A new Agatha Christie adaptation is on the way and set to bring us a fresh take on the author’s 1961 novel, The Pale Horse. BBC One has once again partnered with Mammoth Screen and Agatha Christie Limited for the forthcoming project, which has been written by Sarah Phelps, the very talented writer behind the Beeb’s recent Christie efforts The Witness For The Prosecution, Ordeal By Innocence and The ABC Murders. Read our spoiler-filled reviews of all three here.
The BBC has just released the first trailer for the two-part adaptation (see below). Prepare yourself for some Wicker Man-ish folk horror shivers, arriving on Sunday the 9th of February at 9pm on BBC One…
The Pale Horse trailer: murder, witches and a deathly list
‘We’re all rational when the sun’s shining. Different when it goes dark’
Quite. See Rufus Sewell, Sean Pertwee, Kaya Scodelario and more in this atmospheric first trailer for the new adaptation, coming soon to BBC One and iPlayer.
The Pale Horse cast: The Man In The High Castle star leads cast
Rufus Sewell (Dark City, Man In The High Castle) is in the lead role of Mark Easterbrook in The Pale Horse, with Kaya Scodelario, Bertie Carvel, Sean Pertwee, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Poppy Gilbert, Madeleine Bowyer, Ellen Robertson, Sarah Woodward, Georgina Campbell, Claire Skinner, Rita Tushingham, Sheila Atim and Kathy Kiera Clarke will be joining him.
The Pale Horse plot: dark arts and mounting bodies
Here’s a quick synopsis of The Pale Horse, if you’ve not read the book.
A mysterious list of names is found in the shoe of a dead woman, and one of those named, Mark Easterbrook, begins an investigation into how and why his name came to be there. He is drawn to The Pale Horse, the home of a trio of rumoured witches in the small village of Much Deeping. Word has it that the witches can do away with wealthy relatives using dark arts, but as the bodies mount up, Easterbrook is certain there has to be a rational explanation.
“The Pale Horse was one of the later novels penned by my great grandmother, written as it was in the 1960s,” mused James Prichard, executive producer and CEO of Agatha Christie Limited, in a statement. “This new drama allows writer Sarah Phelps to continue her exploration of the 20th century through Christie’s stories, with the book’s fantastic, foreboding atmosphere completely suited to Sarah’s unique style of adaptation.”
Phelps added, “Written in 1961, against the backdrop of the Eichmann Trial, the escalation of the Cold War and Vietnam, The Pale Horse is a shivery, paranoid story about superstition, love gone wrong, guilt and grief. It’s about what we’re capable of when we’re desperate and what we believe when all the lights go out and we’re alone in the dark.”
“Sarah Phelps has crafted an extraordinary adaptation of Agatha Christie’s celebrated 1960s novel The Pale Horse, where the rational world and dark supernatural forces seem to collide,” pitched in Helen Ziegler, executive producer for Mammoth. “Asking the question ‘how far would you go to protect your own happiness?’ It’s a tale of guilt, terror and witchcraft which we hope will delight and terrify viewers in equal measure!”
The Pale Horse release date: arriving in February
It’s starting on Sunday the 9th of February 2020 at 9pm on BBC One, and will arrive on Amazon Prime Video outside the UK at a later date.