Agatha Christie’s Poirot S03E09 The Plymouth Express (1991) – 7/10 period murder mystery 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): Rod Beacham
Script Consultant: Clive Exton
John Stone: Halliday
Kenneth Haigh: McKenzie
Julian Wadham: Rupert Carrington
Alfredo Michelson: Comte de la Rochefour
Marion Bailey: Jane Mason
Shelagh McLeod: Florence Carrington
Producer: Brian Eastman
Director: Andrew Piddington
Executive Producer: Nick Elliott

Poirot, Agatha Christie’s S03E09 Plymouth Express, The (1991)

When Florence Carrington, the daughter of a self-made millionaire, is murdered on the London to Plymouth Express and her extensive and valuable jewelry collection taken, Poirot becomes involved as he had been previously asked to cast an eye over her latest suitor. However, the two obvious suspects in her death, the latest suitor and her broke soon-to-be ex-husband, simply do not work for Poirot. The critical clue is clearly an insistent attempt to buy a late edition daily newspaper (as opposed to an early edition) by Florence shortly before her death but what can it mean?

7/10

There are less little pieces of character business in this episode (though I did enjoy Hastings almost calling a Frenchman a “frog” in front of Poirot) but the director paces the thing so beautifully that when Poirot starts preparing for the finalé you are sure you should still have a good twenty minutes of sleuthing to go. That’s the beauty of the one hour format, the episode are consistently crisp and fast-moving. When the series moved to the two-hour format, it lost much more than (the extra hour) it gained.

This Poirot, Agatha Christie’s episode contains unpleasant description of death by knife and violent and unpleasant scene.

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

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot s06e01 Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (1994) – 6/10 period crime detective murder mystery TV review

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Cast / crew
Hercule Poirot: David Suchet
Chief Inspector Japp: Philip Jackson
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Writer (Dramatisation): Clive Exton
Vernon Dobtcheff: Simeon Lee

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s06e01 Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (1994)

“For Poirot it will be a quiet Christmas.” Poirot’s powers of prophecy are not as finely tuned as his powers of deduction as he finds himself – thanks to a heating malfunction in his own apartment – staying at the home of the odious Simeon Lee who believes that his life is in danger. Sure enough, Lee is brutally murdered soon thereafter.

6/10

While the mechanics of the locked-room murder are agreeably ingenious, Clive Exton fails to bring much of his usual humour and humanity to the script and doesn’t disguise the fact that Poirot couldn’t possibly know what he knows at the end (he could know the murderer and the method but not the murderer’s mother or where she was staying). Exton also fails to successfully present any of the suspects as genuinely having the means, motive and opportunity to commit the crime. A bit weak, then, but still watchable thanks to David Suchet’s Poirot and Philip Jackson’s Japp who hadn’t yet lost their humanity and friendship in their performances ("Ah, Chief Inspector! You have been thinking again; I have warned you of this before.").

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains bad language, blade violence, inferred strong violence, unpleasant scenes

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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Agatha Christie’s Poirot 3.03 The Affair at the Victory Ball (1991, TV) – 7/10

Writer (Original Story): Agatha Christie
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Hugh Fraser: Captain Hastings
Philip Jackson: Chief Inspector Japp
Pauline Moran: Miss Lemon
Writer (Dramatization): Andrew Marshall
Mark Crowdy: Viscount Cronshaw
David Henry: Eustace Beltaine
Haydn Gwynne: Coco Courtney
Nathaniel Parker: Chris Davidson
Producer: Brian Eastman
Director: Renny Rye
Executive Producer: Nick Elliott

Poirot, Agatha Christie’s 3.03 Affair at the Victory Ball, The (1991)

When Poirot is enticed from his stamp collection straightening to attend a fancy dress Victory Ball, the proceedings are interrupted by a knife in the chest of one of the attendees.

7/10

Entertaining episode with a fun punchline (complaints regarding a dreadful accent which Poirot majestically deflects on to Japp – "Chief Inspector, you really ought to look to your elocution." "Swipe me, there’s nothing wrong with my lingo.") but the mystery is not difficult to work out. The explanation seems a bit drawn out and relies on the hoary old left-handed proof as a climax. Still, it’s always fun to see Hastings appeal to Poirot’s lack of humility and the great man, like every character in television and movie history, cannot operate a magnifying glass (they always hold them the wrong way around so that what they are looking is diminished not magnified).

