All the A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder changes made by the BBC

The TV series adapts the first book in Holly Jackson's YA crime trilogy

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (BBC)
A Good Girl's Guide to Murder is based on the first book in Holly Jackson's acclaimed trilogy. (BBC)

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder has landed on BBC iPlayer, bringing Holly Jackson's incredible YA crime trilogy to life with a six-part series adapting the first novel.

Centred on teen and would-be sleuth Pip Fitz-Amobi (Emma Myers), the series sees her investigate the disappearance and apparent death of Andie Bell (India Lillie Davies) five years earlier. Everyone in her sleepy town of Little Kilton believe Andie's boyfriend Sal Singh (Rahul Pattni) did it after he confessed and died by suicide, but Pip is ready to prove otherwise.

For the most part, A Good Girl's Guide to Murder adapts Jackson's book with precision but there are a few noticeable differences that readers may notice.

Small things like social media have been modernised by swapping Facebook to Instagram to reflect current times, but there are some other things that have been changed in the BBC show's adaptation. Here are some of them, but be warned that this article contains spoilers for the series and book.

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (BBC)
A Good Girl's Guide to Murder sees Pip investigate the disappearance and apparent murder of teen Andie Bell to try and prove that her boyfriend Sal Singh wasn't responsible. (BBC)

Given the narrative is told over the course of six episodes there is a certain pace that the show has to take in order to get to the final reveals of Pip's investigation, what this does mean is that the show only scratches the surface of what she does in the book.

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In the book it is obvious how long Pip's investigation is, she interviews suspects multiple times and learns things about them —and others— as she goes. For readers this is good, because it makes them suspect multiple people over the course of the story, and their potential motive in the case.

For example, there are different characters in the book who are a contender for the "Secret Older Guy" that Andie was seeing before her apparent murder, but in the show there is a lot less time to question who it could be before the real person is revealed.

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (BBC)
Over the course of her investigation in the A Good Girl's Guide to Murder book, Pip learns of a lot more people Max Hastings has hurt than in the TV show. (BBC)

The TV show does include many of Pip's revelations, but some of them are delivered to viewers in a different way. In a way it is understandable, because visual mediums need to show things differently to how a book might lead readers on, but it does mean that a lot of the nuance is lost.

It also means that there are fewer interviews in the TV show than there are in the book, and as a result characters who are key players in the novel —like Nat Da Silva (Jessica Webber)— are only shown fleetingly in the series.

There are also characters like Max Hastings (Henry Ashton) whose actions are only touched upon in the show compared to what readers will learn in the first novel. Viewers will still come to the same conclusion about him, but the decision to limit how much they know after series 1 seems to be so that the narrative around him can be revisited in series 2.

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (BBC)
Mathew Baynton's Elliot Ward is a history teacher in the book but has been changed to an English teacher, likely as a nod to his Ghosts character Thomas Thorne, a Romantic poet. (BBC)

One very small change that seems to have been made for the purposes of being an Easter egg is the subject that Elliot Ward teaches at Pip's school. Played by Mathew Baynton, Elliot is an English teacher in the show whereas in the book he is a History teacher.

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There can only be one possible explanation for this: the subject was changed to give a subtle nod to Baynton's character in Ghosts, Thomas Thorne, who is a Romantic poet from the Regency era. There's even a board in Elliot's classroom about Romantic poets, so it seems too much of a coincidence not to be the case.

Calamity parties play a big role in the overall narrative of the A Good Girl's Guide to Murder series, and they have been updated slightly for the purpose of the TV show.

In the novel, calamity parties are secret events but they are also, ultimately, parties at someone's house. The vibe that the TV show is going for is more of an illegal rave, with parties being held in secret underground caves in the woods.

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (BBC)
A Good Girl's Guide to Murder TV show has made some subtle changes to the final confrontation to Becca Bell (Carla Woodcock, pictured) and Pip. (BBC)

Here's where we get into the real spoilers, the finale for A Good Girl's Guide to Murder reveals the truth that Andie Bell died after her sister Becca (Carla Woodcock) pushed her during an argument and exacerbated the head injury she got after a confrontation with Elliot Ward. It's also revealed that Becca hid her sisters body in a septic tank at a local farmhouse.

In the book, when Becca confesses this to Pip and drugs her with Rohypnol Pip runs into the woods to try and escape as the drugs take effect. It is nighttime and fireworks are going off, Becca catches up to her and tries to strangle her to death before changing her mind. Pip's dad and Ravi Singh (Zain Iqbal) then rush onto the scene and help her.

The show makes a subtle difference to this, Becca still confesses to what happened to Andie and drugs Pip but she offers to take Pip to where she hid Andie's body. It is revealed that she hid her sister's body in a septic tank in one of the underground tunnels used for a calamity party.

Becca then says that she has to do the same to Pip, and when she runs Becca tries to drag Pip back before being scared off when Ravi and Pip's friend Cara Ward (Asha Banks) find them after tracking Pip's phone. It's a less violent note to end the case on than in the book, but still effective nonetheless.

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder is out now on BBC iPlayer and will air on BBC Three later this month.