Agatha Christie's Poirot

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Agatha Christie's Poirot
GenreCrime drama
StarringDavid Suchet
Hugh Fraser
Philip Jackson
Pauline Moran
Zoë Wanamaker
Composer(s)Christopher Gunning (Series 1-10), Stephen McKeon (Series 10-11), Christian Henson (Series 12-13)
Country of originUK
No. of series13
No. of episodes70 (List of episodes)
Running time36 x ~50 minutes
34 x ~89-102 minutes
Production company(s)LWT (1989-2002)
LWT Productions (1989-1996)
Granada Productions (2002-2008)
Agatha Christie Ltd. (1989-2013)
ITV Productions (2008-2009)
ITV Studios (2009-2013)
WGBH Boston (2003-2013)
Carnival Films (1993-1994)
Picture Parentship Productions (1994-1996)
Original channelITV, STV, UTV
Original run8 January 1989 (1989-01-08) – 13 November 2013 (2013-11-13)
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Agatha Christie's Poirot
GenreCrime drama
StarringDavid Suchet
Hugh Fraser
Philip Jackson
Pauline Moran
Zoë Wanamaker
Composer(s)Christopher Gunning (Series 1-10), Stephen McKeon (Series 10-11), Christian Henson (Series 12-13)
Country of originUK
No. of series13
No. of episodes70 (List of episodes)
Running time36 x ~50 minutes
34 x ~89-102 minutes
Production company(s)LWT (1989-2002)
LWT Productions (1989-1996)
Granada Productions (2002-2008)
Agatha Christie Ltd. (1989-2013)
ITV Productions (2008-2009)
ITV Studios (2009-2013)
WGBH Boston (2003-2013)
Carnival Films (1993-1994)
Picture Parentship Productions (1994-1996)
Original channelITV, STV, UTV
Original run8 January 1989 (1989-01-08) – 13 November 2013 (2013-11-13)

Agatha Christie's Poirot is a British television drama that aired on ITV from 8 January 1989 to 13 November 2013. David Suchet stars as the eponymous detective, Agatha Christie's fictional Hercule Poirot. Initially produced by LWT, the series was later produced by ITV Studios. In the United States, PBS and A&E have aired it as Poirot.

At the programme's conclusion, which finished with Curtain, based on the final Poirot novel,[1] every major literary work by Christie that featured the title character had been adapted.[2]

Regular cast[edit]

David SuchetHercule PoirotVarious1–131989–2013
Hugh FraserArthur HastingsCaptain OBE1–8, 131989–2002, 2013
Philip JacksonJames JappChief Inspector (series 1-8)
Assistant Commissioner (series 13)
1–8, 131989–2001, 2013
Pauline MoranFelicity LemonSecretary1–3, 5–8, 131989–1991, 1993–2001, 2013
Zoë WanamakerAriadne OliverCrime novelist10–132006–2013
David YellandGeorgeValet10–132006–2013


Florin Court was used to represent Whitehaven Mansions

Originally titled Poirot, each episode opened with the same titles until Series 9 (2003). Clive Exton in partnership with producer Brian Eastman adapted the pilot. Together, they wrote and produced Series 1-8, respectively. Exton and Eastman left Poirot in 2003, when they began work on Rosemary & Thyme. Michele Buck and Damien Timmer, who both went on to form Mammoth Screen, were behind the revamping of the series.[3] The episodes aired in 2004 onward featured a noticeable downplaying of the humour of the earlier series. The previous opening titles were dropped and only sombre arrangements of the original theme music are infrequently heard, which has been described as a consequence of the novels adapted being darker and more psychologically driven.[4] However, a more upbeat string arrangement of the theme music is used for the end credits of Hallowe'en Party, The Clocks and Dead Man's Folly. The visual style of later episodes was noticeably different from earlier episodes: particularly, austere modernist or Art Deco locations and decor, widely used earlier in the series, were largely dropped in favour of more lavish settings (epitomised by the re-imagining of Poirot's home as a larger, more lavish apartment).[5]

