Agatha Christie's Poirot

1989 - United Kingdom

The crime-drama, that is the adaptation of arguably Agatha Christie's most famous character Detective Hercule Poirot, first hit TV screens in 1989. 

There have been 13 series, with the last one of 70 episodes being shown in 2013, and all of Christie's work that features the title character (35 books and 65 short stories) have been adapted in that time. The London-based Belgium-born detective stood only 5 feet 4 inches tall, whilst his egg-shaped head was overshadowed by his dyed black hair, perfectly waxed moustache and impeccable clothing. 

Renowned for his love of method and symmetry, he hated disarray, dirt - and especially murder. He was impatient and direct enough to often ruffles feathers, yet he was usually courteous with non- criminals, and noticeably sympathetic with young ladies - though in a fatherly way. He never married but was romantically linked to Countess Vera Rosakoff. "One must seek the truth within - not without," was one of his favourite sayings, whilst he liked to sit quietly when in the process of solving crimes. Although he thinks there is a lot more to solving crimes than evidence, he was never adverse to a little snooping of the 'listening at doors' and 'hiding behind curtains' varieties - even digging in women's underwear drawers on occasions. 

Poirot's TV entourage included his faithful secretary Felicity Lemon and confidant Captain Arthur Hastings.David Suchet brought the TV version of Poirot to life after being recommended to play the part by Christie's family who had seen him play Blott in a TV adaptation of Blott on the Landscape. So thrilled was he about landing the role, Suchet studied every descriptive passage about Poirot in a bid to bring him to life in a way that would do Agatha Christie's character justice. Such was his preparation, Suchet almost quit after an argument about incorporating more of Poirot's mannerisms into the scripts. It is believed that members of Christie's family told him that they believed Christie would have approved, and he has been eponymous with the name Poirot ever since. "It is the brain, the little grey cells on one which must rely," was one of his most famous sayings - and the audience loved to see his clarity of mind and grasp of sin, morality and motivation as he worked his magic in solving complex crimes. 

The first eight series were written by Brian Eastman and Clive Exton, with Damien Timmer and Michele Buck taking over in 2001. The change in writers also saw a change in tone for the programme, with the humour that had originally been prominent being replaced by darker and more psychological themes that reflected the mood of the later Poirot books. Visuals were also modernized with the usual Art Deco locations making way for more lavish surroundings. 

The programme won several awards including: best original TV music (1990), best costume design (1990), best make-up (1990), best graphics (1990), and best TV episode (1992) for the Lost Mine. However, whilst Suchet was twice nominated for best TV actor, he failed to win. 

Published on November 27th, 2018. Tim Rands (2014).

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