Cracking Agatha Christie's Secret Code

Academics solve writer's secret for Drama launch


Create a news story for the UKTV Channel Drama to highlight the channel’s key summer programming strands


One of the key prioriity shows in the summer schedule was ‘the Agatha Christie Hour’ which aired from 3rd August.

Research by the team noted that this year was the 125th anniversary year of best-selling novelist Agatha Christie’s birth

This fact provided us with a newsworthy hook on which to build our creative which could best be summarised as follows:

Anniversary hook + celebrity + creative + academic research = successful news story

The Campaign:

We devised and executed a new study aimed at  revealing the formula to Christie’s success, as well as a method to predict ‘whodunnit’ in each of her novels.

We started by engaging a panel of experts including Dr Dominique Jeannerod, Senior Research Fellow at Queens University; data analyst Brett Jacob; and Dr James Bernthal, who also acted as our spokesperson for the story.

Our experts studied 27 of Christie’s best-selling detective titles, comparing the structure, language and key features, to unveil repetitions and trends across her work.

The findings revealed a number of news worthy hooks including; where the novel is set, the primary means of transport used throughout the book, how the characters are described and how the victim dies, are all key factors that give away who the killer is.

Brett Jacob then compiled the research data collected by Dr Bernthal and Dr Jeannerod into a mathematical formula.

The Formula:


The Results

The news story ran on the day the Agatha Christie Hour first aired to maximise noise about the programme, and was picked up by print publications including Daily Telegraph (with front cover lead), The Times, The Guardian, The Sun, Daily Express and Daily Mail, as well as regional print coverage including The Irish Times and The Irish Sun. 


 150+ online pieces were secured including Mail Online, Telegraph Online, Times Online, Independent Online, Guardian Online, Huffington Post, Yahoo UK News and

19 radio interviews were secured for our spokesperson, Dr Jamie Bernthal, including BBC World Service and LBC, also on the day of TX for the Agatha Christie Hour.


To date, 7 national print articles, 11 regional print pieces, 19 broadcast interviews and over 150 online pieces have been secured for the story – with a combined total reach of over 519,745,268.