Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Agatha Christie’s Poirot - Series 9

Agatha Christie’s Poirot – An Introduction
Agatha Christie's Poirot - Series 1
Agatha Christie’s Poirot – Series 2
Agatha Christie’s Poirot – Series 3
Agatha Christie’s Poirot – Series 4
Agatha Christie’s Poirot – Series 5
Agatha Christie’s Poirot – Series 6
Agatha Christie’s Poirot – Series 7
Agatha Christie’s Poirot – Series 8

1. Five Little Pigs (first broadcast December 14, 2003): As an artist, Amyas Crale was famous. As a womanizer, he was infamous. Despite a devoted and loving wife, Caroline, and a young daughter, Crale was a man whose passion for life demanded many satiations. His most recent flame, Elsa Greer, inspired Crale to what he felt was his very best work and a passion that was more serious than his wife had previously endured. One day Crale was poisoned to death and his wife was arrested, tried and found guilty of his murder. The woman did little to defend herself and some believed, as she had initially claimed, that Amyas Crale actually killed himself. Sixteen years later, after both parents had long been dead, the Crales’ daughter approaches Hercule Poirot to propose an investigation into the affair with an insistence of her mother’s innocence. Poirot assures her of the investigation but can not promise the validation of the daughter’s hypothesis. He sets interviews with the five surviving people who factored into the situation at the time: Philip Blake, Crale’s best friend; Meredith Blake, Philip’s brother and neighbor to the Crales; Elsa Greer, Crale’s muse and paramour; Cecilia Williams, the governess; and Angela, Caroline’s much younger sister. Poirot wends his way through a maze of conflicting opinions and varying emotions to discover a truth that differs completely from what was previously accepted.

First published in the US in 1942 as Murder in Retrospect and later in the UK as Five Little Pigs, this is, like One, Two, Buckle my Shoe (1940) and Hickory Dickory Dock (1955), another of Agatha Christie novels using a nursery rhyme for its title and the story’s structure. Here, the author uses the nursery rhyme “This Little Piggy,” a little ditty recited by parents to infant children about their toes that ends with the parent tickling the child. The author symbolically aligns Poirot’s main suspects into each little piggy of the nursery rhyme much as she does later with Poirot’s investigations in The Labours of Hercules (1947): This little piggy went to market (Philip Blake, a stockbroker). This little piggy stayed at home (Meredith Blake, a “stay-at-home sort of chap”). This little piggy had roast beef (Elsa Greer, the girlfriend and social climber). This little piggy had none (Cecilia Williams, the governess). And this little piggy went wee, wee, wee all the way home (Caroline Crale’s younger sister, the disfigured Angela).

It’s a rip-roaring riddle of a story that eloquently provides several different accounts of the same situation and puts Poirot’s crime-solving tactics of intelligence and psychology to the test. Like Dorian Gray in reverse, Five Little Pigs is an eloquently told tale that ranks withOrdeal By Innocence (1958), Nemesis (1971) and Sleeping Murder (1976) – all of which deal with murder in the past – as one of Agatha Christie’s best and most original stories. Some of Christie’s most beautiful and thoughtful writing can be found here – and some of her most well-developed and human characters. Like the ruses Poirot employs in Dumb Witness (1937), the detective here uses the pretext of authoring a book of the years-old crime to get otherwise reluctant people to talk about the “murder in retrospect” – a device which, again, is not used in the film. It makes sense in the book. But it would have seemed silly in the film. In the book, the detective also asks the “five little pigs” for written narratives of the event. This, too, would not have been plausible in the film. So what we have is a very literary tale that takes some guile and cunning to turn into an effective visual presentation. The author herself adapted the book for the stage in a play called Go Back For Murder (1960), removing Poirot from the story and replacing him with a young lawyer, Justin Fogg, who is the son of the lawyer who defended Caroline Crale many years before.

The 2003 film was scripted by Kevin Elyot, who also scripted the 2004 Poirot film Death on the Nile and has substantially re-written and re-thought Agatha Christie’s plots in a number of Marple scripts. It was directed by Paul Unwin, who also helmed the 2006 Marple film The Sittaford Mystery (not scripted by Elyot), in a way that suggests the different perspectives of Elephant (2003) rather than the different versions of Rashomon (1950). It’s got a look and feel markedly different from all previous Poirot films. From here on in, Poirot films become quite a bit more lavish and, frankly, more like theatrical films. There is far less reliance on sets, therefore doing away with the obviously but wonderfully staged Art Deco interiors of before, and more of an insistence on location shooting. The scripts become a bit more literate and somewhat more fancifully modern from here on in, too, often exploring ideas that Agatha Christie merely hinted at or couldn’t explore appropriately at the time.

