Although I think Margaret Rutherford was spunky and Angela Lansbury vigorous as two incarnations of Miss Marple, the overwhelming consensus is that Joan Hickson played the role true to the character as written by Agatha Christie.
Joan Hickson, as Miss Marple (photo from wikipedia)
Then along came Geraldine McEwan in a snazzy or jazzy new version of Miss Marple, complete with bold technicolor costumes, makeup, and haircolor as well as alittle bit of raciness absent from Hickson's era. They also changed things up alittle bit as to the storylines, and I wasn't sure how to assimilate all of that. It was just so different. But I had to respect that they wanted to do something different because, let's face it, they couldn't compete with perfection. They were creating a Miss Marple for the next generation, and I grew to like it. I heard that McEwan's productions were very well received and I can see why. They also invited another Doctor to participate in an episode - Tom Baker no less. I was sad to see that he didn't get as much air time as Peter Davison did in his episode, but alittle bit of Baker is better than none at all.
Now McEwan has retired and a new actress is stepping into those sensible shoes. Julia McKenzie is the 7th screen Miss Marple, and she is rearing to go with the first episode announced to be "A Pocketful of Rye". I think it is set to film this year, and perhaps it has already been filmed. On IMDB, the cast list looks mighty nice with Fawlty Towers' Prunella Scales, Are You Being Served's Wendy Richard, and Helen Baxendale of An Unsuitable Job for a Woman and Friends fame. I can't wait to see this new incarnation of both the character and the setting, the actress and the production values. If anyone knows when this is coming out on PBS or otherwise, please comment!
first look at Julia McKenzie as the new Miss Marple (photo from wikipedia)