With Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll at the helm, Britbox series Murder in Provence is certainly watchable but curious indeed
“It’s very…Agatha Christie”
In the flurry of Britbox’s recent original programming, Murder in Provence was in a little danger of getting lost in the crowd of my never-shrinking to-watch list. But having Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll as its leads, along with Keala Settle and Kirsty Bushell in recurring roles, there was never any danger of it staying (a la The Sopranos, The Wire etc etc).
Adapted from the Verlaque and Bonnet series of detective novels by ML Longworth, this first series covers three cases of murder and misdeeds in Aix-en-Provence et ses environs. Allam plays investigative judge Antoine Verlaque and Carroll criminal psychology professor Marine Bonnet, his partner in love and life.
It’s all fine enough, in a Midsomer Murders in the South of France kinda way, but there is something incredibly baffling about the Anglophone approach here. They’re all playing French characters – with impeccable accents when reciting names of people or places – but mostly speaking RP which completely undermines any sense of Gallic identity to this cast.
The beauty of the Provençal location work and a quality supporting cast (Patricia Hodge, Sam Barnett and John Light are just of the names) means that the show is never less than thoroughly watchable. But there is always that slightly niggling question of ‘but why?’ in such a crowded detective show marketplace.