Series 9-12 lack Hugh Fraser, Phillip Jackson, and Pauline Moran, who had appeared in the previous series (excepting series 4, where Moran is absent). Series 10 (2006) introduced Zoë Wanamaker as the eccentric crime novelist Ariadne Oliver and David Yelland as Poirot's dependable valet, George - a character that had been introduced in the early Poirot novels, but was left out of the early adaptations in order to develop the character of Miss Lemon. The introduction of Wanamaker and Yelland's characters and the absence of the other characters is generally consistent with the stories on which the scripts were based. ITV confirmed that Hugh Fraser will be returning for two episodes of the final series (The Big Four and Curtain), with Phillip Jackson, Pauline Moran[6] and David Yelland[7] returning for the adaptation of The Big Four. It was also confirmed that Zoe Wanamaker would return for the adaptations of Elephants Can Remember and Dead Man's Folly.

Clive Exton adapted seven novels and fourteen short stories for the series, including The ABC Murders and, more controversially, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd,[8] which received mixed reviews from critics.[4] Anthony Horowitz was another prolific writer for the series, adapting three novels and nine short stories,[9] while Nick Dear adapted six novels. Comedian and novelist Mark Gatiss has written three episodes and also guest-starred in the series,[10] as have Peter Flannery and Kevin Elyot. Ian Hallard, who co-wrote the screenplay for The Big Four with his partner Mark Gatiss, appears in the episode and also Hallowe'en Party, which was scripted by Mark Gatiss alone.

Florin Court in Charterhouse Square, London, was used as Poirot's fictional London residence, Whitehaven Mansions.[11] The final episode to be filmed was "Dead Man's Folly" in June 2013 on the Greenway Estate (which was Agatha Christie's home) broadcast on 30 October 2013.[12]


Suchet was recommended for the part by Christie's family, who had seen him appear as Blott in the TV adaptation of Tom Sharpe's Blott on the Landscape.[13] Suchet said that he prepared for the part by reading all the Poirot novels and every short story, and copying out every piece of description about the character.[14][15][16] Suchet told Strand Magazine: "What I did was, I had my file on one side of me and a pile of stories on the other side and day after day, week after week, I ploughed through most of Agatha Christie's novels about Hercule Poirot and wrote down characteristics until I had a file full of documentation of the character. And then it was my business not only to know what he was like, but to gradually become him. I had to become him before we started shooting."[17] During the filming of the first series, Suchet almost left the production during an argument with a director, insisting that Poirot's odd mannerisms (in this case, putting a handkerchief down before sitting on a park bench) be featured.[18]

According to many critics and enthusiasts, Suchet's characterisation is considered to be the most accurate interpretation of all the actors who have played Poirot, and the closest to the character in the books.[19] In 2013, Suchet revealed that Christie's daughter Rosalind Hicks had told him she was sure Christie would have approved of his performance.[20]

In 2007, Suchet spoke of his desire to film the remaining stories in the canon and hoped to achieve this before his 65th birthday in May 2011.[21] Despite speculation of cancellation early in 2011, it was announced on 14 November 2011 that the remaining books would be adapted into a thirteenth series to be filmed in 2012.[22] The remaining books were finally adapted in 2013 into 5 episodes, from which, Curtain, was aired last in 13 November 2013.




Alongside recurring characters, the early series featured actors who later achieved greater fame, including Joely Richardson, (The Dream, 1989), Polly Walker (Peril at End House, 1990), Samantha Bond, (The Adventure of the Cheap Flat, 1990), Christopher Eccleston (One, Two, Buckle My Shoe, 1992), Hermione Norris (Jewel Robbery at The Grand Metropolitan, 1993), Damian Lewis (Hickory Dickory Dock, 1995), Jamie Bamber (The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, 2000), Russell Tovey (Evil Under the Sun, 2001), Emily Blunt (Death on the Nile, 2004), Alice Eve (The Mystery of the Blue Train, 2005), Michael Fassbender (After the Funeral, 2006) and Jessica Chastain (Murder on the Orient Express, 2010).

