Agatha Christie’s Poirot S05E04 The Case of the Missing Will (1993) – 7/10 period murder mystery drama TV review

Cast / crew
Writer: Agatha Christie
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Hugh Fraser: Captain Hastings
Philip Jackson: Chief Inspector Japp
Pauline Moran: Miss Felicity Lemon
Writer (Dramatisation): Douglas Watkinson
Beth Goddard: Violet Wilson
Producer: Brian Eastman
Director: John Bruce
Executive Producer: Nick Elliott

Poirot, Agatha Christie’s S05E04 Case of the Missing Will, The (1993)

The day before he is due to make a new will leaving his entire fortune to his beloved ward Violet, Andrew Marsh dies. Poirot, who would have been the executor of the new will, smells a rat. When the time comes for the will to be read, however, even the old will cannot be found and Poirot’s suspicions are confirmed.

7/10

"I have been stumbling around in a darkened room. But now I see the light." – Poirot, accompanied by an entirely baffled Hastings.

Writer Douglas Watkinson generously shares the spotlight which is, of course, most unusual in a hero detective drama; Miss Lemon is served particularly well with a critical grammatical observation and a related reveal during Poirot’s summation while Hastings gets to impeccably and authoratively, in the nicest possible manner, discover and guard the crime scene. The finger of suspicion dots around gleefully and it’s a credit to Watkinson and director John Bruce that we can comfortably keep track; even making us feel like we’re one step ahead though, of course, Poirot is two steps ahead, just as we want him to be.

This Poirot, Agatha Christie’s episode contains unpleasant scene.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot Murder on the Orient Express (2010) – 8/10 period murder mystery drama TV review

Cast / crew
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Writer (Screenplay): Stewart Harcourt
Eileen Atkins: Princess Dragomiroff
Hugh Bonneville: Edward Masterman
Jessica Chastain: Mary Debenham
Marie-Josée Croze: Greta Ohlsson
Serge Hazanavicius: Xavier Bouc
Toby Jones: Samuel Ratchett / Cassetti
Susanne Lothar: Hildegarde Schmidt
Joseph Mawle: Antonio Foscarelli
Denis Menochet: Pierre Michel
David Morrissey: John Arbuthnot
Elena Satine: Countess Andrenyi
Brian J. Smith: Hector MacQueen
Stanley Weber: Count Andrenyi
Samuel West: Dr Constantine
Barbara Hershey: Caroline Hubbard / Linda Arden
Producer: Karen Thrussell
Director: Philip Martin

Poirot, Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express (2010)

A miserable Poirot is called to London and boards the Orient Express. On the second night, one of the passengers is found brutally stabbed to death and Poirot is implored to investigate before the authorities arrive.

8/10

This is a surprisingly gripping, if humourless, adaptation which successfully provokes thought about the nature of justice and who has the right to execute it. Most surprisingly, it stops Poirot from delivering the traditional summation (Princess Dragamoff takes over and does it) which rather undermines the triumph of intellect required to close these stories on a high. Instead, the story ends with a cold miserable Poirot clearly feeling like he’s been backed into a corner where he had to choose the least wrong answer. It’s not the joyous revelation of the book or previous adaptations, but it is definitely interesting and a worthwhile tinkering for this screen outing of the classic Christie.

This Poirot, Agatha Christie’s episode contains strong violence, graphic blade violence.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot S03E04 Wasps’ Nest (1991) – 7/10 period murder mystery drama TV review

Cast / crew
Writer: Agatha Christie
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Hugh Fraser: Captain Hastings
Philip Jackson: Chief Inspector Japp
Pauline Moran: Miss Lemon
Writer (Dramatisation): David Renwick
Martin Turner: John Harrison
Melanie Jessop: Molly Deane
Peter Capaldi: Claude Langton
Producer: Brian Eastman
Director: Brian Farnham
Executive Producer: Nick Elliott

Poirot, Agatha Christie’s S03E04 Wasps’ Nest (1991)

Buzzing, crawling creatures are low on Poirot’s list of favourites things at the best of times but he has even more for his little grey cells to worry about when he becomes convinced that a murder is in the air. If he can solve the crime that has not yet been committed, maybe he can prevent a murder instead of merely catching the culprit. Hastings has taken up photography (and taken over Poirot’s bathroom), Japp has a nasty stomach problem and Miss Lemon is advocating the goodness of her fitness class to Poirot.

7/10

"Good god; this is England. Jealous suitors don’t go around murdering people."

A career high for Poirot as he attempts to solve a murder before it happens. Both the plot and the murder that Poirot attempts to foil are cleverer than they first appear, writer David Renwick gives Poirot and Hastings some choice comedy moments (Poirot trying to move a box and Hastings engaging a pharmacist in conversation) and Poirot’s traditional summation rounds things off nicely.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot s04e03,04 Death in the Clouds (1992) – 6/10 period crime detective murder mystery TV review

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Cast / crew
Writer: Agatha Christie
Hercule Poirot: David Suchet
Chief Inspector Japp: Philip Jackson
Writer (Dramatisation): William Humble
Sarah Woodward: Jane Grey
Shaun Scott: Norman Gale
Cathryn Harrison: Lady Horbury
Director: Stephen Whittaker

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s04e0304 Death in the Clouds (1992)

Poirot’s professional pride is somewhat deflated when a murder is committed just a few feet from him. His excuse: he was flying on a plane and he was sleeping. Even when awake, however, his only real clue from the scene seems to be a wasp buzzing around the cabin.

