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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12 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. 🙂

  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.

  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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