Sei sulla pagina 1di 34
Curtain : Poirot’s Last Case
Curtain : Poirot’s Last Case

Curtain : Poirot’s Last Case

Curtain : Poirot’s Last Case
Curtain : Poirot’s Last Case
Curtain : Poirot’s Last Case

PRODUCTION NOTES

Introduction

Page

3

Foreword by Mathew Prichard

Page

5

David S uchet plays Hercule Poirot

Page

6

Hugh Fras er plays Captain Hastings

Page

9

Philip Glenister plays Sir William Boyd Carrington

Page 12

Alice Orr - Ewing plays Judith Hastings

Page 14

Cast list

Page 17

Being Poirot

Page 18

A gatha Christie’s Curtain

Page 20

Poirot and Me

Page 22

Hercule Poirot: My Autobiography

Page 24

All about Hercule Poirot

Page 25

The many c haracteristics of He rcule Poirot

Page 27

Actors appearing in Agatha Christi e’s Poirot

Page 29

Agatha Christie f ilm titles

Page 31

Curtain Production credits

Page 34

ITV Press Office Press contacts:

Natasha Bayford - 0161 952 6209 / natasha.bayford@itv.com Sarah Banbury - 020 7157 3018 / sarah.banbury@itv.com Picture contact:

Patrick Smith - 0207 157 3044 / patrick.smith@itv.com

25 years 70 films

2

INTRODUCTION

After 25 years it is now the final curtain for Agatha Christie’s world famous Belgian Detective, Hercule Poirot.

Emm y and BAFTA award - winning actor, David Suchet, returns to ITV for the final time as the iconic Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, in the eagerly anticipated Agatha Christie adaptio n Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case.

Curtain is Poirot’s last ever case in which the aged and immobilised detective calls on his old friend Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser) for assistance as they return to the scene of their first case, Styles Court, to try and prevent an imminent murder.

Curtain completes the thirteenth and final series, which includes the recently screened titles Elephants Can Remember, The Big Four, Dead Man’s Folly and The Labours of Hercules, adapted from the novels and short stories written by Agatha Christie.

Before production for the final five films begun in November 2012, David made the decision to record Curtain first . Speaking at the time he said: “Having played Hercule Poirot for almost 25 years, Curtain will be a very emotional farewell to a character who has been a big part of my life and has become one of my very dearest best friends.

“ Considering the outcome of the final film it would have been very difficult for me psychologically to leave Poirot in this way. He is a brilli ant, yet profoundly complicated character and I’ve always enjoyed playing him,” he added.

The cast joining David Suchet and Hugh Fraser for the final adaptation includes ; Anne Reid ( Last Tango in Halifax, Upstairs Downstairs, Marchlands), Philip Glenister (Mad Dogs, Ashes to Ashes), Helen Baxendale (Cucko o, Kidnap and Ransom, Cold Feet), Matthew McNulty (The Mill, The Paradise, Room at the Top), Anna Madeley ( The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister, Brideshead Revisited, Coup) , Shaun Dingwall ( Breathless, Above Suspicion, Mark of Cain), John Standing ( Game of Thrones, V for Vendetta, The Importance of Being Earnest), Aidan McArdle ( Downton Abbey , Garrow’s Law, The Reckoning), Alice Orr - Ewing (The Scapegoat, Blandings), Claire Keelen (The Last Weekend, Line of Duty, The Trip) and David Yelland.

David Suchet has worn the moustachioed Belgian sleuth's polished spats very successfully since 1988 when he accepted the role. His first film, The Adventure of the Clapham Cook, was broadcast on January 8 1989.

It has always been David’s ambition to bring Agatha Christie’s amazing canon of works to completion . Over 25 years David has accomplished 70 adaptations including the iconic and best- known title Murder on the Orient Express.

The acclaimed and award nominated writer, Kevin Elyot ( Christopher and his Kind, Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky) , was asked by the production team to adapt Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case over 10 years ago when he penned the Agatha Christie title Death on the Nile.

25 years 70 films

3

Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case is directed by Hettie MacDonald (Hit & Miss, Wallander, White Girl) and produced by David Boulter ( Whitechapel, He Kills Coppers, The Forsyte Saga).

Filmed across 23 days in November 2012 the locations used include; Shirburn Castle; Surrey County Hall; Pinewood Studios.

The Poirot stories are co - produced by ITV Studios and Agatha Christie Ltd, an RLJ Entertainment group company. Mammoth Screen’s Michele Buck, Damien Timmer and Karen Thrussell ( Parade’s End, Endeavour, Monroe) executive produce Poirot on behalf of ITV Studios. Hilary Strong is executive producer for Agatha Christie Ltd. ITV Global holds international distribution rights.

25 years 70 films

4

FOREWORD BY MATHEW PRICHARD David Suchet’s association with Hercule Poirot and his relationship an d

FOREWORD BY MATHEW PRICHARD

David Suchet’s association with Hercule Poirot and his relationship and friendship with my family began almost 25 years ago. Not long enough, unfortunately, for him to meet my grandmother, Agatha Christie, but still long enough for us to enjoy together the development of his remarkable portrayal of Poirot.

At the time we first met, a certain degree of cynicism existed amongst my family as to whether we would ever find an actor and a creative team to convey visually such an eccentric personality. Our doubts were gradually diminished by David’s determination to overcome these doubts by his thorough research and sheer hard work.

Looking at the film you are about to watch, Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case, you almost feel there is a naturalness about Poirot that seems so simple. That did not happen by accident. The walk, the sniff, the condescending smile and the accent were practised at home, in the studio, and even occasionally in my mother’s living room! It is true to say that my mother eventually became convinced that David really was committed to portraying the real character that Agatha had created in the books, and what is more, defend his determination against writers, producers, directors or whoever who occasionally had other ideas.

I remain convinced that what ITV have produced is one of the finest transcriptions of literary work that British TV has ever seen and a fitting visual tribute to my grandmother’s most popular character. My only regret is that she did not live to see it. Her only hope would undoubtedly have been that all those who have enjoyed the films would make a point of going back and reading the books where it all began.