6/10

"Well, well. Seems you can’t even fly on an aeroplane now without someone getting murdered."

This is fine and reasonably crisp for a two-parter but the significance of the wasp is never made clear, the two coffee spoons isn’t revealed until much later than it should and the whole murder mystery aspect feels very thin indeed with almost no gathering of information taking place. Surprising, then, that it holds together as well as it does.

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains extreme and extremely graphic murder and dismemberment of a wasp (yay!), poisoning violence

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot S01E10 The Dream (1989) – 8/10 period murder mystery TV review

Cast / crew
Writer: Agatha Christie
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Hugh Fraser: Captain Arthur Hastings
Philip Jackson: Chief Inspector Japp
Pauline Moran: Miss Felicity Lemon
Writer (Dramatisation): Clive Exton
Director: Edward Bennett

Poirot, Agatha Christie’s S01E10 Dream, The (1989)

Benedict Farley, a wealthy businessman (he makes pies), requests the wisdom of Poirot with regard to disturbing dream he keeps having where he commits suicide at 12:28 with a revolver. He asks Poirot if he can be made to kill himself through the suggestion of the dream but Poirot cannot offer any advice due to lack of information. His puzzlement and frustration is joined by professionally dented pride when Farley is found dead the next day. Shot. At 12:28. With a revolver. Meanwhile, Miss Lemon is having trouble with the typewriter.

8/10

Though the nature of the revelation of the dream is immediately transparent to the audience and, it should be noted, to a certain extent by Poirot, the surrounding stuff including Poirot revealing a wild youth that may have permanently damaged some little grey cells (prompting a welcome "I say" from Hastings), the murder method, a clock (another "I say") and a typewriter ("Voila!") keeps the episode more than entertaining enough. And there is the tacit recognition (by Japp) that like super-villains flocking to Gotham, even when it looks like suicide, "where Hercule Poirot is concerned, there arises immediately the suspicion of murder." A lot of fun.

This Poirot, Agatha Christie’s episode contains mild unpleasant scene, mild violence.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot The Clocks (2009) – 7/10 period murder mystery TV review

Cast / crew
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Writer (Screenplay): Stewart Harcourt
Frances Barber: Merlina Rival
Stephen Boxer: Christopher Mabbutt
Tom Burke: Lt. Colin Race
Phil Daniels: Inspector Hardcastle
Beatie Edney: Mrs Hemmings
Guy Henry: Matthew Waterhouse
Anna Massey: Miss Pebmarsh
Geoffrey Palmer: Vice Admiral Hamling
Tessa Peake-Jones: Val Bland
Ben Righton: Constable Jenkins
Lesley Sharp: Miss Martindale
Abigail Thaw: Rachel Waterhouse
Jason Watkins: Joe Bland
Jaime Winstone: Sheila Webb
Producer: Karen Thrussell
Director: Charles Palmer

Poirot, Agatha Christie’s Clocks, The (2009)

A typist is booked by a blind woman to be at her house at 3:00pm but when she arrives she finds four clocks set to 4:13. And a dead body, of course.

7/10

Good episode of Poirot because it is, however mildly, fun, a quality that is in short supply in the feature-length adaptations. On top of this, the clues, characters and mystery are presented clearly and kept in focus and, while Poirot does keep a clue away from the audience (a marriage certificate), there are enough other clues to the how and who to get us most of the way there if we’re paying attention. The support cast do a good job with Phil Daniels balancing his character delicately and Tom Burke providing a surprisingly welcome romantic element.

This Poirot, Agatha Christie’s episode contains adult dialogue and brief gory violence, graphic fatal car accident.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot Hallowe’en Party (2010) – 6/10 period murder mystery TV review

Cast / crew
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Writer (Screenplay): Mark Gatiss
Amelia Bullmore: Judith Butler
Paola Dionisotti: Mrs Goodbody
Deborah Findlay: Rowena Drake
Ian Hallard: Edmund Drake
Georgia King: Frances Drake
Phyllida Law: Mrs Llewellyn-Smythe
Julian Rhind-Tutt: Michael Garfield
Eric Sykes: Mr Fullerton
Sophie Thompson: Mrs Reynolds
Paul Thornley: Inspector Raglan
Timothy West: Reverend Cottrell
Fenella Woolgar: Miss Whittaker
Zoë Wanamaker: Ariadne Oliver
Producer: Karen Thrussell
Director: Charles Palmer

Poirot, Agatha Christie’s Hallowe’en Party (2010)

A child at a Hallowe’en party claims to have seen a murder years ago but didn’t realise it was murder. Now that she’s older, she knows better. Everyone at the party mocks her obviously attention-grabbing lies. Well, everyone except the murderer, of course.

6/10

Most impressively, the critical clue is given without obfuscation to the viewer and Poirot at the same time, nice and early in the investigation. It isn’t until Poirot twigs the significance that the audience realises too. Brilliant. Adapter Mark Gatiss successfully tidies up the reportedly slightly haphazard novel and even managing to briefly shoehorn some lesbians in (as required by ITV period drama law). Director Charles Palmer keeps a good grip on things and delivers a tidy feature-length episode.

This Poirot, Agatha Christie’s episode contains adult dialogue and violence, unpleasant scenes.

Classified 12 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over.

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