Agatha Christie's Poirot


Agatha Christie's Poirot

infobox television
show_name = Agatha Christie's Poirot


caption =
genre = Crime drama
runtime = 36x52 minutes
21x103 minutes
creator =
composer = Christopher Gunning
starring = David Suchet
Hugh Fraser
Philip Jackson
Pauline Moran
country = United Kingdom
network = ITV1
first_aired = 8 January 1989
last_aired = present
num_episodes = 60 (as of 28 September 2008)
list_episodes = List of Agatha Christie's Poirot episodes
imdb_id = 0094525
tv_com_id = 3573

"Agatha Christie's Poirot" is a British television drama that has aired on ITV1 since 1989. It stars David Suchet as Agatha Christie's fictional detective Hercule Poirot. It was originally made by LWT and is now made by Granada Productions. In the United States, it airs as "Poirot".

Suchet was apparently recommended for the part by Agatha Christie's granddaughter Rosie Hicks, who had seen him appear as Blott in the TV adaptation of Tom Sharpe's "Blott on the Landscape". [http://www.itv.com/Drama/classiccrime/poirot/Abouttheshow/default.html] 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. [Interview: Dillin, John. [http://www.csmonitor.com/1992/0325/25141.html "The Actor Behind Popular `Poirot'"] - The Christian Science Monitor. - March 25, 1992.] [Interview: Dudley, Jane. [http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/proginfo/tv/wk18/feature_maxwell.shtml "Award-winning actor David Suchet plays Robert Maxwell in a gripping account of the dramatic final stage of the media tycoon's life"] - BBC.] [Interview: Dudley, Jane. [http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/features?articleid=2738631 "Inside the mind of a media monster"] - The Yorkshire Post. - 27 April 2007.] Suchet himself said to "The 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 plowed 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." [http://www.poirot.us/suchet.php]

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. [http://www.bbc.co.uk/drama/faces/david_suchet.shtml]

In 2007 Suchet spoke of his desire to film all the remaining stories in the canon and hopes to achieve this by time of his 65th brithday (May 2011). [http://www.itv.com/Drama/classiccrime/poirot/Castinterviews/DavidSuchetinterview/default.html]

Cast

Recurring cast:
*David Suchet - Hercule Poirot
*Hugh Fraser - Captain Arthur Hastings (1989-2002)
*Philip Jackson - Chief Inspector Japp (1989-2002)
*Pauline Moran - Miss Felicity Lemon (1989-2002)
*Zoë Wanamaker - Ariadne Oliver (2006-)
*David Yelland - George (2006-)

Episodes

Episodes in Series One, Three, and Five are 52 minutes long. Episodes in the second series are also 52 minutes except "Peril at End House" and "The Mysterious Affair at Styles", which are 103 minutes long. Episodes in Series Four, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten and Eleven are 103 minutes long.

The 52-minute episodes are based on Christie's short stories featuring Poirot, many published in the 1920s. The TV adaptations were considerably embellished from the original stories' plots and were set in 1936 instead of the 1920s et al as is shown by the inclusion of actual historical events such as Fred Perry's win at the French Open and the Jarrow March [http://www.screenonline.org.uk/tv/id/976390/] .

The longer episodes are based on Christie's novels. The chronology of these episodes differs significantly from that of the novels and, as with the shorter episodes, some stories whose book versions were set in other decades are moved to the 1930s.

Development of the Series

Clive Exton in partnership with producer Brian Eastman adapted the pilot episode and then twenty of the stories between 1989 and 2001. Alongside many short story adaptations, "principle adapter" Exton wrote "The ABC Murders" for the series and more controversially "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd": [http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/clive-exton-462048.html] although described as "ingenious" in its dramatic conceit (in attempting to interpret a denouement which relies upon a first person narrative) did not receive unanimous praise from critics. [http://www.screenonline.org.uk/tv/id/976390/]

Anthony Horowitz is another of prolific writer for the series, adapting three novels and nine short stories; [http://anthonyhorowitz.com/work/television.html] while comedian and novelist Mark Gatiss has written one episode (and also starred in the series) [http://www.itv.com/Drama/classiccrime/poirot/Episodeguides/Catamongthepigeons/default.html] as has Peter Flannery, who also adapted Our Friends in the North. [http://blogs.thestage.co.uk/tvtoday/2008/09/square-eyes-2628-september/index.html]

Episodes released in 2003 and thereafter, lack Fraser, Jackson and Moran, who had appeared in most episodes before then. The absence of their characters (Hastings, Inspector Japp, and Miss Lemon) is consistent with the books on which the scripts were based. The later episodes lack the humour of the earlier as well as their signature theme music and are written, directed, acted, and scored in a more sombre fashion, depicting an older and somewhat darker Poirot. This is partly at least because the novels adapted are themsleves darker and more psychologically driven. [http://www.screenonline.org.uk/tv/id/976390/]

