June 18, 1937 on UK TV: Agatha Christie’s “Wasp’s Nest”

TV-UK-06-18-1937Wasp’s Nest was a television play broadcast on the BBC Television Service. It was adapted from the short story of the same name by crime writer Agatha Christie which had first appeared in the Daily Mail on 20 November 1928 and first appeared in book form in the US collection Double Sin and Other Stories in 1961. It first appeared in a UK collection in Poirot’s Early Cases in 1974.

The play is unique in that it is the only instance of Christie adapting one of her works for television, a medium she later came to dislike. It was broadcast live from Alexandra Palace as part of the programme Theatre Parade. The broadcast took place at 3.35 pm and lasted for twenty-five minutes. It was then repeated the same evening at 9.40 pm and lasted for twenty minutes. Theatre Parade usually showcased successful stage shows of the time but in this instance presented an original work.

The play was only broadcast in the London area as this was the only part of the UK that could receive television transmissions at this time. Neither transmissions were recorded for future viewing as television recording equipment had not been invented at this point in time.

The play is notable for starring Francis L. Sullivan in the part of Hercule Poirot, reprising his portrayal of the character following his success in the stage play Black Coffee in 1930. [Wikipedia]

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