Bill Nighy Talks About His Role in “Ordeal by Innocence”

After being removed from the BBC’s Christmas lineup, Ordeal by Innocence finally graced our TV screens this Easter weekend. Bill Nighy (Rufus Scrimgeour) has spoken to the Independent about his role in this three-episode adaptation of Agatha Christie’s detective story.

Ordeal by Innocence was originally scheduled for release in December 2017 but was postponed due to reshoots. Set in the 1950s, this eagerly anticipated miniseries centers on a murder that was thought to have already been solved. Nighy plays Leo Argyll, an amateur Egyptologist and head of an aristocratic family of five, all of whom become suspects in the murder case.

I play Leo [Argyll] and he and his wife have adopted five children, four of whom have what you might call very shaky pasts…So everyone looks very shifty and hopefully the audience will bounce around trying to work out who’s the culprit.

Ordeal by Innocence is often considered to be one of Agatha Christie’s best detective stories and was one of her personal favorites. Despite having read all of Christie’s books, Nighy revealed that he did not reread the source material before filming, believing that “you don’t need all that information that may or may not have survived into the script.”

In a light-hearted anecdote, Nighy also revealed that working on the series brought back memories of a time when he was wrongly accused. He told the Independent of a time at school in which he was accused of misbehaving when, in fact, the real culprit was standing next to him. However, unlike a typical detective story, his name was cleared when the wrongdoing student went to the headmaster to confess, which, according to Nighy, was “quite a big deal” at the time.

Nighy also spoke briefly about his career in film and television, including his role in the holiday favorite Love Actually. The popular film often dominates TV screens at Christmas, but it isn’t something you’ll find Nighy watching – as he told the Independent, he doesn’t watch his own work.

I don’t watch anything I’m in…I tried that when I was young and it was awful.

This means that it’s unlikely that Nighy watched the first episode of Ordeal by Innocence when it aired this Sunday on BBC One. However, with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s Anthony Boyle (Scorpius Malfoy) also starring in the series, we definitely think it’s worth tuning in!

The remaining two episodes of Ordeal by Innocence air on April 8 and April 15. There is no word on a US air date yet, but you can watch the trailer below.


Lucy O'Shea

I was given a copy of Philosopher's Stone in 2001, and instantly, I was hooked. Since then, my passion for Potter has been equaled only by my passion for fair access to education (and watching motorsport). A spell I wish could exist in the Muggle world is the summoning charm because this Hufflepuff is not a "particularly good finder"!