Agatha Christie’s Poirot s13e05 Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case (2013) – 8/10 period crime detective murder mystery TV review

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Cast / crew
Hercule Poirot: David Suchet
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Screenplay Writer: Kevin Elyot
Helen Baxendale: Elizabeth Cole
Shaun Dingwall: Doctor Franklin
Claire Keelan: Nurse Craven
Anna Madeley: Barbara Franklin
Aidan McArdle: Stephen Norton
Matthew McNulty: Major Allerton
Alice Orr-Ewing: Judith Hastings
John Standing: Colonel Toby Luttrell
Captain Hastings: Hugh Fraser
Anne Reid: Daisy Luttrell
Philip Glenister: Sir William Boyd Carrington
Producer: David Boulter
Director: Hettie MacDonald

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s13e05 Curtain: Poirot’s Last Case (2013)

Hastings travels to Stiles, location of his and Poirot’s first murder case together, to visit an ailing, wheelchair-bound Poirot. Fortunately, Poirot’s moustache and little grey cells are in as good condition as ever, but evil is here once more and Poirot aims to stop it.

8/10

Along with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and, arguably, The Murder on the Orient Express, this is one of Agatha Christie’s most unforgettable and surprising murderers. Fortunately, screenplay writer Kevin Elyot didn’t remove that (like ITV did with Roger Ackroyd) and the episode is crisp, involving and emotional. After the highly variable quality of the feature-length episodes, it’s nice to report that the series ends on a high. Oh, and yes, of course, ITV interrupted SPOILER Poirot’s death for adverts and, of course, the ITV announcer talked all over the deliberately silent end credits.

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains adult dialogue, gory and unpleasant scenes, distressing scenes

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot s02e04 The Lost Mine (1990) – 6/10 period crime detective drama TV review

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Cast / crew
Writer: Agatha Christie
Hercule Poirot: David Suchet
Captain Hastings: Hugh Fraser
Chief Inspector Japp: Philip Jackson
Miss Lemon: Pauline Moran
Writer (Dramatisation): Michael Baker
Writer (Dramatisation): David Renwick
Anthony Bate: Lord Pearson
Colin Stinton: Charles Lester
Producer: Brian Eastman
Director: Edward Bennett

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s02e04 The Lost Mine (1990)

Poirot’s struggles in the early running of a game of Monopoly versus Hastings is mirrored in the real world with financial problems with his bank account (he’s £60 overdrawn, much to his fury and protestations). Meanwhile, he is engaged by his bank to find the owner of a map to a lost mine who failed to arrive at a crucial business meeting.

6/10

You don’t often see Poirot get the wrong end of the stick but writers Michael Baker and David Renwick deliver a delightful scene early on when Lord Pearson arrives to ask for Poirot’s help while Poirot thinks he’s come to apologise for a mistake in his account balance. It’s also great to see characters doing something other than their principle activity; in this case, Hastings and Poirot are playing Monopoly. It doesn’t really have anything to do with the plot but it is a tremendous amount of fun and reinforces the friendship between our two heroes. Sadly, the mystery aspect of the episode is uninvolving.

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains mild gory and unpleasant scenes, opium abuse

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot s10e04 Taken at the Flood (2005) – 7/10 period crime detective drama TV review

Cast / crew
Hercule Poirot: David Suchet
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Screenplay Writer: Guy Andrews
Jenny Agutter: Adela Marchmont
Patrick Baladi: Rowley Cloade
Eva Birthistle: Rosaleen / Eileen
Elliot Lowan: David Hunter
Amanda Douge: Lynn Marchmont
Penny Downie: Frances Cloade
Claire Hackett: Beatrice Lippincott
Supt. Harold Spence: Richard Hope
Celia Imrie: ‘Aunt’ Katy Cloade
Nicholas Le Prevost: Major James Porter
Tim Pigott-Smith: Dr. Lionel Cloade
Elizabeth Spriggs: Mrs Leadbetter
Pip Torrens: Jeremy Cloade
Tim Woodward: Enoch Arden / Charles
David Yelland: George the Butler
Producer: Trevor Hopkins
Director: Andy Wilson