This Poirot, Agatha Christie’s episode contains death by cocaine and unpleasant scenes.

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

Agatha Christie’s Poirot 3.01 How Does Your Garden Grow? (1991, TV) – 8/10

Writer (Original Story): Agatha Christie
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Hugh Fraser: Captain Hastings
Philip Jackson: Chief Inspector Japp
Pauline Moran: Miss Lemon
Writer: Andrew Marshall
Script Consultant: Clive Exton
Anne Stallybrass: Mary Delafontaine
Tim Wylton: Henry Delafontaine
Margery Mason: Amelia Barrowby
Catherine Russell: Katrina Reiger
Producer: Brian Eastman
Director: Brian Farnham
Executive Producer: Nick Elliott

Poirot, Agatha Christie’s 3.01 How Does Your Garden Grow? (1991)

While at Chelsea Flower Show to be accorded the honour of having a beautiful pink rose named after him, Poirot is accosted by Miss Amelia Barrowby and insistently given a packet of Catherine the Great seed. With no seed in it.

8/10

Splendid Poirot adaptation with all the clues given to you but only the master can put them together. There’s even a great closing gag involving a bottle of weed-killer. This is great fun and Suchet is marvelous. While a gander at the cast list and the verse of the nursery rhyme from which the title is taken will reveal the guilty party, you won’t do this before the event and, in any case, the way Christie weaves the story around the nursery rhyme is wondrous to behold.

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

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Agatha Christie’s Poirot 3.10 The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge (1991, TV) – 6/10 review

Writer: Agatha Christie
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Hugh Fraser: Captain Hastings
Philip Jackson: Chief Inspector Japp
Writer (Dramatization): T.R. Bowen
Script Consultant: Clive Exton
Diana Kent: Zoe Havering
Jim Norton: Roger Havering

Poirot, Agatha Christie’s 3.10 The Mystery of Hunter’s Lodge (1991)

After several hours freezing on a moor while Hastings shoots game, Poirot finds himself with the world’s deadliest cold (though he might be exaggerating slightly) but he manages to keep his little grey cells at full operating temperature when the moor’s owner is murdered.

6/10

This is a solid episode with some good fun with Poirot making a meal of a mild cold ("I have the deadly fever!") but still astounding Hastings and Japp with his ability to divine the description of the murderer without leaving his hotel bed. As with most of the hour-longs, there’s great camaraderie between Hastings, Japp and Poirot with an especially fun epilogue. However, this suffers from SPOILER the odd inability of television to completely disguise an actor END SPOILER and that gives away the mechanics of the murder if you were quick enough to pick up on it in the second or two of screen-time available.

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

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s10e03 After the Funeral (2005) – 5/10 period crime detective drama TV review

Cast / crew
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Screenplay Writer: Philomena McDonagh
Robert Bathurst: Gilbert Entwhistle
Geraldine James: Helen Abernethie
Anna Calder-Marshall: Maude Abernethie
Monica Dolan: Cora and Miss Gilchrist
Kevin Doyle: Inspector Morton
Michael Fassbender: George Abernathie
Fiona Glascott: Rosamund
Julian Ovenden: Michael Shane
Lucy Punch: Susannah Henderson
William Russell: Lanscombe
Anthony Valentine: Giovanni Gallaccio
Benjamin Whitrow: Timothy Abernethie
Producer: Trevor Hopkins
Director: Maurice Phillips

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s10e03 After the Funeral (2005)

Poirot investigates the death of a man who, after his funeral, is claimed to have been murdered by one of his slightly dotty relatives, Cora Gallaccio. Her rambling is dismissed but a bizarre and unexpected will proves to be an appetiser for the main course: the brutal murder of Cora Gallaccio the day after the funeral.

5/10

Christie’s whodunit has such an unforeseen solution that it drags this adaptation back up to average after declining slowly through inactivity and ripe acting during the second hour. Despite all the period production design, this outing, like most of these two-hour adaptations, simply has no atmosphere or charm.