Unfortunately, Elyot’s script does away with any explanation of the film’s title, something which confounded viewers a generation earlier in the case of Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange. The utterly superb casting of this particular episode, making each and every one of the “five little pigs” very human and hurting indeed, makes the title seem absolutely wrong and almost offensive without the necessary explanation. Still, the film does an immaculate job of parading a panoply of very lonely, sad and isolated people before Poirot. The film contains a number of annoying hand-held camera shots for flashbacks and the script changes the book’s crime of sixteen years ago to fourteen years for some reason. But several of the more notable changes from the book to the film include changing the Crale daughter’s name from Carla to Lucy (“Carla” suggests “Crale”and the union between Caroline and Amyas much better than “Lucy”), Caroline’s death by hanging (there was not enough evidence to sentence her to death in the book, but she died in prison anyway), Philip Blake’s affection for Amyas (which makes a certain sense) over his misplaced “feelings” for Caroline (which does not make him “gay”), the denoument at the old Crale homestead (which doesn’t really make sense) rather than the book’s denoument at Meredith’s house, and the weird – and unresolved – showdown at the end of the film between Lucy and Elsa. Still, for the most part, the film gets most of the book quite right. And each and every one of the actors do their part to deliver a very convincing and human story – truly one of the best of the Poirot films to date.

The beautiful and talented Rachael Stirling (Caroline Crale), daughter of Diana Rigg (who starred in the 1982 Poirot film Evil Under The Sun), also starred in the 2004 Marple film The Murder at the Vicarage (which also features this film’s Elsa Greer, Julie Cox) while handsome Toby Stephens, who is probably best known as the baddie in the 2002 James Bond film Die Another Day, also appears in the 2010 Marple film The Blue Geranium. Marc Warren (Meredith Blake) has uncredited appearances in two 2004 Marple films, The Murder at the Vicerage (again!) and The Body in the Library. Talulah Riley (the young Angela) also appears in the 2006 Marple film The Moving Finger while Annette Badland (Mrs. Spriggs) also appeared in the 1985 Miss Marple film A Pocket Full Of Rye (as Gladys).

2. Sad Cypress (first broadcast December 26, 2003): As Elinor Carlisle stands trial, accused of the murder of Mary Gerrard, she reflects upon her predicament. It all began when she received an anonymous note warning of bad intentions toward her ailing aunt, Laura Welman. Elinor and her fiancé, Roddy, travel to the old lady’s house, Hunterbury, to find that, though well attended by Nurses Hopkins and O’Brien and comforted by a servant’s daughter, Mary Gerrard, Aunt Laura is in very poor health indeed. Mrs. Welman has a stroke and Roddy begins to fall in love with the beautiful, young Mary Gerrard. Elinor Carlisle is upset both by her aunt’s condition and the realization that she is losing Roddy to Mary. During all this uncertainty, Mrs. Welman passes away quietly one evening. It turns out that the old lady had made no will so her vast estate passes onto her next of kin, Elinor Carlisle. Instead of enjoying her good fortune, Elinor discovers that Roddy is indeed in love with Mary Gerrard. With great remorse, Elinor breaks off their engagement. Elinor slowly begins to resent Mary for stealing Roddy’s heart and soon starts wishing the beautiful young girl were dead. One day, Elinor invites Mary and Nurse Hopkins, who are both at Hunterbury to clean out the lodge where Mary’s parents lived, to lunch. Elinor fixes sandwiches and Nurse Hopkins makes tea. After Nurse Hopkins cleans up, she helps Elinor to clean out Mrs. Welman’s belongings. Wondering where Mary has disappeared, Nurse Hopkins and Elinor discover her in the sitting room where she is dying. Nurse Hopkins tells Elinor the girl was poisoned. Mary dies and Elinor is immediately arrested for her murder. Poirot investigates.

