My 5 Favourite Episodes of ‘Poirot’

I mentioned my love for Agatha Christie months ago and that I would write more about that. And didn’t. Well this isn’t a big detailed post. In fact, it’s very specifically about my favourite Poirot adaptations. These are only the ones starring David Suchet on ITV and by favourite I mean just that. Not the best. Not the most faithful adaptations. Just the ones that I enjoy the most and can re-watch most easily. (That’s right, I re-watch them. All of them. If anyone thinks a #PoirotWatch would be as much fun as #ColumboWatch let me know and maybe we can set one up. Or do a Blog-A-Long? Sidetracking…) This list was intended to be in ascending order but I’m not sure if that’s still true… 5. The Mystery of the Blue Train (2005) 'The Mystery of the Blue Train' I think that this was one of the first Poirot episodes that I watched. Or, at least, the first one that I actively remember watching. Three things sell me on Poirot episodes: the inclusion of Poirot, the plot and the production values (cast, costumes and set). This is why I tend to prefer the later Poirot episodes. They are also the first ones I saw and I tend to prefer two-hour (one and a half minus adverts) episodes over the shorter ones. There’s more…tension. Or at least red herrings and, usually, murders. ‘The Mystery of the Blue Train’ is regarded as one of Christie’s weakest novels – she would include it in that list too. She rushed to finish the novel because she needed the money. It has a lots of similar plot points to a short story (actually fairly common among Christie’s works) ‘The Plymouth Express’, part of the short story collection ‘Poirot’s Early Cases’. The short story was also dramatised early on in the Poirot “series”. The plot isn’t great, I grant you. But…it’s all so beautiful. The characters are all pretty eccentric. And Elliott Gould is there! The sets are incredible. It is just a visually stunning adaptation. I’m shallow that way. 4. After the Funeral (2006) 'After the Funeral' This is an adaptation of the first Christie novel I read. So this episode is included partly for nostalgic reasons but also because I really enjoy the adaptation. I showed this episode to some friends a few years ago, none of them being big into period dramas or murder mysteries but they were all intrigued and none of them guessed the culprit! There are a few changes to the plot by way of modernising it – read “sexing it up”. With all of the best Christie stories, there is a disparate group of characters. And this is shown through a range of actors. Including Michael Fassbender before he was off being a Hollywood moviestar. (That was one way I got my friend to watch – she was a Fass convert from back in the Hex days.) It isn’t quite as overtly glamorous as The Mystery of the Blue Train but everything is perfectly designed for the characters and the plot. 3. Mrs McGinty’s Dead (2007) 'Mrs McGinty's Dead' This is the first (and only) of my favourite episodes to include Ariadne Oliver – one of my favourite literary characters. This is just because the other Poirot adaptations that she has been in so far (Cards on the Table before this and Third Girl and Hallowe’en Party after this don’t quite live up to the other episodes – I have a soft spot for Hallowe’en Party though). I’m looking forward to her next appearances in the series – Elephants Can Remember and Dead Man’s Folly. In this episode, Zoe Wanamaker just plays Oliver perfectly. There is so much comedy to be had in that character but it is never overplayed. And I just love Poirot and Oliver together. Brilliant. The story is also another winner – lots of possibilities, red herrings, suspects. It’s a winner. 2. Death on the Nile (2004)

'Death on the Nile'

(Am I the only one who does a double-take when I see JJ Field to check it isn’t Tom Hiddleston? It’s really annoying. Especially in ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’)

I have to include this episode if only for the fact that it was behind my final project when I was at university – I constructed the dress Emily Blunt wore in her second appearance (but there’s a longer story around that) and the suit JJ Field wore when accompanying her in that scene. I have watched this episode multiple times and if I could wear everything there, I would. No question. I went through a variety of dress options and may one day make the red velvet one for myself. Maybe. The plot here is incredible if not more far fetched than usual! When you see the outcome you’ll understand what I mean. You get completely involved though and isn’t escapism more fun? 1. Five Little Pigs (2003) 'Five Little Pigs' This is an adaptation of one of my favourite Christie books. It is a great adaptation. It keeps the spirit of the book and also is fairly accurate. Considering the nature of the story it can be a little confusing but it also sums up the best loved aspect of a Poirot story. The crimes are solved through psychology. Not forensics. The crime is fourteen years old, carried out in the 1920s. No new forensic evidence could be found – especially not in the 1930s. Poriot can only solve the crime by listening and understanding five people. This adaptation was also voted as the best television adaptation at the BFI’s Agatha Christie weekend back in November 2010. So there’s my list of favourite episodes. I might move onto Marple episodes next…who know? One thing remains though. David Suchet is the best Poirot and I am excited beyond belief about the new Poirot episodes being filmed. Also, thoroughly disheartened that I am not involved in some way. Anyone else love Poirot like me? Some favourite episodes? Should I have included some of the classics like The Murder of Roger Ackroyd or Murder on the Orient Express? S x

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14 thoughts on “My 5 Favourite Episodes of ‘Poirot’

  1. Pingback: My 5 Favourite Episodes of ‘Marple’ | Damn, That's Some Fine Tailoring

  2. Pingback: Sheena Napier: Costume Design Talk at the V&A | Damn, That's Some Fine Tailoring

  3. Right there with you on the Hiddleston front. (That’s how I landed here–Googled “Tom Hiddleston Poirot” and this was the first hit.)

