When ITV announced the go-ahead on production of the final five small screen adaptations of the Hercule Poirot stories written by the late Agatha Christie, it was not only met with mixed feelings by Poirot fans worldwide, but also from the actor who has invested 22+ years of his career playing the infamous Belgian detective, David Suchet. When filming is completed this summer, Suchet will have played Poirot in every Agatha Christie story every written for the title character. As you can imagine, Suchet is, understandably, a bit ‘gutted’ at the thought of bringing Hercule Poirot to a close. Gutted, yes, but incredibly proud of his association with the character, which begin almost a quarter of a century ago back in 1989.
As we reported in 2012 when ITV announced production would begin in October, the titles of the final five adaptations of the 13th and final series were to include Labours of Hercules, Dead Man’s Folly, The Big Four, Elephants Can Remember and Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case. With production set to wrap up in the next couple of months, we’ve learned that with Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case, even though it was the final chapter for Poirot written by Christie in 1940 but not released until 1975, it was to be the first targeted for completion in the production cycle.
In Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case, Poirot (David Suchet) and Captain Hastings (Hugh Fraser) are together again for the first time since 2001 where they will return to Styles Court, the scene of their first case together, where Poirot declares that one of the guests is in fact a serial killer. ‘Guests’ included Helen Baxendale (Friends, Cold Feet, Dirk Gently, Inspector George Gently), Anne Reid (Coronation Street, Ladies of Letters, Last Tango in Halifax) and Alice Orr-Ewing (Blandings).
In The Big Four, Poirot, sidekick Captain Hastings, secretary Miss Lemon and Scotland Yard’s Inspector Japp will return for the Mark Gatiss / Ian Hallard adaptation set in the world of global espionage which sees Poirot investigate murder against the backdrop of the impending Second World War.
While the world will, collectively, be ‘gutted when currently tentative UK transmission plans call for a Fall premiere on ITV1 and a 2014 premiere on PBS in the States, ITV’s producer, Michele Buck, said: “We can promise the final five Poirot films will be a fitting tribute to a much-loved literary character. When the ending comes it’ll be very dramatic and incredibly emotional. We’ve been on a remarkable journey with Poirot.”
Remarkable, indeed. But, I’ll still be gutted.