The lighting is glorious, the production values are beyond high, hats sit at a jaunty angle and the tea cups are all perfectly tinkly… so why does this much-hyped Agatha Christie adaptation 'Partners in Crime' feel so misplaced on a Sunday evening, with a lightness, okay I mean shallowness, more appropriate for a CBBC slot?
David Walliams and Jessica Raine star as Tommy and Tuppence, a 1920's married pair of accidental crime-solvers brought here into 1952 and an accidental espionage plot that somehow seems more enticing than Tommy's bee-keeping business.
Jessica Raine and David Walliams star in 'Partners in Crime', based on two of Agatha Christie's lesser sleuths
The plot seemed almost spoof-like in its complexity, at one point a magnifying glass inspection of a photo led them to an opera singer - no, me neither - but somehow, when it was David Suchet as Poirot or Joan Hickson as Miss Marple unfathoming such riddles, it never seemed quite so nonsensical.
At risk of suffering comparison with those weightier predecessors, I can understand the decision to opt for this frothier, tip-the-wink fare, but the pedigree extras - James Fleet ('The Vicar of Dibley'), Clarke Peters (Lester from 'The Wire' no less!) - only serve the make the central pair more absurd, and the chemistry between them less than zero.
Sadly, because he's exec produced this, is obviously a huge Christie fan, AND because he's obviously a lovely fellow, much of the blame for this misfire must lie at David Walliams' door. A man of many talents, undoubtedly, he seems to realise they don't stretch to straight drama, and so leans back on the broad, camp approach that's worked for him so well in everything from 'Little Britain' to the 'BGT' panel.
However, here, it means that, try as she might to pick up the Christie baton and run with it, Jessica Raine's every scene is sabotaged by the risk of Walliams pursing his lip, and turning into the Prime Minister's jealous secretary, or some such. As a massive Christie fan myself, it's a sad conclusion to make that, this time around, Tuppence has been sorely short-changed.