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s10e04 Taken at the Flood (2005)

When the Cloade family can’t get financial support from their father’s widow – a very young American actress that none of them had met before the marriage – they, rightly, blame her extremely controlling brother. As their lives were predicated around a certain amount of income, having it cut off has brought them into desperate straits but then it appears that the young actress was married before and her first husband didn’t die. The Cloade’s enlist the help of family friend and world’s greatest detective, Hercule Poirot – no, not Batman – to find evidence of bigamy. Naturally, as soon as Poirot takes on the case, someone dies.

7/10

After awkward character introductions, Guy Andrews’ adaptation improves on some details of Christie’s novel while retaining the plot that sees deaths cleverly disguised as other kinds of deaths and revelling in the energetic odiousness of the Cloade family of suspects. Acceptable changes include how Rowley identifies Arden, the nature of the explosion and Rosalie and Lynn’s fate at the end. The cast is good, especially Elliot Lowan as David Hunter and David Suchet’s Poirot is a cheerful presence.

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains adult dialogue, bad language, substance abuse, violence, gory and unpleasant scene

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot s13e02 The Big Four (2013) – 6/10 period crime detective drama TV review

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Cast / crew
Hercule Poirot: David Suchet
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Screenplay Writer: Mark Gatiss
Screenplay Writer: Ian Hallard
Tom Brooke: Tysoe
Nicholas Burns: Inspector Meadows
Jack Farthing: Gerald Paynter
Patricia Hodge: Madame Olivier
Simon Lowe: Dr Quentin
Sarah Parish: Flossie Monro
Captain Hastings: Hugh Fraser
Miss Lemon: Pauline Moran
Chief Inspector Japp Assistant Commissioner Japp: Philip Jackson
Producer: David Boulter
Director: Peter Lydon

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s13e02 The Big Four (2013)

As the world appears to be tottering into war, the Peace Party organise a symbolic chess match between America and Russia. On his third move, however, the Russian Grandmaster keels over dead. You know, this never would have happened if Poirot hadn’t been invited to attend; he is a little egg-shaped Belgian bad luck magnet. Still, if he wasn’t there, they also wouldn’t have discovered that the death was far from accidental and, according to the papers, a mysterious organisation calling themselves The Big Four was responsible.

6/10

Though it ends up being rather silly and features a critical centrepiece explosion that has atrocious effects, this is largely a snappy, murderful couple of hours with the first death (at the chess game) being particularly ingenious. It uses manipulation of an eagerly sensationalist press as a key theme; something that certainly applied to the understandably partisan industry at the time this is set (shortly before the outbreak of World War II) but also applies to the contemporary grab for ratings through ever more explicit and intrusive coverage of scandals and disasters. It seems that BBC News can get George Alagiah to any place on Earth before local governments can get water or emergency services and supplies there.

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains unpleasant scenes

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot s13e04 The Labours of Hercules (2013) – 4/10 period crime detective drama TV review

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Cast / crew
Hercule Poirot: David Suchet
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Screenplay Writer: Guy Andrews
Orla Brady: Countess Rossakoff
Simon Callow: Dr. Lutz
Morven Christie: Elsie Clayton
Rupert Evans: Harold Waring
Nigel Lindsay: Francesco
Sandy McDade: Mrs. Rice
Fiona O’Shaughnessy: Katrina
Eleanor Tomlinson: Alice Cunningham
Tom Wlaschiha: Schwartz
Producer: David Boulter
Director: Andy Wilson

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s13e04 The Labours of Hercules (2013)

After a case goes horribly wrong, a depressed Poirot takes a long car ride with a young man who bursts into tears and runs away and then tells him about a lost love and Poirot goes to Switzerland to find this lost love and, unpredictably, there is a connection to the case that went horribly wrong and a chance for redemption and a character arc and there’s a twist and it’s all WRITTEN BY CHILDREN.