Two Academy Award nominees have appeared in the series: Sarah Miles and Barbara Hershey. Additionally, Jessica Chastain received her first Academy Award nomination the year after her performance in Poirot. Several members of British thespian families appeared in episodes throughout the course of the series. James Fox appeared as Colonel Race in Death on the Nile, and his older brother Edward Fox appeared as Gudgeon in The Hollow.[23] Three of the Cusack sisters each appeared in an episode: Niamh Cusack in The King of Clubs, Sorcha Cusack in Jewel Robbery at The Grand Metropolitan, and Sinéad Cusack in Dead Man's Folly.

Multiple roles[edit]

Fifteen actors have played multiple characters:

Nicholas Farrell[24]Donald FraserThe ABC Murders (1992)
Major KnightonThe Mystery of the Blue Train (2005)
Pip TorrensMajor RichThe Mystery of the Spanish Chest (1991)
Jeremy CloadeTaken at the Flood (2006)
Simon ShepherdDavid HallJewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan (1993)
Dr. RendellMrs McGinty's Dead (2008)
Richard LinternJohn LakeDead Man's Mirror (1993)
Guy CarpenterMrs McGinty's Dead (2008)
Carol MacReady[25]Mildred CroftPeril at End House (1990)
Miss JohnsonCat Among the Pigeons (2008)
Beth GoddardViolet WilsonThe Case of the Missing Will (1993)
Sister AgnieszkaAppointment with Death (2008)
Lucy LiemannMiss BurgessCards on the Table (2005)
SoniaThird Girl (2008)
David YellandLaverton WestMurder in the Mews (1989)
George (recurring, 2010-2013)
Fenella WoolgarEllisLord Edgware Dies
Elizabeth WhittakerHallowe'en Party (2010)
Beatie EdneyMary CavendishThe Mysterious Affair at Styles (1990)
Beryl HemmingsThe Clocks (2011)
Frances BarberLady Millicent Castle-VaughanThe Veiled Lady (1990)
Merlina RivalThe Clocks (2011)
Sean PertweeRonnie OglanderThe King of Clubs (1989)
Sir George StubbsDead Man's Folly (2013)
Danny WebbPorterThe Adventure of the Clapham Cook (1989)
Superintendent Bill GarrowayElephants Can Remember (2013)
Ian HallardEdmund DrakeHallowe'en Party (2010)
MercutioThe Big Four (2013)
Barbara BarnesMrs LesterThe Lost Mine (1990)
Louise LeidnerMurder in Mesopotamia (2002)


Agatha Christie's grandson Mathew has commented: "Personally, I regret very much that she (Agatha Christie) never saw David Suchet. I think that visually he is much the most convincing and perhaps he manages to convey to the viewer just enough of the irritation that we always associate with the perfectionist, to be convincing!"[26]

More recently, the series has been described by some critics as going "off piste",[27] though not negatively, from its old format. It has been praised for its new writers, more lavish productions and a greater emphasis on the darker psychology of the novels. Significantly, it was noted for Five Little Pigs (adapted by Kevin Elyot) bringing out a homosexual subtext of the novel.[4] Nominations for twenty BAFTAs were received between 1989 and 1991 for series 1-3.[28]

List of awards and nominations
AwardDate of ceremonyCategoryNomineeResult
British Academy Television Awards (1990)1990Best Original Television MusicChristopher GunningWon
British Academy Television Craft Awards (1990)1990Best Costume DesignLinda Mattock (Series 1, Episodes 2, 4, 7-8, 10)Won
Sue Thomson (Series 1, Episodes 1, 3, 5-6, 9)Nominated
Best Make-upHilary Martin, Christine Cant, Roseann SamuelWon
Best DesignRob Harris (Series 1, Episodes 1-2, 5, 8, 10)Nominated
Best GraphicsPat GavinWon
British Academy Television Awards (1991)1991Best ActorDavid SuchetNominated
Best Drama Series or SerialBrian EastmanNominated
British Academy Television Craft Awards (1991)1991Best Costume DesignLinda Mattock, Sharon LewisNominated
Best Film SoundKen Weston, Rupert Scrivener, Sound TeamNominated
RTS Television Awards (1991)1991Best Tape or Film Editing - DramaDerek BainNominated
British Academy Television Awards (1992)1992Best Original Television MusicChristopher GunningNominated
Best Drama Series or SerialBrian EastmanNominated
British Academy Television Craft Awards (1992)1992Best Costume DesignRobin Fraser-Paye (Series 3, Episodes 1, 4-5, 9-10)Nominated
Elizabeth Waller (Series 3, Episodes 2-3, 6-8)Nominated
Best Make-upJanis Gould (Series 3, Episodes 2-3, 6-8)Nominated
Edgar Awards (1992)1992Best Episode in a TV SeriesThe Lost MineWon[29]
Satellite Award (2010)2010Best Actor – Miniseries or Television FilmDavid SuchetNominated
PGA Awards (2010)2011Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television"Murder on the Orient Express (2010)"Nominated

