and Hastings adopted her, and probably never saw him, even though there may have been a photo or two among Dulcie's things when Hastings and Bella had to sort them out (Dulcie and Allerton with Judith as a baby?). Allerton could, for all we know, have committed bigamy with Dulcie. But, remember, Judith isn't interested in Allerton, but in Dr. Franklin, who isn't related to her.


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