The first episode of Partners in Crime’s new three part story began yesterday evening (August 16) with David Walliams and Jessica Raine as the main characters. The series is based on two Agatha Christie novels, in which the first three episodes are an adaptation of The Secret Adversary, written by Zinnie Harris and the last three episodes are of N or M? by Claire Wilson.
The episode saw Walliams character, Tommy, trying to track down a spy with connections to the USSR, holding a scientist captive, and in possession of a bomb. His wife, Tuppence, finds out and surprises him mid-mission, which will be resolved in two episodes time at the end of the series.
Although I love crime and detective fiction, I am finding it hard to come to terms with David Walliams as a serious actor. His camp and eccentric personality is bubbling underneath a dull and sensible married man and when it occasionally overflows into his screen character, you are reminded this is not the place for him. The episode and the story generally are intriguing, mysterious and unpredictable, and even moments when I gasped in shock, which is exactly what you would want from the detective TV genre.
Having said this, I’m afraid these Agatha Christie classics were not executed very well. Williams’ acting, amongst other minor characters, tended to be quite robotic and un-emotional; you wondered whether it was a dress rehearsal or the episode. It was Jessica Raine’s character Tuppence, wife of Walliams in the series, that held the show together. She has also featured in Call The Midwife, another BBC classic, and her superb and convincing acting is second to none.
I look forward to the other episodes to see how the series and the story plays out, however, it is simply something to entertain you on a lazy Sunday night rather than anything to rave about.