Alongside recurring characters, the early series featured several actors who later achieved greater fame, such as Samantha Bond, (The Adventure of the Cheap Flat, 1990), Christopher Eccleston ("One, Two, Buckle My Shoe", 1992), Hermione Norris ("The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan", 1993), Damian Lewis ("Hickory Dickory Dock", 1995) and Russell Tovey ("Evil Under the Sun", 2001). Season Ten (2003 - 2004) featured James Fox as Colonel Race in "Death on the Nile", alongside an "all-star cast" which inlcuded Emily Blunt, Daisy Donovan, and David Soul, while "The Hollow" featured his older brother Edward Fox as Gudgeon the butler. [http://www.itv.com/Drama/classiccrime/poirot/Abouttheshow/default.html] Other veteran actors who have appearanced in the later series include: Geraldine James, ("After the Funeral", 2006), Elliot Gould and Lindsay Duncan, (The Mystery of the Blue Train, 2006), Sian Phillips (Mrs McGinty's Dead, 2008) and Tim Curry (Appointment with Death 2008). Three actors have appeared as different characters in the series: Nicholas Farrell appeared as Donald Fraser in The ABC Murders (1989) and then as Major Knighton in The Mystery of the Blue Train (2005), [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0268297/] Simon Shepherd appeared as David Hall in Jewel Robbery at The Grand Metropolitan (1993) and then as Dr Rendell in Mrs McGinty's Dead (2008) while Carol McReady appeared as Mildred Croft in Peril at End House (1990) and then as Miss Johnson in Cat Among the Pigeons (2008). [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0534315/]

Reception

Her 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!” [http://www.agathachristie.com/story-explorer/characters/poirot/]

In 1989 the series was nominated for four BAFTA awards in the category of Best Graphics, Best Design (Episodes 1,2,5,8 &10), Best Costume Design (Episodes 2,4,7,8 & 10) and Best Original Television Music, winning all but the nomination for Best Design. It was also nominated for Best Television Drama Series in 1990 and 1991 and Suchet was nomninated for Best Actor in 1991. In total between 1989 and 1991, the series received 20 nominations. [http://www.bafta.org/awards-database.html?sq=Agatha+Christie%27s+Poirot]

In 1992, writers David Renwick and Michael Baker received an Edgar Award in the category "Best Episode in a TV Series" from the Mystery Writers of America for the Second Series episode "The Lost Mine", which, like the other "Agatha Christie's Poirot" episodes, aired in the U.S. as part of the PBS anthology series "Mystery!" [http://www.theedgars.com/edgarsDB/index.php]

Latterly the series has been described by some critics as going "off piste" [http://blogs.thestage.co.uk/tvtoday/2008/09/square-eyes-2628-september/index.html] with new writers and plot changes (as opposed to the embellishments of the short story adaptations). Significantly, it was noted that the adaptations of "Five Little Pigs" (by Kevin Elyot), "Death on the Nile" and "Cards on the Table" had a homosexual undercurrent which was not present in the novels. [http://www.screenonline.org.uk/tv/id/976390/] The adaptation of "Cards on The Table" strayed considerably from the original ending, which was agreed with the Christie Estate.Fact|date=October 2008

Yet, the New Year Day 2006 episode of "The Mystery of the Blue Train" attracted a high 30% audience rating (7.4 million viewers) [http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2006/jan/03/overnights3] and the show's enduring popularity was shown once again in August 2008 when a repeat received 3.2 million viewers and a 16% of the viewing population. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/aug/04/tvratings2] The 2008 series drew a 23.5% share of the viewing population, although only reaching 9.8% of the viewers between the ages of 16-34. The total figures were up on its previous slot average of 4.5 million viewers. [http://www.broadcastnow.co.uk/ratings/indepth/2008/09/ratings_focus_poirot_and_tess.html]

DVD releases

All episodes so far aired of "Agatha Christie's Poirot" have been released on DVD in the UK (Region 2) and in North America (Region 1). In 2006, a magazine collection, also titled "Agatha Christie's Poirot", was first released with a DVD of an episode and an accompanying magazine that looks into the episode, the life of Agatha Christie and the world of the 1930s, with each issue.

The eight latest episodes have been released individually and as a boxed set on DVD in Australia (Region 4), as well as the complete Series One, Two, Three and Four with Series 5 out in August 2008.

References

External links

*itv.com|id=poirot|title="Agatha Christie's Poirot"
*imdb title|id=0094525|name=Poirot
* [http://www.screenonline.org.uk/tv/id/976390/index.html "Agatha Christie's Poirot"] at the British Film Institute Screen Online


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