More old pussycats please and less foxy young things

TOO SLINKY Can Jennifer Garner really do Miss Marple justice?
TOO SLINKY Can Jennifer Garner really do Miss Marple justice?
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That Miss Marple already has a lot to answer for.

She’s the reason I can’t watch murder mysteries when I’m on my own in the house. Not even the hilariously unrealistic ones like Midsomer Murders and Columbo.

It’s also her fault that I’m already a little bit suspicious of all old ladies – especially the ones who ask lots of questions while fixing you with a smile and a mildly quizzical stare. You know the sort. They’ve spent so many decades sniffing out lies, half-truths and saucy goings-on that it’s become second nature to them.

Admittedly, there aren’t many Joan Hickson-like ladies left in the world – especially not in the Portsmouth/Gosport area.

But it’s that actress I think of first when I’m re-reading one of Agatha Christie’s greatest murder mystery novels.

Forget preening Poirot with his rather stupid moustache and uppity arrogance. It’s Marple all the way for me.

And that’s why I’m gutted that, like all production companies, the one that’s decided to bring Miss Marple back hasn’t been able to resist the temptation to meddle.

The impossibly slinky Jennifer Garner is all set to play the felt-hatted one in a Disney adaptation and that’s just daft.

I’ve got nothing against Garner, I’m reliably told she looks smashing in a catsuit.

But Miss Marple is an old pussycat of a character – not a young fox. Christie based entire plots around that fact. What gives Disney the right to come crashing in and make such a fundamental change?

As far as I’m concerned it’s the first step on a very steep and slippery hill. Before you know it Tom Cruise will be playing Quincy M.E and Justin Bieber will have elbowed Kenneth Branagh out of the way to become Kurt Wallander.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older myself, but things like this really get on my nerves. Thirty years ago we didn’t insist that everyone who appeared on our TV or cinema screens had to be a vision of perfection.

In the past we accepted flaws and age as interesting. With the exception of the usual suspects – Helen Mirren and Judi Dench included – it feels like those things are now no longer accepted.