David Suchet will return as Hercule Poirot on Sunday 9 June at 8pm, ITV has confirmed. This latest mystery, a dramatisation of Agatha Christie’s Elephants Can Remember, will see Greta Scacchi, Iain Glen and Vanessa Kirby among the guest cast, while Zoe Wanamaker reprises her role as mystery writer Ariadne Oliver.
When asked about the continuing success of the series in which he’s starred for 25 years, Suchet commented: “Poirot is, of course, very popular because he has good manners. He’s very respectful and he’s very charming, but my son-in-law gave the best answer I’ve ever had for this question, which is that Poirot is enduring because he’s a great moral compass and people would like to be like him. Whenever you watch him, as he sums up a case, you think the world is a better place.”
In Elephants Can Remember, the great Belgian sleuth finds himself pre-occupied with investigating the strange and gruesome murder of an elderly psychiatrist, while his old friend Ariadne Oliver has a case of her own to solve. She is pressed by the loathsome Mrs Burton-Cox (Greta Scacchi) to uncover the truth about two decade-old deaths: were they murders or a double suicide? And if it was murder, then who killed whom?
“In this film, Ariadne goes out in the field and Poirot tells her to sniff around and to ask questions to those who live nearby,” said Suchet. “Poirot becomes involved sort of against his wishes until he realises that the case he’s working on is linked to what Ariadne Oliver is doing. He’s forced into it and has to turn around and say, ‘Madame, I think you are correct and I’ve now discovered that these two cases are connected’. He’s brought in and can solve both.”
David Suchet accepted the role of Hercule Poirot in 1988 and filmed the first Agatha Christie adaptation – The Adventure of the Clapham Cook – in the same year. The drama was then broadcast on ITV on 8 January 1989. Yet despite his long service, Suchet still undertakes a lengthy ritual of preparation before playing the part:
“Although the scripts allow me some development, every time I come back to Poirot I have to come back to his voice, his walk and his mannerisms. I usually have to watch up to ten hours prior to filming and I also conduct a detailed script study to make sure everything I say is valid, especially when I come to Poirot’s summing up. I work very closely with the script editor to make sure there are no assumptions. In addition to the character preparation, I like to rewrite my script in the vernacular of Poirot.”
This latest episode will form part of the 13th and final series that also includes The Big Four, Dead Man’s Folly, The Labours of Hercules and Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case.