Have you seen the one about the retired amateur tennis player who arranges for his wife to be murdered?

The nationwide tour of Dial M For Murder rolls into Richmond on Tuesday, depicting the story made famous by Alfred Hitchcock's film, writes Tom Ambrose.

Retired tennis player Tony is absolutely convinced his wife is having an affair and in turn, plans what appears, on the surface, to be the perfect murder.

Mesmerising, claustrophobic and frightening, director Lucy Bailey’s take on the Frederick Knott screenplay offers a brilliant and erotic interpretation on this tale of passion and murder.

Christopher Timothy, of Doctors fame, plays the man tasked with solving the murder, Inspector Hubbard, and admits he took some convincing to join the cast.

He says: “It is not so much a whodunnit but rather a will-he-get-away-with-it.

“To be honest, it was the director, Lucy’s, enthusiasm that really sold it to me - I had only seen the Hitchcock film three or four months before being offered the job.

“My first reaction was that it is a bit old hat. It is not one of his best movies, which is strange as there are lots of exciting things going on.

“But I spoke to Lucy before I read it to let her know I was interested and her enthusiasm delayed any doubts that I might have had.

“She talked to me about her ideas and a lot of it, I didn’t understand but what I did understand together with her enthusiasm had it sold to me.”

And the man renowned for his role as James Herriott in 1980s series All Creatures Great and Small says that now he “really loves it”.

“I am working with people I really like and respect,” he says.

“It is up there with all the jobs I have done and enjoyed and the only difficulty is my character waits an hour to make his first appearance on stage.

“He [Inspector Hubbard] has been around for a long time, he is clever but he does make mistakes.”

The murder thriller opens at Richmond Theatre next week and Timothy says he is looking forward to treading the boards at an establishment he knows well.

He says: “I have performed at Richmond many, many times. In fact I did my first pantomime there.

“And my second panto was at Richmond too, with Les Dawson.”

Dial M For Murder; Richmond Theatre, the Green, Richmond; April 1-5, 2.30pm matinee performances, 7.30pm evening performances; tickets £11.90-£37.90; visit atgtickets.com/richmond or call 0844 8717651.