When you think of David Suchet’s Poirot the first thing that probably springs to mind is his iconic moustache.
But for Suchet, getting the walk right was pivotal for the role.
“When I did a film test – before I even started the programme – the producer and I agreed I walked too much like David Suchet and I said to him, ‘I remember that somewhere Agatha Christie describes his walk,” Suchet tells Radio Times magazine.
Suchet adds, “I went home that night and I searched and I searched… How I came across it I will never know but I wrote it down and I have memorised it virtually word for word.”
He leans forward and enunciates with theatrical deliberation: “’Poirot crossed the lawn in his usual, rapid, mincing gait, with his feet tightly and painfully enclosed within his patent leather boots’ And that’s it!”
Not that this is Suchet’s only inspiration – Laurence Olivier had a rather interesting approach to a similar task. Suchet explains, “When he was playing a fop in a Restoration play he put a penny in the crack of his bottom and walked and wouldn’t let it drop. If you do that, you can’t walk fast, so I did the same thing.”
Does this mean Suchet walked around with a penny in his bottom for the entire run of Poirot? “No, but what I made myself do when I wanted to walk like Poirot was to squeeze my bottom. That makes you walk with short strides and that’s all I do. If you think of Poirot and how he walks – that precise little thing is very much who he is. He is not a man of broad, relaxed gestures.”
Mystery solved, eh?
Read the full interview in the Radio Times magazine, on sale today