Every good story, as my grandmother would tell me, has a beginning, middle and end. The thirteenth and final series, culminating in Curtain is, in one sense, an end. But in another sense they are a reminder of a whole raft of TV and literary entertainment that remains available for everyone to enjoy.

Truly, Agatha Christie, ITV, David Suchet and everyone connected with the series have produced a triumph of artistic production well and truly stamped with authority and authenticity. I hope you can continue to enjoy this legacy as much as I have.

25 years 70 films

5

DAVID SUCHET PLAYS HERCULE POIROT At what point in Poirot’s life do we meet him

DAVID SUCHET PLAYS HERCULE POIROT

At what point in Poirot’s life do we meet him in Curtain?

You meet him as Agatha Christie wrote him; a li ttle sunken old man in a wheelchair, still with his dyed black hair and moustache, but clearly arthritic.

Poirot is at Styles Court for a purpose, but you don’t know that at the start. How you see Poirot at the beginning of the film is a shock and it shou ld be a shock for the audience because this is the only novel in which Agatha Christie aged Poirot. She wrote many novels and kept him the same throughout and then suddenly in Curtain he’s this little old man.

The only changes Agatha would ever make to the character previous to this would be the width of the stripes on his trousers and in one story Poirot wore a wristwatch instead of carrying his pocket watch but he couldn’t turn his wrist to look at the time so he went back to his pocket watch.

What h as drawn Poirot back to Styles Court ?

Poirot instinctively knows there is going to be a murder at Styles Court . He thinks he may know whom but he can’t prove it and he doesn’t know who is going to be killed. That really is the challenge for Hastings (Hugh Fraser) who meets up with Poirot again and has to be his eyes and ears because he’s now in a wheelchair.

Did you enjoy filming with Hugh Fraser (Captain Hastings) again?

It was lovely to be reunited with Hugh and have him back on set.

25 years 70 films

6

Over the years you’ve worked with outstanding actors and actresses. In Curtain Phi lip Glenister and Anne Reid joined you. How was it filming with them?

It was lovely. Anne Reid sat next to me just before filming began and said, ‘I’ve been waiting to be in a Poirot for over ten years.’ S he was thrilled to be there an d it was very nice to have Phil ip (Glenister) of course.

Before filming Curtain what preparations did you undertake for the role?

I lost two and half stone over a long period before filming beg an . I had to work out exactly the nature of Poirot’s arthriti s and how this would manifest itself for him.

We had a lot of preparation time as there were prosthetics placed on my hand s which make Poirot look old and frail , but not ridiculously so . The pro sthetics weren’t restricting in anyway. We knew Poirot seemingly had knee trouble but his hands were affected the most by the arthritis.

The psychology of Poirot never changes; he is as sharp as a pin, his mental capacity is extraordinary.

How emotionally demanding was Curtain?

Very, very emotionally demanding! Saying goodbye to him was one of the hardest days of my whole acting career. It was really, really hard.

Do you remember your last day filming on the set of Curtain?

Yes I do! In a sense it wa s odd because we filmed this adaptation slightly out of sequence and so my final scenes weren’t actually what you might imagine them to be. The nature of filming is quite extraordinary!

If Agatha Christie were alive today, would there be anything you would like to say or ask her?

Yes, ‘Was I okay? Would you have approved?’ Only b ecause I know she was famously anti everybody that played her characters.

The greatest compliment I ever had was from Rosalind Hicks, Agatha Christie’s daughter, who said to me she was absolutely convinced her mother would be delighted with how I portrayed Poirot. T hat was a very emotional moment for me. It’s the nearest, I have, and if I had the opportunity to meet Agatha that would have been my first question.

25 years 70 films

7

Since you accepted the role in 1987, how has Poirot changed across the years?

Well I hope very little, as I didn’t want him to change too much. He’s got older as have I over the years and I fleshed out certain areas of his psychology and his life.

I’ve accentuated, very slightly every now and again that he is lonely. Y ou’ll see that I will dwell on his loneliness. Particularly, the fact that Poirot has never married. He would love to have married and have had a wife and a family…he says that. He actually says as a Catholic, a very good Catholic, that ‘the greatest gift God has given to human beings is the love between a man and a woman and family life.’

W ill you ever accept a role for a modern day detective?

I have played a modern day d etective, while playing Poirot. I played detective John Bourne in the NCS (National Crime Squad), which started a new wave of really hard, tough, gritty police drama. He was a very angry and aggressive character.

I’ve done completely different things since 1969. The greatest gift given to me as an actor is the fact that although I’ve played Poirot over a period of 25 years I’ve not been typecast. It could have been the end of a career, but because of his character and disguise I’ve got away with it. I’d never thought of that, until I suddenly got offered different roles back in the theatre, in other films and on other television programmes.

Poirot is very iconic and obviously the image of me as him has now been to tally associated, but because the character wears a moustache and padding to accentuate his size and is in set within the 30s, it’s allowed me to continue my acting career.

Hercule Poirot has been a huge part of your life. After 25 years how will you say goodbye to this iconic character who has become your friend?

It’s the same answer I give to anyone who asks ‘How do you learn your lines?’ and the answer is with great difficulty.

How would you like Poirot to be remembered?

I would love Poirot to be remembered fondly and it goes without saying he is the greatest detective in the world.

25 years 70 films

8

HUGH F RASER PLAYS CAPTAIN HASTINGS Prior to filming The Big Four and Curtain you’d

HUGH F RASER PLAYS CAPTAIN HASTINGS

Prior to filming The Big Four and Curtain you’d not played Captain Hastings for over ten years. Was it an emotional reunion to be back working with David Suchet?

Yes, i t was indeed. It was very emotional to reconnect with David. We had contact during the years apart but we hadn’t work together. It was lovely to return to both the character and the production.

W hat developments have there been for Hastings?