DVD and Blu-ray releases[edit]

In the UK, ITV Studios Home Entertainment owns the home media rights.

In Region 1, Acorn Media has the rights to series 1-6 and 11-12. Series 7-10 are distributed by A&E, a co-producers on several of them. In North America, series 1–6 are available on Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Streaming service. In Region 4, Acorn Media (distributed by Reel DVD) has begun releasing the series on DVD in Australia in complete season sets. To date, they have released the first 8 series of the show.[30] Series 1-9 and 12 are available in Spain (Region 2) on Blu-ray with Spanish and English audio tracks. Dutch FilmWorks were reported to be the first company to release series 12, in 2010.

Release TitleSeriesNo. of DVDsNo. of Blu-ray DiscsRelease DateEpisode No.Region No.Released by
The Complete Collection[31]1-1128N/A30 March 20091-612ITV Studios
The Complete Collection[32]1-1232N/A15 August 20121-652ITV Studios
The Definite Collection[33]1-1335N/A18 November 20131-702ITV Studios
The Early Cases1-618[34]1323 October 20121-451Acorn Media
The Definitive Collection7-1012[35]N/A25 January 201146-571A&E Home Video
The Movie Collection - Set 4113[36]N/A7 July 200958-591Acorn Media
The Movie Collection - Set 511-123[37]N/A27 July 201060-61, 641Acorn Media
Murder on the Orient Express12N/A1[38]26 October 2010641Acorn Media
The Movie Collection - Set 6123[39]312 July 201162-63, 651Acorn Media

Being Poirot[edit]

Being Poirot is a 50 minute television programme in which David Suchet attempts to unravel the mysterious appeal of Hercule Poirot and how he portayed him. Broadcast in the United Kingdom on the same evening as the final episode “Curtain”.

Suchet visited Greenway, Agatha Christie's summer home recollecting how he met her daughter Rosylyn and her husband Anthony Hicks for their approval before he began filming. He now meets Christies grandson Matthew Pritchard who recounts how his grandmother found the character amongst Belgium refugees in Torquay. A visit to the permanent Poirot exhibition at Torquay Museum to which he presented the cane he used in the television series.

Suchet acknowledged the first stage and film adaptations of the books with actors such as Charles Laughton on the London stage in "Alibi", an adaptation of "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd", in 1928. "Alibi" was filmed in 1931 with Austin Trevor but is now lost. The oldest surviving film portrayal from 1934 was "Lord Edgware Dies" again with Austin Trevor portraying Poirot. Suchet notes a conscious decision was made by the film company to portray Poirot without a moustache. Films featuring Albert Finney and Peter Ustinov were also featured and Suchet reveals he read the books and wrote down 93 notes of the character that he would use in his portrayal and for him it was discovering the voice he would use and the rapid mincing gait featured in the books.

Suchet also goes to Florin Court that the production company found to represent his home Whitehaven Mansions. There he meets first producer Brian Eastham where they discuss the set that was built based on the flats. and Eastham.s decision to fix the stories in 1936. Suchet also visits composer Christopher Gunning who had composed four themes for Eastham to choose, the first being Gunning's favourite. Eastham chose the fourth after having Gunning darken the tone.

Suchet travels to Brussells and is feted by the police chief and mayor and goes to Ellezelles which claims to be the birthplace of Poirot. and is shown a birth certificate as proof. Suchet travels on the Orient Express and recounts filming the episode “Dead Man's Folly” last at Greenway to finish on a high note.


