Agatha Christie adaptations are an increasingly common sight on British TV screens, with yet another retelling arriving on the BBC this festive period in Murder is Easy.

Based on the 1939 novel of the same name and split into two episodes, it features a solid cast of David Jonsson, Morfydd Clark, Matthew Baynton, Mark Bonnar, Sinead Matthews, Douglas Henshall, Tom Riley and Penelope Wilton.

Whilst I wasn't aware of the details of the novel before seeing Murder is Easy, I have become aware that a fair amount of changes were made to the background of the main character and some of the plot.

However, I am here to judge the quality of the actual story and production itself, rather than how faithfully it mirrors the book.

A rather bland and languid story

Murder is Easy follows Luke Obiako Fitzwilliam (Jonsson) who has arrived in England from Nigeria to take up a job at Whitehall.

On the way to London, he shares a carriage with Miss Pinkerton (Wilton) who mysteriously shares that she is on her way to Scotland Yard to report several murders that have been dismissed as accidents.

Once they have arrived in London Fitzwilliam places a bet on the Epsom Derby at Miss Pinkerton's request but when he turns away from her she is seemingly mowed down by a car.

Finding the circumstances extremely suspicious Fitzwilliam goes to Miss Pinkerton's village of Wychwood to investigate what is going on.

Lancashire Telegraph: Mrs Pinkerton (Penelope Wilton) and Luke Obiako Fitzwilliam (David Jonsson)Mrs Pinkerton (Penelope Wilton) and Luke Obiako Fitzwilliam (David Jonsson) (Image: BBC/Mammoth Screen/Anne Binckebanck)

It's an intriguing start to the story and is also an effective way to introduce our main protagonist who presents a strong moral code in trying to do right by a person he only knew for a very short time.

What is also interesting is that the story comes from the perspective of someone who is not a police officer, with Fitzwilliam effectively going undercover to try and work out the truth at the heart of all these so-called accidents.

Shortly after arriving in the village Fitzwilliam teams up with Bridget Conway (Clark), a secretary who is engaged to be married to the tedious Lord Gordon Whitfield (Riley), to try and uncover the mystery.

Soon enough more bodies pile up as a larger conspiracy is revealed at the heart of this seemingly pleasant little village.

In theory, this all sounds like enough to sustain itself for a two-parter, but it is surprisingly languid in how it progresses the story.

Whilst the cast does an admirable job it struggled to hold my interest, as the characters themselves aren't especially intriguing or defined.

Subtext concerning the consequences of the Empire, class, wealth and the casual racism Fitzwilliam experiences attempts to flesh things out a little. Still, unfortunately, it doesn't give much flavour to the rather bland experience.

Acting is solid across the board

As mentioned before the cast is made up of a veritable cast of either emerging talent or experienced veterans who do their best to make this work.

Lancashire Telegraph: David Jonsson and Morfydd Clark make for a capable duoDavid Jonsson and Morfydd Clark make for a capable duo (Image: BBC/Mammoth Screen/Mark Mainz)

David Jonsson makes for a capable lead, and it's nice to see him getting some opportunities after a very impressive turn in the romantic comedy Rye Lane that released in early 2023.

His dynamic with Clark is thankfully also fairly solid, as you spend the majority of the time with the two of them, and the likes of Douglas Henshall and Matthew Baynton are doing great work here in the margins.

Penelope Wilton is of course assured as always in the very limited time we spend with her.

It's just a pity that it's not the most engaging work they are involved with, as there is a severe lack of energy to this.

You really struggle to get invested in the mystery and it doesn't feel like great developments in the story have much weight to them because of how detached they are.

Whilst I will give it credit for not being able to guess who the eventual murderer ends up being, it also ends up being rather anti-climatic.

Overall, if you have nothing else to watch in the build-up to the New Year it is a perfectly serviceable time, but not especially exciting either.

Score: 5/10