Hastings married a lady called Bella, who he met in Murder on the L inks. Once married they then moved to South America where they bought a farm and Hasting became a farmer. At the beginning of The Big Four we see Hastings receive a letter at home summoning him back to England and it’s at that point he returns.

Following The Big Four, and after another long period of time, Curtain reunites Hastings with Poirot at Styles Court and it’s a very emotional reunion between the two of them at this point.

In the final fil m we learn Bella has died so Hastings is very bereft, and we are introduced to his daughter Judith who is now in her early twenties.

Did you do anything particular to get back into character or did it come very naturally to you?

It did come back to me, as soon as I’d read the scripts for The Big Four and Curtain. Both the writers, Mark Gatiss and Kevin Elyot, really had the feel of Hastings and reading the dialogue was enough to put me back into character. Getting back into the costume also helped. I was gratified at being able to still get into the jacket I wore 25 years ago.

25 years 70 films

9

What are Hastings reasons for returning to Styles Court ?

Poirot has asked Hastings to visit him at Styles Court, the place where they first met 30 years ago . The reason fo r his visit is not actually specified although their initial meeting is significant and it becomes apparent as to why Hastings has been called upon.

Do you think the audience will be shocked to see Poirot arthritic and immobilised?

Yes, absolutely I th ink they will. It’s a very stark change from the last time Poirot has been seen on screen.

David is well known for the way he inhabits the role and maintains his character throughout filming. For me, it was very moving and emotional to see his transforma tion into an older looking Poirot.

Curtain allows the audience to see a more personal side of Hastings through the introduction of his daughter Judith. What can you tell us about their relationship?

They ha ve an uneven relationship. Judith has a stron g personality and as we know Hastings is quite a calm soul. There is a lot of friction between them. Quite typically Hastings gets the wrong end of the stick and jumps to the wrong conclusions, which leads to further tension.

Hastings has an unconditional love for Judith . What emerges between them is fuelled by his love and the protective feelings he has for her as a father.

Poirot asks Hastings to be his eye s and ears at Styles. What does Hastings observe whilst staying there?

Curtain is a very compli cated plot structure, and wonderfully so. In true Agatha Christie style it’s not clear what is going on until the very end. Hastings is under quite a lot of pressure but also in a state of confusion as he monitors the situation on behalf of Poirot. He soon starts to form his own theories but typically Poirot has a level of subterfuge beneath that, which subsequently adds another layer to the mystery.

All of Agatha Christie’s books, in addition to the essential whodunit plot, have these wonderful and extraordinary three- dimensional characters. They have all been so carefully drawn and that is what gives the richness to both the books and the films. It’s one of her great strengths.

25 years 70 films

10

Thinking back to 1988 can you remember anything from your first day of filming with David for The Adventure of the Clapham Cook ?

I recall my first scene with David being filmed in Poirot’s flat, Whitehaven Mansions.

The design team had given Poirot a desk and bookcase and whilst the crew were lining up the first shot I noticed David straightening the props on the desk and putting the pen rack in a particular spot. He then went on to rearrange the bookcase, moving magazines and books around. At one point I had to ask him what he was doing and he replied to say ‘for Hercule thi s would all be absolutely symmetrical!’ David was ordering his environment in a very Poirot like fashion from day one, even before the cameras started to roll.

At the very beginning did you ever imagine Agatha Christie’s Poirot would return and be come a worldwide success?

No, not at all. When we began, Poirot could have easily been one series of 10 or 12 films. We had no idea it would be so successful. Once it was transmitted it was clear it was getting a good audience and being well received. We had no idea then that Poirot was going to have the life it has had.

As Captain Hastings you’ve appeared in a total of 43 productions. What film is the most memorable for you?

The one I probably remember the most is Murder on the Links where Hastings met hi s wife. Suddenly he had an emotional life beyond his relationship with Poirot and Japp. Prior to this he had immediate passions for auburn haired beauties but somehow he always seemed to mess things up and never succeeded. On this occasion he managed to co nnect with Bella and then marry her. I think that was memorable for me.

What memories of Poirot will you take away?

I will look back and remember Poirot as being an extremely pleasant time in my

career. It was very enjoyable on many levels and there was always a very happy working atmosphere. Obviously it was hard work and the filming schedules were fairly intense, but the regular four, Philip, Pauline, David and myself, all got on very well and enjoyed ourselves immensely.

What would you say about David Suchet as we approach the 70 th film?

It’s an iconic performance by David, no question about it. He is Poirot. He is known to be meticulous and incredibly professional in the way he works and absolutely deservedly so. David has always led from the front. He was faultless in his preparation and always set very, very high standards.

25 years 70 films

11

PHILIP GLENISTER PLAYS SIR WILLIAM BOYD CARRINGTON How did you secure the role of Sir

PHILIP GLENISTER PLAYS SIR WILLIAM BOYD CARRINGTON

How did you secure the role of Sir William Boyd Carrington?

David Suchet and I worked on a BBC drama called Hidd en . While we were filming he asked me if I’d ever been in a Poirot. I hadn’t. Later, I then received a personal invitation from Hercule himself! I wasn’t going to say no to that. Curtain is the last ever Poirot, so it’s a pretty big deal for any actor.

Are you a fan of Agatha Christie?

During the summer I was in Devon and went to Greenway (Agatha Christie’s holiday home), where some of Dead Man’s Folly was filmed. It was interesting to walk around her estate knowing I had been a part of the last ever Poirot. It was a fascinating and intriguing place to visit.

Was it nice to return to a period drama after recently filming more contemporary roles?

Absolutely. The film is set ten years after The Labours of Hercules, in the mid - twentieth century, and th at’s not a period I had done before.

What really struck me about the whole production of Poirot was the attention to detail. Whether it’s makeup, props, costume, design, it is a real team effort done with great care. When you step onto set it’s literall y like stepping back in time.

25 years 70 films

12

Tell us about your character.

It has to be said, I’m not an obvious casting choice for the role! Sir Carrington is a former governor of the province of India, an aristocrat who is rather eccentric. He was a very enjoyab le character to play.