First published in 1940, Sad Cypress is something in the line of Agatha Christie’s courtroom dramas, of which “The Witness for the Prosecution” is, perhaps, the best known. Like some of the later Hercule Poirot novels, the detective here seems to be an afterthought or commercial consideration. Poirot seemingly interferes with the narrative Agatha Christie presents here. Sad Cypress derives its title from a song out of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Act II Scene IV, beautifully charachterizing unrequited love. Christie’s use of this poetic allusion is meant to illustrate how unrequited love can lead not only to murder or thoughts of murder (Elinor) but also to the desire to find one’s beloved innocent or absolved of any guilt (Dr. Lord). Unfortunately, the film, like the film of Five Little Pigs before it, never properly explains or references Christie’s tremendously philosophic conception. The book brings Poirot into the mystery after Elinor Carlisle has been accused of murdering Mary Gerrard by Dr. Lord, who references the mutual association the two men have with Dr. Stillingfleet from “The Dream” (1939), a Christie character who later appears in Third Girl (1966). The detective does surprisingly little detecting in the book. Even the little “evidence” he provides at Elinor Carlisle’s trial is oddly referenced rather than detailed.

As scripted by David Pirie (the U.K.’s Murder Rooms, Murderland) in his only Poirot outing, the film of Sad Cypress maintains the basic elements of Christie’s plot and some of the author’s more trivial dialogue, but drastically cuts the courtroom drama by substantially increasing Poirot’s involvement in the story. The film introduces Poirot into the events of the story much earlier than the book by having Dr. Lord, a chess-playing acquaintance of Poirot’s and a man who has long harbored deep, unrequited feelings for Elinor Carlisle, request the detective’s assistance with the anonymous letter, well before Mrs. Welman dies. This requires Pirie to play up Poirot’s investigation into the anonymous letter (which is surprisingly non-existent in the book), the poison which kills Mary Gerrard and the administration of the poison or, at least, the importance of the sandwich spread. An old photograph and a letter referencing Mary’s true parentage are also considerably different here than the book, but entirely logical. Pirie invents a final showdown between the real killer and Poirot, which is particularly well conceived and sensible and quite a bit more interesting than the drawn-out verbosity of the book’s end. Pirie makes a few mistakes setting the story in 1937 (three years before the book’s setting) and also oddly changes the verdict Elinor Carlisle receives, which puts Poirot in a race-against-the-clock to solve the mystery which, by rights, he would have solved long before the verdict was handed down. Pirie’s script leaves out Epharim Gerrard, Mary’s nasty father, and changes Roddy Welman to Roddy Winter (to avoid confusion) and makes Mary “the gardener’s daughter,” which is confusing since the film’s actual gardener, Horricks, is very much in love with Mary.

Sad Cypress is directed consciously artfully by David Moore, who also helmed the 2010 Marple film The Blue Geranium, in the 16:9 widescreen format of a cinematic film. There are a lot of graceful camera moves, fly-on-the-wall camera angles and Hitchcock-like washes and dissolves. Moore ups the arty ante significantly by providing a number of haunting but ambient horror-film quotes from Psycho (the opening bedroom scene), Angel Heart (the ominous elevator) and creepy hallway shots recalling Rosemary’s Baby, The Shining and Suspiria that take full advantage of the dauntingly huge and mysteriously lovely Dorney Court, Dorney, Buckinghamshire. Moore provides one particularly chilling dream sequence where Mary’s face morphs into that of Laura Wellman’s as it dissolves into a burnt out skull, recalling any number of transformation horror films like The Wolfman and I Vampiri, but it is exceedingly well executed and important to Poirot’s solving of the mystery. With all the filmic suggestions and symbolic integrity, it is indeed surprising that, to date, David Moore has not directed any other Poirot film.

An absolutely terrific ensemble cast was assembled for the making of Sad Cypress including Elisabeth Dermot Walsh (perfect as Elinor Carlisle), Rupert Penry-Jones (Roddy), Kelly Reilly (exceptional as Mary Gerrard), Phyllis Logan (Nurse Hopkins) and Marion O’Dwyer (Nurse Hopkins). The great Diana Quick (whose appearance as Laura Welman is indeed quick) also appeared as Gwenda Vaughn in the 1985 film Ordeal by Innocence while Paul McGann (Dr. Peter Lord) also appeared in the 2006 Marple film Sleeping Murder. Jack Galloway (Marsden) also appeared as Bill Archer in the 1986 Miss Marple film The Murder at the Vicerage while Geoffrey Beevers (Seddon) also appeared as Father Gorman in the 1997 film The Pale Horse and as Mr. Tolliver in the 1989 Poirot film Problem at Sea.