    IMO, Suchet is to Poirot as Jeremy Brett is to Sherlock Holmes. 🙂

    • Agreed. Re: Suchet and Poirot. I’m watching Appointment With Death. Different than the book but GOOD. And I love the score.

      If I had to pick five it would be tough but here they are;

      5. Dumb Witness: (Who can’t love a detective who makes a dog a key witness? )

      4 The Mystery of the Blue Train: (Mainly for the Avuncular friendship between Katherine Grey and Poirot). Do such trustworthy relationships exist anymore?

      3 The Third Girl : (Again to the issue of trust) . Norma Resterick is being driven crazy by someone who wants her to believe she killed her mother and then her nanny. Despite having a whole mansion as a home, Norma goes to Poirot for help.

      2 The Big Four : (For sentimental reasons.) Poirot and Japp embark on their last case together to uncover the plans of the mysterious ‘Big Four’ before they de-stablize an already precarious situation. The truth of the situation is something less political but more deeply bizarre; resulting in a brilliant twist that has fans and friends attending Poirot’s funeral before Poirot, himself, pulls a reveal that throws the real ‘Big Four’ initiator for a loop. This episode gives the statement; “What some men will do for love?” a whole new spin!

      1. Curtain:. If you have seen the first four and /or the majority of the Poirot canon, then you won’t get through the first two minutes of this episode (no exaggeration) without blubbing or at least tearing up seriously. And I LOVE how, even dealing with a heart condition, Poirot also battled with his conscience and did the only thing that could be done, when the justice system could not touch a man (Norton) who skated just outside the rule of law. I have to wonder if Poirot thought back to his ordeal on the Orient Express; puzzling over the justification of murder.

      If I have one complaint about this episode it’s that the screenwriter (Kevin Elyot) couldn’t tinker a bit more with his red-herring of having Judith Hastings as a co-conspirator with Stephen Norton in the death of Poirot. Heck, even Hastings knew his daughter was COLD HEARTED . And she alluded, not Once but TWICE about the idea of getting rid of the ‘old and ill’ within hearing distance of Poirot. She’s a nice lady. NOT! I would have loved to see that detestable little madame hanged, along with Norton when Japp and Hastings are able to prove collusion. After all, a person can take so much and Hastings reaches his limit with being told, by his daughter, that she’s old enough to make her own choices. In heeding Norton’s jibes and killing Poirot with an overdose of a powerful sedative, (in his hot chocolate) Judith would end up going to the gallows for taking someone else’s counsel, while, at the same time, doing what she wanted. How ironic is that!?

  4. I have to be honest I love Sir Peter Ustinov. Must because he is gorgeous! But Lately I learnd to cherish David Suchet as well! Nice entry – I definetly am going to check out some of the episodes you recommended 😉 Greetings from Germany!

  5. I LOVED the Five Pigs, great choice. As for the murder of Roger Aykroyd, it lacks the psychological twists and intellect of the book. I was very disappointed that they rewrote the ending. Thanks for your thoughtfulness selections! I will watch them all.

  6. Five little pigs … definitively the best ! close to perfection. I just saw him again this week for the fifth time or maybe more.

  7. Just wanted to mention that your #5 pick, 2005 Mystery on the Blue train is one of my top, if not the top Poirot episodes. For some reason his relationship with the young newly wealthy Katherine Grey was so sweet. Without his companions from the earlier episodes, Poirot seems so alone in the world. The last scene where he and Katherine part ways is so heartbreaking! David Cuchet shows so much emotion in his face disappointment, then detestation, realizing they will not stay in touch. I think Poirot considered her as daughter and part of his sadness was regret about not having a family. Of course she is unaware of all of this.

    • We are SOOOO on the same page. There is a scene where someone is killed on the train and Poirot is terrified that the victim could be Catherine Grey. Have you seen The Third Girl? After everything is worked out, and the leading lady is reunited with the man she loves, she looks up at the balcony and smiles at Poirot. She hadn’t smile for the majority of the movie.

      Poirot: She smiles . (He flicks something from his eye)

      Ariadne Oliver ; Is that a tear?

      Poirot: No, madame. Merely the breeze. (but there’s a choke in his voice) .

  8. I too was convinced it was Tom Hiddleston in “Death on the Nile” and, like Ivy, looked up “Tom Hiddleston Hercule Poirot”. Who is JJ Field? What has he acted in?

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