What is Sir Carrington’s relationship like with Barbara Franklin (Anna Madeley)?

Carrington is rather taken with ‘Babs’, and I think they’d be together if the circumstances were different.

Carrington believes Babs could do a lot better for herself if she wasn’t with that drab, boring husband, Dr Franklin, who is stuck in a lab all day. I think she would agree her life would be a lot more exciting if she were with Carrington!

Were you surprised to see a very different looking Poirot on set?

Yes. To achieve a frail and much older look David had to lose a lot of weight before filming. His commitment to the role is phenomenal and I have nothing but the upmost respect for him as a person and an actor.

What do you think is the appeal of Agatha Christie’s stories?

First and foremost, it’s good storytelling. The stories themselves are just brilliant, they’re really well acted, and the attention to detail really lets the whole thing run away with your imagination. The adaptations are just like opening one of her books, which means the production team have succeeded in doing what they set out to do.

What is David Suchet like to work with?

David is good fun to be around. Whenever he has the moustache on he behaves like Poirot even if he’s not being filmed. It’s clear to see how much the character means to him – Poirot is David’s legacy.

Was it emotional to film the final episode?

The most emotional part was watching the reunion between Poirot and Captain Hastings, played by Hugh Fraser. There is a wonderfully moving scene where Hastings is reading a passage from Othello to Poirot. They played it with such integrity. It was a pleasure to watch.

25 years 70 films

13

ALICE ORR - EWING PLAYS JUDITH HASTINGS What was your reaction when offered the ro

ALICE ORR - EWING PLAYS JUDITH HASTINGS

What was your reaction when offered the ro le of Judith Hastings?

When I got the phone call I was ecstatic. You do become kind of obsessed with the role if you know it’s within your reach. I really found Judith so interesting and complex, and completely different from any roles I’ve done in the past.

Having grown up watching Poirot, I couldn’t wait to be a part of it. David went to LAMDA, the drama school I trained at, and is a bit of a legend there, so when I got the call I was absolutely beside myself.

Before you began filming what research for the role did you undertake?

Before I began filming, and even before my audition, I had to make sure I was completely rigorous with my research. As Poirot has such an enormous fan base you have to make sure you are very meticulous while also staying loyal to what Agatha Christie wrote.

I bought the original novel and literally went through it with a fine- tooth comb. In

fact the book was more useful to me than anything else. Although the script was crucial to the overall story, dialogue and stage di rections, it wasn’t as explicit when it came to studying the individual characters and their backstories. With the book I went through it and found all the references to Judith and Captain Hastings. There were pages and pages I had to dog- ear and underline which related to their relationship and the one between Poirot and Hastings. I also got to learn about Judith’s mother who at the time had recently died but is referred to within Curtain.

I bought a notebook and made sure I knew all about the time, post- war Britain and what that meant for women, which helped put Judith into context. She is a very emancipated woman and I wouldn’t have known that unless I had researched the ideals and principles of the ‘every day’ woman.

25 years 70 films

14

As part of my research I decided to keep a lot of picture references in my notebook, which I referred to before a days filming. For instance, I have a whole chapter of photos of Katherine Hepburn, which capture how she stood, sat and generally carried herself. She was a woman of the 40s , but at the same time, a woman ahead of her time – she was comparatively masculine in the way she dressed and in her demeanor, she too was emancipated and outspoken, confident and independent and that along with her often stern expression proved to be vital inspiration for Judith.

There is a description in the novel where Hasting’s describes Judith as having ‘an air of tragedy hanging over her.’ She is never really laughing apart from with Dr Franklin.

How does Judith fit in with the other characters at Styles Court guesthouse?

They all seem to be a bit baffled by Judith. All the references made about her from the other characters are about her being serious, very hard working, strong- minded and being locked up in the laboratory with Dr Franklin.

What is Judith ’s relationship like with her father , Hastings ?

They don’t have a particularly good relationship. There’s a line in the book where Hastings literally says he’s scared and nervous of her. It goes on to say that Hastings believes it is his ‘outworn and sentimental ideas’ that frustrate her.

In Judith’s mind her father is so naive, but she still loves him, and he does refer to her as the one he loves the most. But she just wants to break away from him and be an independent woman without all of the interfering.

She is so happy her father has come to stay at Styles, as he has been so sad following the death of his wife and being there, with Poirot, ‘brings him out of himself.’

As a strong- minded and determined woman, do you think the viewers ar e going to like Judith?

From both Judith and Poirot viewers will see a shared love and frustration of Hastings - everyone loves him for his bumbling Britishness, the gentle clown, but with Judith it’s that, on top of a complex father and daughter relationship. Viewers will begin to understand why she is like this as the story unfolds. Even when I read the novel, it took me time to warm to Judith. S he can be so mean to poor Hastings!

What relationship does Judith have with Poirot?

Their relationship is very close. The fact she calls him Uncle Hercule demonstrates he is a staple part of her family. Judith is so fond of Poirot; he’s almost like another father figure to her.

25 years 70 films

15

Poirot describes Judith as being made of ‘very fine stuff’ and that he admires her very much. Viewers will notice they share a particular look with each other - rolling their eyes over some observations Hastings makes. Judith has a lot of qualities that Poirot admires in a person: hard - working, critical, scrupulous, quite unlike his dear friend Captain Hastings!

Did the role require you to change anything about your appearance?

Because I had long blonde hair before filming begun I had to have it cut shorter and dyed red. As an actress it is one of the best things - being able to transform into a new character that is so different from you. I loved the transformation.

What was your experience working with David Suchet?

David is a remarkable actor and I feel very privileged to have worked with him. When working opposite him he gives you so much to play with, on and off camera and I was able to learn so much from just observing him in character.

David is very committed to the role. How much he puts in is extraordinary. Once the moustache is on, he is Poirot and that dedication is inspiring, it forces you to step up your game.

What do you think makes the Agatha Christie Poirot adaptations so popular?

It is more than just another detective series. Hercule Poirot is someone you know and feel as though you can trust.