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains mild sexuality, Unpleasant scenes

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

Agatha Christie’s Poirot 1.06 Triangle at Rhodes (1989, TV) – 6/10 review

Writer: Agatha Christie
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Writer (Dramatization): Stephen Wakelam
Script Consultant: Clive Exton
Frances Low: Pamela Lyall
Jon Cartwright: Commander Chantry
Annie Lambert: Valentine Chantry
Peter Settelen: Douglas Gold
Angela Down: Marjorie Gold
Producer: Brian Eastman
Director: Renny Rye
Executive Producer: Nick Elliott
Executive Producer: Linda Agran

Poirot, Agatha Christie’s 1.06 Triangle at Rhodes (1989)

While Poirot isn’t the only one to notice the eternal triangle between a habitual-bride and somebody’s else husband while in Rhodes but he is the only one to warn the philanderer’s wife to leave Rhodes if she values her life. However, the whole thing seems to work out amicably before Poirot leaves for home.

6/10

Composer Christopher Gunning overdoes the localization and it renders significant portions of this episode rather irritating. However, it’s beautifully produced, well-acted and Suchet is charming, handsome, gracious and charismatic as Poirot.

This Poirot, Agatha Christie’s episode contains mild adult dialogue and unpleasant scene.

Classified U by BBFC. Universal: Suitable for All.

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s11e03 The Third Girl (2008, TV) –6/10 period crime detective drama review

Cast / crew
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Screenplay Writer: Peter Flannery
Peter Bowles: Sir Roderick Horsfield
Clemency Burton-Hill: Claudia Reece-Holland
Haydn Gwynne: Miss Battersby
Lucy Liemann: Sonia
Tom Mison: David Barker
Caroline O’Neill: Nanny Lavinia Seagram
Jemima Rooper: Norma Restarick
Matilda Sturridge: Frances Cary
Tim Stern: Alf Renny
John Warnaby: Inspector Nelson
James Wilby: Andrew Restarick
David Yelland: George
Zoë Wanamaker: Ariadne Oliver
Producer: Karen Thrussell
Director: Dan Reed

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s11e03 The Third Girl (2008)

Poirot is intrigued by a young woman who arrives on his doorstep and announces that she may have committed a murder. Before he can get the little grey cells up-to-speed, she denounces him as too old and leaves but not without revealing that she had been given Poirot’s name by Ariadne Oliver. The young woman, Norma Restarick, was the third girl in an apartment directly above Ms. Oliver’s but something important is missing: a murdered body.

6/10

This is probably the best-told Poirot for years as it keeps the characters and plot firmly in focus throughout and you never lose track of who’s who and what’s what. That said it differs from the novel quite a bit in order to avoid Christie’s central plot point that two characters are, in fact, the same person in different wigs; something that would not work on screen yet usually ignored. Director Dan Reed doesn’t add style or much atmosphere, but nailing the basic element of clearly telling a story is to be highly commended and helps make this mini-series of Poirot rather stronger than it has been for years.

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains bad language, Non-sexual nudity, Violence, gory and unpleasant scenes

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

Links

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s11e02 Cat Among the Pigeons (2008, TV) – 6/10 period crime detective drama review

Cast / crew
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Screenplay Writer: Mark Gatiss
Amanda Abbington: Miss Blake
Elizabeth Berrington: Miss Springer
Adam Croasdell: Adam
Pippa Haywood: Mrs Upjohn
Anton Lesser: Inspector Kelsey
Natasha Little: Ann Shapland
Carol MacReady: Miss Johnson
Miranda Raison: Mlle Blanche
Claire Skinner: Miss Rich
Harriet Walter: Miss Bulstrode
Susan Wooldridge: Miss Chadwick
Producer: Karen Thrussell
Director: James Kent

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s11e02 Cat Among the Pigeons (2008)

Miss Bulstrode, headmistress of top-tier education establishment Meadowbank School for Girls, has better things on her mind than paying complete attention to one of the parents, Mrs Upjohn, telling her that she has just seen someone she could not possibly have seen. But someone was paying attention and violent action will be taken.

