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27 December 2016updated 03 Aug 2021 11:25am

From skin fetishes to hacking coughs: the most festive moments in The Witness for the Prosecution

This year’s Agatha Christie is a seasonally appropriate, not-at-all-bleak offering from the BBC.

By Anna Leszkiewicz

Christmas TV means two things: murder mysteries and period dramas. And if you’re lucky – both at once. Enter Witness for the Prosecution: an Agatha Christie adaptation starring Toby Jones and Kim Cattrall. You know, Agatha Christie, queen of twee crime fiction perfect for a quiet winter night in with the family. Here, we look back fondly at the most festive moments from Part One:

  • A young soldier runs, gasping, through cold and muddy trenches.
  • A straggly-haired, pale-faced girl appears to him, her face wrought with misery and disappointment.
  • A man leaves a wet, loveless kiss on the face of his wife, who pretends to be asleep in order to avoid confronting the torture of the moment.
  • A man coughs.
  • A lonely, creepy older woman discusses the “vigour”, “gleam”, and “heft” of young wartime men. “I like their skin,” she purrs to her young male companion.
  • She humiliates him by forcing him to bathe in front of her for money, feeding him (symbolic) cold pieces of meat in the process.
  • Water drips from the open grate in the ceiling of Toby Jones’ sad office.
  • A maid shivers in fear as blood drips from her shaking hands onto a soft cream carpet.
  • A fluffy cat licks dark blood from its matted, white fur.
  • A man is beaten in the face with a truncheon.
  • A man coughs again.
  • A bereaved woman slowly and methodically forces a sewing needle into her thumb. Blood spills from the tiny wound.
  • A man cries heavy sobs alone in a theatre as a show comes to an end. It was a matinée performance.
  • Endless, hacking coughs.
  • A horrible sex scene, starring Toby Jones, ends when he coughs up phlegm onto his wife’s face.
  • A different woman spits in her husband’s face.
  • A man coughs up blood.


Now listen to Anna discuss The Witness for the Prosecution on the SRSLY podcast’s Christmas TV special:

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