The films have a particular tone, which draw people in. It is incredibly dark but also brilliantly funny at times. The sets are so evocative, and each episode has repeated ‘in - jokes’ and familiar references that the fans love and recognise. I think they really enjoy the relationship between Poirot and Hastings, too. Hastings is the stereotypical Englishman and then you have this cultural clash with Poirot, who finds the English way so baffling and quaint!

25 years 70 films

16

CAST LIST

Hercule Poirot Captain Hastings Elizabeth Cole Daisy Luttrell Col. Toby Luttrell Stephen Norton Sir William Boyd Carrington Judith Dr Franklin Major Allerton Barbara Franklin Nurse Craven George Coroner

25 years 70 films

David Suchet Hugh Fraser Helen Baxendale Anne Reid John Standing Aidan McArdle Philip Glenister Alice Orr- Ewing Shaun Dingwall Matthew McNulty Anna Madeley Claire Keelen David Yelland Gregory Cox

17

BEING POIROT A FACTUAL DOCUMENTARY FOR ITV “Hercule Poirot is for me, much more than

BEING POIROT A FACTUAL DOCUMENTARY FOR ITV

“Hercule Poirot is for me, much more than the character on the written page. Hercule Poirot for me almost is a real person. He is the person who was responsible for my life for twenty- five years. I’ve got to know him, I’ve lived him, he’s my invisible closest and best friend.” David Suchet

David Suchet embarks on a very personal journey as the man behind the moustache explores Agatha Christie’s most enduring character.

The celebrated actor will take a poignant trip to discover the history of his most famous TV creation as he reveals how he has approached the role of the iconic detective over the past 25 years.

David travels to Belgium as he attempts to unlock the mystery behind the great detective, discovers what the Belgians think about one of their most famous sons and allows our camera to film behind the scenes on the last days of filming.

Having f irst premiered on ITV on 1989, a quarter of a century and 13 series later Poirot is a global phenomenon watched by 700 million viewers worldwide.

As the final chapters of TV’s favourite detective draw to a close, emotions are running high as David films his last scenes. The great detective’s appearance in the film is frail and David reveals he lost almost two stone ahead of filming to emphasis the fragility of the once robust man.

Agatha Christie wrote Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case in 1942 but it was locked in a bank vault for thirty years, finally published in 1975. Such was the furore over its content that it was covered on the front page of the New York Times showing the extraordinary impact the character had around the world.

Talking about filming those final scenes, David said, “(It was) Terrible, awful, I’ll never forget it. It was the hardest moment of filming.”

Geoffrey Wansell, a close friend of David and biographer of the book Poirot and Me, who witnessed those last scen es being filmed explains, “F or a character actor of his (David) intensity to lose someone he’s been completely involved with, absorbed in for 25 years is a personal tragedy.”

25 years 70 films

18

The actor is seen returning to Agatha Christie’s holiday home, Greenway, having been invited to first meet the author's family here 25 years ago when h e was first cast in the role. The picturesque location also appears in Dead Man’s Folly, the last of the final films to be shot and viewers will see David embracing the character one last time as he takes his fin al steps as Poirot.

In all the stories Poirot is portrayed very vividly but the drama's audience know very little about his past other than he came to England retired, having been head of the Brussels police force.

Hoping to find out more about the notori ously proud Belgian, the actor heads to the legendary character’s home country. The trip proved particularly poignant as David made the trip on the Orient Express, the location of the most famous of Christie’s Poirot stories and on which he filmed his adap tation of the classic novel.

David says, “Of all the crimes he solved over his remarkable career, one case would challenge him to breaking point, Murder on the Orient Express. After twenty years of playing Poirot I knew it was going to be one of the most challenging performances I would ever have to play.”

Whilst in Brussels David visits the small town of Ellezelles, which has claimed Poirot as its own and meets Belgium crime writer Stan Lauryssen, who won the Hercule Poirot award for crime writing, Brussels Mayor Freddy Thielemans and Chief of Police Guido Van Wymersch.

Discussing their thoughts on the character’s popularity, Mayor Freddy Thielemans tells David, “We’re proud because he solved matters the English couldn’t solve and your accent was not too bad.”

Being Poirot is produced by Shiver and Agatha Christie Limited in association with Acorn Productions

Production credits:

Producer Director: Chris Malone

Editor: Kim Horton

Executive Producer for Shiver: Mark Robinson

Executive Producer for Agatha Christie Ltd: Mathew Prichard, Hilary Strong

25 years 70 films

19

Brand new editions of the bestselling Hercule Poirot mysteries To coincide with the last ever
Brand new editions of the bestselling Hercule Poirot mysteries To coincide with the last ever

Brand new editions of the bestselling Hercule Poirot mysteries

To coincide with the last ever Poirot films starring David Suchet being aired on ITV in the autumn, HarperColli ns Publishers have released a new range of bestselling Poirot mysteries.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles is the first ever Poirot novel and contains an unpublished chapter and an introduction by Agatha Christie expert John Curran.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Murder on the Orient Express, The ABC Murders, Hercule Poirot’s Christmas and Five Little Pigs are some of Agatha Christie’s most famous crime mysteries and have now been reissued with striking new covers designed to appeal to the latest generation of Agatha Christie fans and book lovers. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, the novel which made Agatha Christie a household name, includes an insightful new retrospective by her biographer, Laura Thompson.

new retrospective by her biographer, Laura Thompson. A new edition of Curtain : Poirot’s Last Case

A new edition of Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case with a stunning TV cover will also be published on the 7 th November, a few days before the film’s release so people can read the bestseller before enjoying the TV adaptation.

The release of the new editions follows the news that international bestselling crime writer Sophie Hannah is to write a new Agatha Christie novel. Written with the full backing of the family, the new Poirot mystery will be published in hardback in September 2014.

Notes to editors:

For further information please contact: Louise Swannell or Laura Di Giuseppe at HarperCollins Publishers Tel: 020 8307 4203 /0208 307 4424 email:

louise.swannell@harpercollins.co.uk / laura.digiuseppe@harpercollins.co.uk

HarperCollins UK publishes a wide range of books, from cutting- edge contemporary fiction, to block- busting thrillers, from fantasy literature and children’s stories to enduring classics.

