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
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
(2002–08)
Agatha Christie Ltd.
(1989–2013)
ITV Productions (2008–09)
ITV Studios (2009–13)
WGBH Boston (2008–13)
Carnival Films (1993–94)
Picture Partnership Productions (1994–96)
Release
Original channel ITV, STV, UTV
Original release 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]

Cast[edit]

Character Series
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
Hercule Poirot David Suchet
Captain Arthur Hastings Hugh Fraser Hugh Fraser
Chief Inspector James Japp Philip Jackson Philip Jackson
Miss Felicity Lemon Pauline Moran Pauline Moran Pauline Moran
Ariadne Oliver Zoë Wanamaker
George David Yelland
Superintendent Harold Spence Richard Hope
Countess Vera Rossakoff Kika Markham Orla Brady

Episodes[edit]

Agatha Chrisie's Poirot TV series
Ser.  Ep. Title UK Premiere
  1   1 The Adventure of the Clapham Cook 1989-01-08
  2 Murder in the Mews 1989-01-15
  3 The Adventure of Johnnie Waverly 1989-01-22
  4 Four and Twenty Blackbirds 1989-01-29
  5 The Third Floor Flat 1989-02-05
  6 Triangle at Rhodes 1989-02-12
  7 Problem at Sea 1989-02-19
  8 The Incredible Theft 1989-02-26
  9 The King of Clubs 1989-03-12
 10 The Dream 1989-03-19
  2  11 Peril at End House 1990-01-07
 12 The Veiled Lady 1990-01-14
 13 The Lost Mine 1990-01-21
 14 The Cornish Mystery 1990-01-28
 15 The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim 1990-02-04
 16 Double Sin 1990-02-11
 17 The Adventure of the Cheap Flat 1990-02-18
 18 The Kidnapped Prime Minister 1990-02-25
 19 The Adventure of the Western Star 1990-03-04
 20 The Mysterious Affair at Styles 1990-09-16
  3  21 How Does Your Garden Grow? 1991-01-06
 22 The Million Dollar Bond Robbery 1991-01-13
 23 The Plymouth Express 1991-01-20
 24 Wasps' Nest 1991-01-27
 25 The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor 1991-02-03
 26 The Double Clue 1991-02-10
 27 The Mystery of the Spanish Chest 1991-02-17
 28 The Theft of the Royal Ruby 1991-02-24
 29 The Affair at the Victory Ball 1991-03-03
 30 The Mystery of Hunter's Lodge 1991-03-10
  4  31 The ABC Murders 1992-01-05
 32 Death in the Clouds 1992-01-12
 33 One, Two, Buckle My Shoe 1992-01-19
  5  34 The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb 1993-01-17
 35 The Underdog 1993-01-24
Ser.  Ep. Title UK Premiere
  5  36 Yellow Iris 1993-01-31
 37 The Case of the Missing Will 1993-02-07
 38 The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman 1993-02-14
 39 The Chocolate Box 1993-02-21
 40 Dead Man's Mirror 1993-02-28
 41 Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan 1993-03-07
  6  42 Hercule Poirot's Christmas 1995-01-01
 43 Hickory Dickory Dock 1995-02-12
 44 Murder on the Links 1996-02-11
 45 Dumb Witness 1996-03-16
  7  46 The Murder of Roger Ackroyd 2000-01-02
 47 Lord Edgware Dies 2000-02-19
  8  48 Evil Under the Sun 2001-04-20
 49 Murder in Mesopotamia 2002-06-02
  9  50 Five Little Pigs 2003-12-14
 51 Sad Cypress 2003-12-26
 52 Death on the Nile 2004-04-12
 53 The Hollow 2004-04-26
 10  54 The Mystery of the Blue Train 2006-01-01
 55 Cards on the Table 2006-03-19
 56 After the Funeral 2006-03-26
 57 Taken at the Flood 2006-04-02
 11  58 Mrs McGinty's Dead 2008-09-14
 59 Cat Among the Pigeons 2008-09-21
 60 Third Girl 2008-09-28
 61 Appointment with Death 2009-12-25
 12  62 Three Act Tragedy 2010-01-03
 63 Hallowe'en Party 2010-10-27
 64 Murder on the Orient Express 2010-12-25
 65 The Clocks 2011-12-26
 13  66 Elephants Can Remember 2013-06-09
 67 The Big Four 2013-10-23
 68 Dead Man's Folly 2013-10-30
 69 The Labours of Hercules 2013-11-06
 70 Curtain: Poirot's Last Case 2013-11-13

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 radical shift in tone from the previous series. The humour of the earlier series was downplayed with each episode being presented as serious drama, and an undercurrent of postmodernism saw the introduction of gritty elements not present in the Christie stories being adapted. Recurrent motifs in the additions included drug use, sex, abortion, homosexuality, and a tendency toward more visceral imagery. Story changes were often made to present female characters in a more sympathetic or heroic light, at odds with Christie's characteristic gender neutrality. The visual style of later episodes was correspondingly different: particularly, an overall darker tone; and austere modernist or Art Deco locations and decor, widely used earlier in the series, being largely dropped in favour of more lavish settings (epitomised by the re-imagining of Poirot's home as a larger, more lavish apartment).[4] The series logo was redesigned (the full opening title sequence had not been used since series 6 in 1996), and the main theme motif, though used often, was usually featured subtly and in sombre arrangements; this has been described as a consequence of the novels adapted being darker and more psychologically driven.[5] 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.

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.[5] 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]