1981 Stage Adaptation
The book was adapted as a stage play in 1981, although without Poirot. It opened at London's Vaudeville Theatre on 9 December 1981 with Gordon Jackson as Superintendent Battle and a cast that included Derek Waring, Belinda Carroll, Mary Tamm and Patricia Driscoll. This followed Christie's trend of adapting Poirot novels as plays, but without Poirot as a detective, as she did not feel that any actor could portray him successfully.
ITV adapted the story into a television programme in the series Agatha Christie's Poirot starring David Suchet as Hercule Poirot and Zoë Wanamaker as Ariadne Oliver, which aired in the US on A&E Network in December 2005 and, in the UK, on ITV1 in March 2006. The adaptation, written by Nick Dear, differed radically from the source material, introducing the following changes:
- The motivations for the crimes committed are no longer about money but instead about homosexuality.
- Superintendent Battle (in the novel) is replaced by Superintendent Wheeler, and Colonel Race by Colonel Hughes.
- One of the sleuths, Superintendent Wheeler himself, has a shady past in the adaptation: Wheeler had been involved in a homosexual relationship with Shaitana and had allowed himself to be photographed with the latter in compromising positions.
- Dr Roberts is gay and has an affair with Mr Craddock. He murders the wife and continues the relationship with her husband.
- Mrs Lorrimer is shown to be the mother of Anne Meredith. Mrs Lorrimer is not murdered by Dr Roberts.
- Rhoda Dawes is the real killer of Mrs Benson and causes a rowing accident in which Anne Meredith falls into the water. In the novel, it is the other way around. Major Despard takes a fancy to Anne Meredith in the adaptation, whereas in the novel, he falls in love with Rhoda and it is Anne who dies of drowning.
- Mr Shaitana was a drug-user and tired of life. He knew he would be killed by one of his guests so he took sleeping pills to fall asleep and feel nothing when being killed.
Cards on the Table was adapted for radio by BBC Radio 4, featuring John Moffatt as Poirot.