25 years 70 films

20

It also publishes a great selection of non- fiction titles, including history, celebrity memoirs, biographies, popular science, dictionaries, maps, reference titles and education books, and its digital business is thriving.

With nearly 200 years of history HarperCollins publishes some of the world ’s foremost authors, from Nobel prize winners to worldwide bestsellers. In addition it publishes the works of Agatha Christie, JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis. It was the first major UK trade publisher to go carbon neutral in December 2007. HC UK is a division of HarperCollins Publishers, one of the leading English - language book publishers in the world, with operations in the US, Canada, the UK, India and Australia.

25 years 70 films

21

DAVID SUCHET POIROT AND ME Published in hardback by Headline on 7th November 2013, p

DAVID SUCHET POIROT AND ME

Published in hardback by Headline on 7th November 2013, p riced £20.00. Also available in eBook and as an audio download, read aloud by David Suchet

**** THE CONTENT OF POIROT AND ME IS UNDER STRICT EMBARGO UNTIL OCTOBER 30****

As he films the final episode actor David Suchet recalls his experience of playing Agatha Christie’s world - famous detective, Hercule Poirot, for almost a quarter of a century.

Hercule Poirot, with his distinctive moustache and fastidious ways, is one of Agatha

Christie’s finest creations and one of the world’s best- loved detectives. Poirot was first introduced in The Mysterious Affair at Styles (published 1920) and appeared in 33 novels, one play and more than 50 short stories published between 1920 and

1975.

Through his television performance in ITV’s Agatha Christie’s Poirot, David Suchet h as become inextricably linked with the ‘little Belgian’, a man whom he has grown to love dearly through an intimate relationship lasting more than twenty five years. Writing with Geoffrey Wansell, in Poirot and Me, Suchet shares his many memories of creati ng this iconic television series and reflects on what the detective has meant to him over the years and his fans worldwide.

About the authors

David Suchet was born and grew up in London. He trained at LAMDA and has had a long and successful career as a character actor, on television, film and on the stage. Having played Hercule Poirot for 25 years, David has now completed 70 television adaptations. The final four, which are set to conclude the series, are due to be released by ITV in the coming months. He i s married with two grown - up children.

25 years 70 films

22

Geoffrey Wansell is a London based author and freelance journalist, writing for a number of publications including the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph. He’s published eight books, including biographies of the movie star Cary Grant, the business tycoon Sir James Goldsmith, and the playwright Sir Terence Rattigan, a book which was short - listed for the Whitbread Prize as book of the year

Extracts are available David Suchet is available for interview to talk about Poirot and Me For more information please contact: Samantha Eades, Senior Publicity Manager, Headline Publishing Group 0207 873 6320 / Samantha.Eades@headline.co.uk / @sameades

25 years 70 films

23

HERCULE POIROT: MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY " Poirot" sent this note to Agatha Christie's American publishers in

HERCULE POIROT: MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY

"Poirot" sent this note to Agatha Christie's American publishers in 1936:

I began work as a member of the detective force in Brussels on the Abercrombie

Forger Case in 1904 and for many years was proud to b e a member of the detective service in my native Belgium. Since the closing of the war, I have, as you know, been in London, having rooms for some time with mon vieux ami Hastings

I set up as a private detective in London

one of the newest types of service flats in London, Whitehaven Mansions, which particular building I chose entirely on account of its strictly geometric appearance and proportion

In June of last year I installed myself in

I have my little prejudices. Anything in the least crooked or disorderly is a torment to me. In my bookcase, I arrange the tallest book at the end; then the next tallest, and so on. My medicine bottles are placed in a neatly graduated row. If your necktie were not correct, I should find it irresistible not to make it straight for you

Order and method are my gods. For my breakfast, I have only toast which is cut into neat little squares. The eggs - there must be two - they must be identical in size

I am five feet four inches high. My head, it is egg- s haped and I carry it a little to one side, the left. My eyes, I am told, shine green when I am excited. My boots are a neat patent leather, smart and shiny. My stick is embossed with a gold band. My watch is large and keeps the time exactly. My moustache is the finest in all London

I own I have a certain disdain for tangible evidence. I prefer just to sit here and think

- what mon ami Hastings has called 'employing the little grey cells'. I arrange the facts neatly each in its properly place

www.agathachristie.com

25 years 70 films

24

ALL ABOUT HERCULE POIROT

“Why not make my detective a Belgian? I could see him as a tidy little man, always arranging things, liking things in pairs, liking things square instead of round. And he should be brainy – he should have little grey cells of the mind.” Agatha Christie, An Autobiography

Hercule Poirot, one of the most famous fictional characters of all time. Synonymous with waxed moustaches, perfectionism and little grey cells, he has been solving crime for over ninety years, fascinating readers and viewers across the world.

It was in 1920 that Poirot made his first appearance, in The Mysterious Affair at

Styles , called upon by his old friend Lieutenant Hastings, who would come to be the Watson to Poirot’s Holmes. In fact, Agatha Christie later wrote that Poirot’s introduction to detective fiction was not at all how he himself would have liked. “‘Hercule Poirot first,’ he would have said, ‘and then a plot to display his remarkable talents to their best advantage.’ But it was not so.” Christie had already mentally drafted the story for The Mysterious Affair at Styles, yet it lacked a detective. She took note of Belgian refugees in Torquay in 1904 and it wasn’t long before she had a character in mind, “a former shining light of the Belgian police force”. A light impossible to extinguish, foiling Poirot’s multiple attempts at retirement as well as any chance he gets for a holiday!

Poirot would be the first to call himself a great man - he has never been known for his modesty - but with such success in his career, it is difficult to argue with him. He finishes each case with a dramatic dénouement, satisfying his own ego and confirming to all, that he is truly “the greatest mind in Europe.” His love of elegance, beauty, and precision, as well as his eccentric mannerisms are often ridiculed by the local bumbling policemen, but it is always Poirot who has the last word!