  1. ^ Stuart Kemp. "'Agatha Christie's Poirot's' Final Season Snags Healthy Pre-Sales". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c "BFI Screenonline: 'Agatha Christie's Poirot' (1989-)". Retrieved 3 March 2009. 
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  6. ^ "Hugh Fraser, Philip Jackson and Pauline Moran are reunited with David Suchet for Agatha Christie’s The Big Four.". ITV Press Centre. 18 February 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2013. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Clive Exton – Obituaries, News". London: The Independent. 18 August 2007. Retrieved 3 March 2009. 
  9. ^ "Work: Television". Anthony Horowitz. Archived from the original on 13 February 2009. Retrieved 3 March 2009. 
  10. ^ "Cat among the Pigeons". Retrieved 3 March 2009. 
  11. ^ Agatha Christie's Poirot (1989-) Screen online accessed 19 Jun 2007
  12. ^ National trust Greenaway House Retrieved 30 October 2013
  13. ^ Walton, James (9 September 2008). "David Suchet: Poirot". London: Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 March 2009. Retrieved 3 March 2009. 
  14. ^ Interview: Dillin, John. "The Actor Behind Popular 'Poirot'", The Christian Science Monitor, 25 March 1992.
  15. ^ Interview: Dudley, Jane. "Award-winning actor David Suchet plays Robert Maxwell in a gripping account of the dramatic final stage of the media tycoon's life", BBC.
  16. ^ Interview: Dudley, Jane. "Inside the mind of a media monster", Yorkshire Post. 27 April 2007.
  17. ^ J.D. Hobbs. "Suchet's Poirot". Archived from the original on 11 March 2009. Retrieved 3 March 2009. 
  18. ^ David Suchet reveals he almost quit Poirot during the first series after an argument over a hanky [1], The Mirror. 29 October 2013.
  19. ^ "Drama Faces – David Suchet". BBC. Archived from the original on 3 February 2009. Retrieved 3 March 2009. 
  20. ^ Curtain: Press Packet
  21. ^ "Meet the man behind the character". 2007-06-18. Archived from the original on 19 June 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-26.  (Interview with David Suchet)
  22. ^ Morgan Jeffrey (14 November 2011). "Poirot to return for final series on ITV". Digital Spy. 
  23. ^ "Agatha Christie's Poirot". 13 July 2007. 
  24. ^ "Nicholas Farrell". Archived from the original on 3 February 2009. Retrieved 3 March 2009. 
  25. ^ "Carol MacReady". Archived from the original on 31 January 2009. Retrieved 3 March 2009. 
  26. ^ "Agatha Christie: Characters: Poirot". Agatha Christie Limited. Archived from the original on 27 February 2009. Retrieved 3 March 2009. 
  27. ^ Staff (26 September 2008). "Square Eyes 26–28 September". Retrieved 3 March 2009. 
  28. ^ "BAFTA Awards Database". Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  29. ^ "The Edgar Awards Database". Myster Writers of America ( Retrieved 26 May 2009. 
  30. ^ "EzyDVD Search:- Poirot". Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  31. ^ "Agatha Christie's Poirot - Complete Series 1-11 [DVD]". Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  32. ^ "Agatha Christie's Poirot - The Complete Series 1-12 [DVD]". Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  33. ^ "Agatha Christie's Poirot - The Definitive Collection (Series 1-13) [DVD]". Retrieved 20 November 2013. 
  34. ^ "Agatha Christie's Poirot: The Early Cases - DVD (1989)". Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  35. ^ "Agatha Christie Poirot: Definitive Collection - DVD (2010)". Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  36. ^ "Agatha Christie's Poirot: The Movie Collection - Set 4 (DVD)". Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  37. ^ "Agatha Christie's Poirot: The Movie Collection - Set 5 (DVD)". Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  38. ^ "Agatha Christie's Poirot: Murder on the Orient Express [Blu-ray]". Retrieved 26 May 2013. 
  39. ^ "Agatha Christie's Poirot: The Movie Collection - Set 6 (DVD)". Retrieved 26 May 2013. 

External links[edit]