Agatha Christie's Poirot

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Agatha Christie's Poirot
POIROT.png
Genre Crime drama
Starring David Suchet
Hugh Fraser
Philip Jackson
Pauline Moran
Zoë Wanamaker
Composer(s) Christopher Gunning (Series 1–9),
Stephen McKeon (Series 10–11),
Christian Henson (Series 12–13)
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 13
No. of episodes 70 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 36 x ~50 minutes
34 x ~89–102 minutes
Production company(s) LWT (1989–2002)
LWT Productions (1989–96)
Granada Productions (2002–8)
Agatha Christie Ltd. (1989–2013)
ITV Productions (2008–9)
ITV Studios (2009–13)
WGBH Boston (2008–13)
Carnival Films (1993–94)
Picture Partnership Productions (1994–96)
Broadcast
Original channel ITV, STV, UTV
Original run 8 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]

Episodes[edit]

Production[edit]

Clive Exton in partnership with producer Brian Eastman adapted the pilot. Together, they wrote and produced the first eight series. Exton and Eastman left Poirot after 2001, 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 from 2003 featured a noticeable downplaying of the humour of the earlier series. The series logo was redesigned (the full opening title sequence had not been used since series 6 in 1996), and the main theme motif was heard only rarely and in a more sombre arrangement; this 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]

Florin Court was used to represent Whitehaven Mansions

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. Hugh Fraser and David Yelland[6] returned for two episodes of the final series: (The Big Four and Curtain), with Phillip Jackson and Pauline Moran[7] returning for the adaptation of The Big Four. Zoe Wanamaker also returned 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]

Casting[edit]

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. A 2013 television special, "Being Poirot", centered on Suchet's characterisation and his emotional final episode.

Development[edit]

Actors[edit]