Christie never imagined how popular Poirot would become, nor how many stories she would write about him. He stars in 33 novels and 54 short stories, including some of Christie’s most successful such as Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile.

One of Christie later regrets was that Poirot began his literary life too mature: “the result is that my fictional detective is well over a hundred by now.” And it is no secret that character and author did not always see eye to eye. Christie grew tired of Poirot’s tedious habits, so much so that she wrote Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case in the

1940s. It was locked in a safe until 1974 when it was finally published, earning Poirot

a well - deserved obituary in The New York Times ; he is the only fictional character to have received such an honour.

The first actor to take on the rol e of the little Belgian was Charles Laughton in 1928, in the theatrical debut of Alibi. Austin Trevor was the first Poirot on screen in 1931, and went on to star in three films.

25 years 70 films

25

There was Tony Randall in 1965 and Academy Award nominee Albert Finney in the all - star classic Murder on the Orient Express in 1974. The great Peter Ustinov, winner of two Academy Awards, played Poirot in six films, and despite not physically resembling the character is still much loved worldwide.

But the actor most synonymous with Poirot is David Suchet, wh o first took on the role in 1988. Christie never saw David Suchet’s portrayal but her grandson, Mathew, has commented that she would have approved; Suchet balances “just enough of the irritation that we always associate with the perfectionist, to be convincing!” Suchet’s final series finished filming in 2013 and marks 25 years of his portrayal of Poirot.

Agatha wrote in an article in 1938 that Poirot’s favourite cases included The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Lord Edgware dies , whereas he regards Three Act Tragedy as “one of his failures. Although most people do not agree with him.” She concluded that while they have had their difficulties, “We are friends and partners. I am beholden to him financially. On the other hand he owes his very existence to me.” A sentiment which Poirot himself would surely refute!

Article from www.agathachristie.com

25 years 70 films

26

THE MANY CHARACTERISTICS OF HERCULE POIROT 1. Poirot is Belgian not French. 2. He drinks

THE MANY CHARACTERISTICS OF HERCULE POIROT

1. Poirot is Belgian not French.

2. He drinks Tisanes. H ardly ever Tea, which he calls ‘the English p oison. Will drink coffee but only when served black.

3. Poirot wears pointed, tight very shiny patent leather shoes.

4. He hates to fly as it makes him feel sick. He also hates travelling by water.

5. Poirot regards his mous tache as a thing of perfect beauty and uses scented pomade.

6. Poirot will always take his solid silver moustache grooming set with him when travelling.

7. Order and method are his Gods.

8. Poirot is a man of faith and morals. Always reads his Bible and regards himself as ‘Un Bon Catholique’.

9. Likes neatness. Poirot can’t tolerate a mess or anything disorderly, even untidy trays.

10. Loves his work and genuinely believes he is the best in the world . He expects everyone to know him.

11. He’s 5 foot 4 inches tall.

12. Always wears a hat when going out into the evening air.

13. Carries a ‘Turnip - face’ silver pocket watch.

14. Poirot is an excellent listener. Often disconcertingly silent and l ets other people do the talking.

15. He has a passion for tidiness and will always straighten objects if crooked or unsymmetrical.

16. His appearance (including hair) is always immaculate. Poirot can’t abide being or feeling untidy. A speck of dust on his clothes is ‘as painful as a bullet wound’.

25 years 70 films

27

17.

His slippers are embroidered.

18. He s mokes tiny, black Russian cigarettes from a cigarettes case (silver).

19. Will often have boiled eggs for breakfast. If more than one, then they must be the same size or he really can’t eat them!

20. Uses and is very proud of his walking cane.

21. When dissatisfied, restless, frustrated or angry Poirot will make the sound of a cat sneezing ‘Tchat.’

22. He dislikes gambling and thinks it is a human evil.

23. Poirot h as a most charming geniality but can also be as cold as ice.

24. His piercing eyes see right into the heart of a person. No one can lie to him and get away with it.

25. He’s very good with servants and working classes, never patronises them.

26. Hates the English class system.

27. Once fell in love with an English girl who used to cook him fluffy omelettes.

28. Nearly always will drink Sirop de Cassis as an aperitif or an after dinner drink.

29. Loves good food and wine.

30. He will never explain until the end. ‘It is not my habit to explain until the end it is reached.’

31. Meticulous and very concentrated with everything he does.

32. If he sees a matchstick on a flowerbed, he will bury it!!

33. Rarely shows his emotions and yet dislikes the English reserve.

34. He enjoys his ‘little ideas’. T his became a catchword.

35. Genuinely believes the happiness of one man and one woman is the greatest thing in the entire world.

36. Dislikes ‘ill manners’.

37. ‘In the little grey cells of the brain lies the solution of every mystery.’

38. Always drinks a hot chocolate before going to sleep.

39. Dislikes golf.

40. Will wipe dirty seats or benches with his handkerchief before sitting down. Similarly when kneeling on the flo or.

25 years 70 films

28

ACT ORS APPERING IN AGATHA CHRISTIE’S POIROT Title: After the Funeral Broadcast date: 26 March
ACT ORS APPERING IN AGATHA CHRISTIE’S POIROT Title: After the Funeral Broadcast date: 26 March
ACT ORS APPERING IN AGATHA CHRISTIE’S POIROT Title: After the Funeral Broadcast date: 26 March

ACT ORS APPERING IN AGATHA CHRISTIE’S POIROT

Title: After the Funeral Broadcast date: 26 March 2006 Cast included: Robert Bathhurst; Monica Dolan; Kevin Doyle; Michael Fassbender; Geraldine James .

Title: Appointment with Death Broadcast date: 25 December 2009 Cast included: Tim Curry; * Mark Gatiss; John Hannah ; Elizabeth McGovern .