6/10

While too much, I feel, of the back story was simply jettisoned, meaning the audience does not know what Poirot knows (or the reader would know), this is a largely well-paced, sometimes dramatic and quite stylish episode. The adaptor, Mark Gatiss, gets Poirot into the story immediately (he only appears in the final third of the book), delivers a highly impressive first body (a fabulously awful if unlikely javelin skewering improvement over the shooting of the book) and reduces one of the murders from the book to a coshing and it is entirely acceptable for that to be the case. The director, James Kent, backs up the murders with generous tension and excitement and splendidly dramatic music making this a good episode, especially when compared with the stodgy Poirot‘s of recent years.

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains graphic gun violence, gory and unpleasant scenes

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

Links

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s11e01 Mrs. McGinty’s Dead (2008, TV) – 5/10 period crime detective drama review

Cast / crew
David Suchet: Hercule Poirot
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Screenplay Writer: Nick Dear
Joe Absolom: James Bentley
Raquel Cassidy: Maureen Summerhayes
Richard Dillane: Major Summerhayes
Ruth Gemmell: Miss Weetiman
Richard Hope: Spence
Richard Lintern: Guy Carpenter
Siân Philips: Mrs Upward
Paul Rhys: Robin Upward
Amanda Root: Mrs Rendell
Simon Shepherd: Dr Rendell
Sarah Smart: Maude
Mary Stockley: Eve Carpenter
Zoë Wanamaker: Ariadne Oliver
Producer: Trevor Hopkins
Director: Ashley Pearce

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s11e01 Mrs. McGinty’s Dead (2008)

A life of leisure is not sitting well with Poirot and he is delighted to look into the case of James Bentley, a young man sentenced to execution for the murder-during-theft of Mrs McGinty. The investigating officer felt he had no alternative but to prosecute but has a gut feeling that the young man is innocent and turns to Poirot’s somewhat better-developed gut. Er, instinct.

5/10

Given the offensive treatment of the Marple stories by ITV, it comes as a significant relief that Poirot has been left as written by Christie. Pointed jabs at journalism and adaptation writers are, unfortunately, rather more interesting than the mystery in this story but the director makes a good job of delivering a surprisingly stylish episode. However, things aren’t as fun as they should be (something original Poirot dramatiser Clive Exton always understood), the required atmosphere isn’t quite there and the climax isn’t as dramatic as it thinks it is.

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains bad language, adult dialogue, Unpleasant scenes, strangulation violence

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s02e10 The Adventure of the Western Star (1990) – 7/10 period crime detective TV review

AmazonBuy The Adventure of the Western Star at Amazon

Cast / crew
Writer: Agatha Christie
Hercule Poirot: David Suchet
Captain Hastings: Hugh Fraser
Chief Inspector Japp: Philip Jackson
Miss Lemon: Pauline Moran
Writer (Dramatisation): Clive Exton
Struan Rodger: Henrik Van Braks
Rosalind Bennett: Marie Marvelle
Oliver Cotton: Gregorie Rolf
Caroline Goodall: Lady Yardly
Producer: Brian Eastman
Director: Richard Spence
Executive Producer: Nick Elliott

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s02e10 The Adventure of the Western Star (1990)

Poirot is thilled to be contacted by Belgium actress Marie Marvelle, not letting the fact Hastings had never heard of her dampen his enthusiasm. She asks his advice with regard to some threatening letters about a famous diamond, the Western Star, owned by her and her husband, Gregorie Rolf. Then Poirot receives a visit from Lady Yardly, owner of the diamond’s twin, the Eastern Star. Even though Japp is hovering in the background on an illegal diamond case of his own, Poirot doesn’t seem to be taking things too seriously but then Lady Yardly is attacked and the Eastern Star stolen.

7/10

While not much of a strain for Poirot’s grey cells (indeed, people just turn up at his apartment and tell him what’s going on), this enjoyable episode has some great moments for Hastings ("I didn’t even know they made films in Belgium.", "If only you’d listened to me, Poirot."). While I have commented that Suchet is the perfect Poirot, it should also be stated that Hugh Fraser (who tends to play corrupt sorts in everything else) is also perfect as the eminently agreeable and loyal friend Captain Arthur Hastings.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Links

Agatha Christie’s Poirot 2.09 The Kidnapped Prime Minister (1990, TV) – 6/10

Poirot, Agatha Christie’s 2.09 Kidnapped Prime Minister, The (1990)

Poirot is brought in when the Prime Minister is kidnapped the day after a failed assassination attempt in which he was injured. Poirot little grey cells are instantly suspicious of the closeness of the two crimes but his methodical approach isn’t impressing the Home Office and Japp starts getting concerned about his pension.

