One of the more surreal comments made about the houseboat has been that 'she looks straight out of Miss Marple or Poirot.' Some of the crew are very keen on Dame Agatha Christie's work and indeed the stylish era of the 1920's to 1960's. The 'Queen of Crime' had close links to Norfolk and she often travelled by train via Wroxham to visit friends in North Walsham.
One of the Miss Marple stories, 'The Moving Finger,' was actually filmed on location in Norfolk by the BBC as part of their seminal television series which ran from 1984 to 1992. The series is a particular favourite of ours. With Joan Hickson playing Miss Marple, we believe they are the most faithful portrayal of Christie's unassuming, amateur lady detective. The films capture the canny and moral character of the elderly spinster perfectly. The triumphant production pictured the late nineteen forties and early fifties with seamless period detail, laced together with sumptuous music. We have been most fortunate in being able to procure the original music of the series written by multi-talented composing duo Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley. Ken Howard very kindly wrote the following narrative specifically for us about their collaborative work for the Miss Marple series:
The Miss Marple commission came about through an association with Guy Slater and George Gallaccio, who were producing the series for the BBC. They wanted something quintessentially English and Alan and I first came up with the title melody, which they loved, followed by the St Mary Mead theme.
The talented Andy Findon is featured on oboe in the recordings and John Altman arranged and conducted. 'Consort' is the name we gave to the studio orchestra for the EMI single ('Consort' was also used for By the Sword Divided) and Video Symphonic for the EMI cassette and CD.
The Marple series were tremendous fun to work on, since each film had a different setting and cast, and required specific and very varied 'mood' music from the Rachmaninov-esque 4.50 from Paddington to the steel band of A Caribbean Mystery. Each episode started with a meeting with the Director who would explain how he envisaged the music would be featured - most often to personify a character or enhance emotion, but sometimes to work in contrast to the visual to create a disconcerting mood, which is often an interesting use of the musical soundtrack.