4/10

"They say Poirot is so intelligent, he is scarcely human, but, you know, he does not listen to this ‘they’" – Poirot

Once more eschewing any recognisable humanity or warmth or fun, this feature-length episode suffers from a complete lack of atmosphere, a surprisingly offensive pot-pourri of accents, the baffling insistence on making everything unspeakably serious and a weak central mystery (where the identity of the killer is immediate from the moment they appear largely because it obviously isn’t anyone else; it is inexplicably changed from the original short story). It also might contain the single most embarrassing scene in the entire series (not involving Zoe Wanamaker) when a young man is supposed to burst into tears and run away from a car. Christie’s stories are largely fun, generally very well-paced and these feature-length episodes are not. And I miss Hastings. It will be interesting to see if his return in the next and last ever episode of Poirot will make good use of him.

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains gory scene, adult dialogue

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot S01E08 The Incredible Theft (1989) – 7/10 period crime drama TV review

Cast / crew
Writer: Agatha Christie
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Hugh Fraser: Hastings
Philip Jackson: Chief Inspector Japp
Pauline Moran: Miss Lemon
Writer (Dramatisation): David Reid
Writer (Dramatisation): Clive Exton
John Stride: Tommy Mayfield
Carmen Du Sautoy: Mrs Vanderlyn
Producer: Brian Eastman
Director: Edward Bennett
Executive Producer: Nick Elliott
Executive Producer: Linda Agran

Poirot, Agatha Christie’s S01E08 Incredible Theft, The (1989)

Poirot is invited to make sure that aircraft plans vital to national security aren’t stolen but, wouldn’t you know, they are.

7/10

"But we must put on it a brave face, heh, and not allow cheerfulness to keep breaking through!" – Hercule Poirot

A lot to enjoy with Poirot in particularly good spirits. The mystery isn’t for anyone who watches these kind of things regularly but it’s the cheerfulness that provides the entertainment. Hastings gets a great scene moaning about Japp’s bedroom habits and, as already mentioned, Poirot is in a fun mood; teasing Miss Lemon, happily polishing his shoes, satisfyingly bristling at being called a “froggie” and even stealing police cars. As a bonus for boys, there’s an explosion and an useful car chase. Poirot finishes with the above sarcastic sentiment but it’s intriguing to see that a lack of cheerfulness, or even humanity, would characterise and undermine the poorer episodes of this classic series.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot s05e05 The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman (1993) – 8/10 period crime detective murder mystery TV review

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Cast / crew
Writer: Agatha Christie
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Hugh Fraser: Captain Hastings
Pauline Moran: Miss Felicity Lemon
Writer (Dramatisation): Clive Exton
Leonard Preston: Mr Edwin Graves
Anna Mazzotti: Margherita Fabbri
David Neal: Bruno Vizzini
Vincenzo Ricotta: Mario Asciano
Producer: Brian Eastman
Director: Brian Farnham

Agatha Christie’s Poirot S05E05 The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman (1993)

Poirot is drawn into London’s gangland underworld following the murder of the master of Miss Lemon’s new boyfriend.

8/10

Poirot: ‘Haven’t you ever exaggerated your own self-importance to impress a girl?’
Hastings: "Well certainly not. Never. Oh, well, I once told a girl I was a member at Wentworth when I wasn’t. But she didn’t play golf anyway. She thought Wentworth was a lunatic asylum."

This is a very good episode with a story that successfully gives you enough clues to point the finger of suspicion while misdirecting you wonderfully. The solid story is backed up, as is frequently the case in these hour-longs, by some wonderful writing and that lovely chemistry between Poirot and Hastings, especially, but also with Japp and Miss Lemon. Poirot is respectful and cheerful; he happily accompanies Hastings on a car shopping trip and shares his joy just like friends do. Writer Clive Exton really nailed the close friendship of the pair and never forgot the importance of humour. He gave Hastings the outstanding gag above and it’s not the only one. In fact, Hastings is awesome throughout the episode and gets to top it off with a car chase (which is quietly but brilliantly joined by a bus), a "you swine" and a classic punch on the nose.

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains gory and unpleasant scene, inferred violence, brief violence

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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