Title: Death on the Nile Broadcast date: 12 April 2004 Cast include d: Emily Blunt; James Fox; Barbara Flynn; Alastair Mackenzie; Steve Pemberton; Judy Parfitt; David Soul ; Frances De La Tour.

Title: Elephants Can Remember Broadcast date: 9 June 2013 Cast included : Greta Scacchi ; Iain Glen ; Vanessa Kirby.

Title: Evil Under the Sun Broadcast date: 20 April 2001 Cast included : Russell Tovey.

Title: Five Little Pigs Broadcast date: 14 December 2003 Cast included : Aiden Gillen; Tob y Stephens; Rachel Stirling; Marc Warren ; Sophie Winkleman .

Title: Hallowe’en Party Broadcast date: 31 October 2010 Cast included : Amelia Bullmore; Julian Rhind - Tutt; Eric Sykes; Sophie Thompson.

25 years 70 films

29

Title: Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan Broadcast date: 7 March 1993 Cast included: Hermione Norris

Title: Murder on the Orient Express Broadcast date: 25 December 2010 Cast included : Eileen Atkins; Hugh Bonneville; Jessica Chastain; Barbara Hershey; Toby Jones ; David Morrissey; Samuel West.

Title: One, Two Buckle My Shoe Broadcast date: 19 January 1992 Cast included : Christopher Eccleston.

Title: Sad Cyprus Broadcast date: 26 December 2003 Cast included : Paul McGan n; Phyllis Logan; Rupert Penry- Jones; Kelly Reilly.

Title: The Clocks Broadcast date: 26 December 2011 Cast included : Frances Barber; Tom Burke; Phil Daniels; Beatie Edney; Geoffrey Palmer; Lesley Sharp ; Jaime Winstone.

Title: Three Act Tragedy Broadcast date: 3 January 2010 Cast included : Jane As her; Art Malik; Kimberly Nixon; Martin Shaw.

Title: The Mystery of the Blue Train Broadcast date: 1 January 2006 Cast included : James D’Arcy; Lindsay Duncan; Alice Eve; Elliott Gould; Rodger Lloyd - Pack; Jaime Murray.

Title: Wasps’ Nest Broadcast date: 27 January 1991 Cast included : Peter Capaldi .

*Mark Gatiss adapted the Agatha Christie titles Hallow’en Party and The Big Four

Actress Zoë Wanamaker has appeared alongside David Suchet as Ariadne Oliver, the mystery novelist and friend of Hercule Poirot, in six films; Cards on the Table (1 January 2006), Mrs McGinty’s Dead (14 September 2008), Third Girl (28 September 2008), Hallowe’en Party (31 October 2010), Elephant’s Can Remember (9 June 2013) and Dea d Man’s Folly (November 2013) .

25 years 70 films

30

AGATHA CHRISTIE FILM TITLES

Series 1 (Broadcast 1989) The Adventures of Clapham Cook Murder in the Mews The Adventures of Johnnie Waverly Four and Twenty Blackbirds The Third Floor Flat Triangle at Rhodes Problem at Sea T he In credible Theft The King of Clubs The Dream

Series 2 (Broadcast 1990) Peril at End House The Veiled Lady The Lost Mine The Cornish Mystery The Disappearance of Mr Davenheim Double Sin The Adventure if the Cheap Flat The Kidnapped Prime Minister The Adventure of the Western Star

Series 3 (Broadcast 1991) The Mysterious Affair at Styles How Does Your Garden Grow? The Million Dollar Bond Robbery The Plymouth Express Wasps’ Nest The Tragedy at Marsdon Manor The Double Clue The Mystery of the Spanish Chest The Theft of the Royal Ruby The Affair at the Victory Ball The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge

Series 4 (Broadcast 1992) The ABC Murders Death in the Clouds One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

25 years 70 films

31

Series 5 (Broadcast 1993) The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb The Underd og Yellow Iris The Case of the Missing Will The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman The Chocolate Box Dead Man’s Mirror Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan

Series 6 (Broadcast 1994 - 96) Hercule Poirot’s Christmas Hickory Dickory Dock Murder on the Lin ks Dumb Witness

Series 7 (Broadcast 2000) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd Lord Edgware Dies

Series 8 (2001 - 02) Evil Under the Sun Murder in Mesopotamia

Series 9 (2003 - 04) Five Little Pigs Sad Cypress Death on the Nile The Hollow

Series 10 (2006 ) Th e Mystery of the Blue Train Cards on the Table After the Funeral Taken at the Flood

Series 11 (2008 - 9) Mrs McGinty’s Dead Cat Among the Pigeons Third Girl Appointment with Death

25 years 70 films

32

Series 12 (2010 - 11) Three Act Tragedy Hallowe’en Party Murder on th e Orient Express The Clocks

Series 13 (2013) Elephants Can Remember The Big Four The Labours of Hercules Dead Man’s Folly Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case

In celebration of David Suchet’s legacy, the official Agatha Christie website www.agathachristie.com/poirot - tv is showcasing an advent calendar of clips from every Poirot episode counting down to Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case.

advent calendar of clips from every Poirot episode counting down to Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case. 25

25 years 70 films

33

CURTAIN: POIROT’S LAST CASE PRODUCTION CREDITS

Executive Producers

Managing Director Agatha Christie Ltd and Acorn Productions Ltd Ch airman Agatha Christie Ltd Writer Producer Line Producer Director Director of Photography Casting Directors

Editor First Assistant D irector Script Editor Script Supervisor Production Designer Art Director Costume Designer Dresser to David Suchet Make Up Designer Make Up Artist to David Suchet Composer Location Manager Production Co - ordinator

25 years 70 films

Michele Buck Damien Timmer Karen Thrussell Hilary Strong Mathew Pri chard Kevin Elyot David Boulter Matthew Hamilton Hettie Macd onald Alan Almond Susie Parriss Maureen Duff Tania Reddin Marcus Catlin Karen Steele Jayne Spooner Jeff Tessler Pilar Foy Sheena Napier Anne Marie Bigby Pam Haddock Sian Turner Miller Christian Henson Chris White Pat Bryan

34