6/10

The main idea of the plot is fine but the crime is not. After all, the reason to kidnap somebody is to gain a ransom of some kind but with our kidnapped Prime Minister, there is no mention of the purpose of the crime and our kidnappers end up looking fake because of it.

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

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Agatha Christie’s Poirot 2.08 The Adventure of the Cheap Flat (1990, TV) – 7/10

Poirot, Agatha Christie’s 2.08 Adventure of the Cheap Flat, The (1990)

During typical social chit-chat, Hastings and Poirot learn that plesaant young couple Stella and James Robinson have just starting renting an extraordinarily cheap sublet flat. The slightly odd thing was that the prospective tenant prior to them was rudely turned away at the door but the Robinsons were warmly welcomed with open arms. Hastings thinks that they will be the victims of a dodgy contract but Poirot decides that this little mystery is worthy of his little grey cells.

7/10

Entertaining Poirot with a simple but ingenious plot paradigm. The national stereotypes are all present and correct with “brash” Americans and comically-dressed Italian assassins but it’s not terribly offensive and William Hootkins’ FBI agent does get a surprisingly gracious final scene. David Suchet is outstanding with Russell Murray and Clive Exton’s fun and human characterisation of Poirot and Hugh Fraser is, again, perfect as the loyal Hastings. Nice to see Miss Lemon get to do something outside of her typewriter.

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

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s06e03 Murder on the Links (1994) – 7/10 period crime detective murder mystery TV review

AmazonBuy Murder on the Links at Amazon

Cast / crew
Hercule Poirot: David Suchet
Captain Hastings: Hugh Fraser
Writer (Original Novel): Agatha Christie
Writer (Dramatisation): Anthony Horowitz
Director: Andrew Grieve
Producer: Brian Eastman
Diane Fletcher: Eloise Renauld
Damien Thomas: Paul Renauld
Benjamin Pullen: Jack Renauld
Kate Fahy: Bernadette Daubreuil
Sophie Linfield: Marthe Daubreuil
Jacinta Mulcahy: Bella Duveen

Agatha Christie’s Poirot s06e03 Murder on the Links (1994)

Poirot is a bit miffed when a voyage of gastronomical discovery to France – arranged by Hastings – turns out to be a stay at a golf course hotel. Poirot is soon recognized and has his little grey cells tickled by a wealthy businessman who wishes him to investigate a possible fraud. The following morning the man, Paul Renauld, turns up in an unfinished grave on the golf course with an unusual knife in his back.

7/10

Quality murder mystery which keeps throwing up new twists and clues but the viewer is only ever half-a-step behind instead of a full step. That said, while just about everyone in the story seems certain to have committed the deed at one point or another, you certainly won’t have guessed the murderer before it is revealed. The by-play between Poirot and Hastings is, as usual, a delight, and it’s always nice to see Poirot in a willy-waving competition (wagering his moustache against a pipe-smoking French detective much to Hastings delightful horror). Mustn’t forget Poirot’s humble pronouncement-of-the-week: “I think the thoughts of Hercule Poirot, monsieur, are far beyond your comprehension.”

This Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode contains violence, unpleasant scenes

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

Links

Agatha Christie’s Poirot 2.06 The Disappearance of Mr Davenheim (1990, TV) – 8/10

Poirot, Agatha Christie’s 2.06 Disappearance of Mr Davenheim, The (1990)

Mr. Matthew Davenheim, a merchant banker, disappears on his way to the Post Office one evening leaving behind a distraught wife and a convenient suspect in a rival banker. Japp is on the case but foolishly wagers that Poirot cannot solve it without leaving his apartment.

8/10

Great fun but Kenneth Colley’s distinctive face clues the audience in way before it should. Writer David Renwick would take the magic-themed mystery and turn it into a successful TV series of his own on BBC with “Jonathan Creek”.

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