When David Suchet removes Hercules Poirot's waxed moustache and takes off the padded suit he refers to as the “armadillo” after filming the final four of Agatha Christie’s tales of the Belgian detective, it will be for the last time.
“There can’t be any more - the moustache is hung up, I’m afraid,” Suchet told a disappointed audience at the Cheltenham Literary Festival.
“Having [already] shot the last story - which will be the last story to be shown on your screens (although I go on after and do the next four) - that’s it,” he said.
Suchet has played the detective in ITV series Agatha Christie's Poirot on and off since 1989, but when he does finally end that incredible 25-year relationship, it will not be because he is bored with the role.
“I’ll never have enough of him because in my heart he’s such an enjoyable character to play,” said the actor. “I always find him challenging, he’s a very difficult glove to fit into every time I come back to him."
Instead, it's the completion of Agatha Christie's entire series of Poirot stories that has convinced Suchet it's time to stop.
Having previously done a reading of Black Coffee, Christie's only Poirot story written specifically for the stage - and with the plot of the remaining novel, The LeMesurier Inheritance, to be woven into another episode from the series, The Labours of Hercules - Suchet said he was satisfied he had done Christie and Poirot justice.
He said he was "happy and proud" to be the only actor ever to achieve the feat: "That I have completed for the first tme in the history of television, and as an actor, the canon of Hercules Poirot for Agatha Christie and for the British - and the world - public, that will give me enourmous pleasure," said Suchet.