3. Death on the Nile (first broadcast April 12, 2004): Jacqueline de Bellefort persuades her rich friend, Linnet Ridgeway, to hire her pennyless fiancé, Simon Doyle, as a property manager for the affluent young woman’s estate. Linnet and Simon are so taken with one another that they soon discover they are in love. Linnet and Simon abandon all their previous plans and the two are wed in blissful happiness. The couple honeymoons in Egypt, where they find they are hounded by Jacqueline at every turn. Hercule Poirot, who is also vacationing in Egypt, is accosted by Mrs. Doyle to do something about Jacqueline’s advances. He agrees to warn Miss de Bellefort off, but to no avail. The Doyles concoct a plan to mislead Jacqueline de Bellefort in their travels by secretly alighting to the Karnak, a boat that will take travelers down the Nile. Hercule Poirot also travels by the boat. Soon they all discover that Jacqueline has, yet again, discovered the young couple’s destination and is also one of the passengers on the boat. Later, while visiting some ruins, Linnet is almost killed by a falling rock. Jacqueline seems the most likely suspect. But it’s proved that it could not have been her that did the terrible deed. Then, one night on the boat, an altercation between Simon and Jacqueline ensues. In a maddening rage, Jacqueline shoots Simon in the leg. Jacqueline is taken to her room, guarded against any further harm. Simon is attended by a doctor traveling on the boat. The next morning Linnet is discovered dead, shot to death in her bed the night before. As Poirot investigates, several more murders occur.

First published in 1937, Death on the Nile uses the same title Agatha Christie had previsouly used as the title to a completely unrelated short story published in 1933 in the Parker Pyne Investigates anthology. The short story is remarkably similar to the 1923 Poirot short “The Cornish Mystery” but the novel, Death on the Nile, expands upon themes the author previously laid out in the 1935 Poirot short “Problem at Sea.” The novel is one of Agatha Christie’s most popular and constructs a fancifully too-clever mystery with many leaps of faith that are too hard to accept. Still, it takes due advantage of its glamorous and exotic setting to suggest that it all could have happened the way it is presented. The author herself adapted Death on the Nile into a stage play (written as “Hidden Horizon”), that debuted in 1944 as Murder on the Nile. A live one-hour performance of Murder on the Nile was presented on American television on July 12, 1950, as part of the Kraft Television Theatre. The novel was later adapted as a theatrical feature in 1978 with an all-star cast featuring Bette Davis, David Niven, Mia Farrow, Angela Lansbury, Olivia Hussey, Jon Finch, George Kennedy, Jane Birkin, Maggie Smith and Peter Ustinov in his first of six turns as Hercule Poirot. The film was directed by John Guillermin (Shaft in Africa, The Towering Inferno, King Kong) and scripted by the great Anthony Schaffer (1926-2001), who, aside from plotting Frenzy, Slueth and The Wicker Man, also beautifully scripted Agatha Christie adaptations of Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Evil Under The Sun (1982) and Appointment With Death (1988).

The 2004 film is a lot truer to the novel than the handsomely mounted 1978 theatrical film, where everyone is given a motive and a shifty nature. Although, like the previous film, the newer film appropriately does away with the novel’s Jim Fanthorp, Mr. Fleetwood and Signor Richetti, it even manages to delete Nurse Bowers (played by Maggie Smith in the earlier film) and have her not be missed. Scripted by Kevin Elyot, who penned the earlier David Suchet Poirot film Five Little Pigs, Death on the Nile retains much of Agatha Christie’s plotting and even more surprisingly – for Elyot – a fair amount of the author’s original dialogue. The only significant change Elyot makes to the story is to suggest that Zoe Telford’s Rosalie Otterbourn’s rather implausible affection for Daniel Lapine’s unbelievably flamboyant Tim Allerton, is spurned (“afraid you’re barking up the wrong tree”) due to the man’s probable homosexuality or, more peculiarly, for love of his mother. The Suddenly Last Summer quality of the Allertons’ relationship could even mean it’s both! While Elyot in his script never introduces the unnecessary light-hearted attempts at humor Schaeffer included in his earlier script, there are several well-timed and well-delivered lines heard here which give a sense of the absurdity of the proceedings, particularly when David Suchet’s Poirot, upon surveying Mrs. Doyle’s shooting, is informed that Mr. Doyle was also shot.

Death on the Nile is competently directed by Andy Wilson, who also directed the 2006 Poirot film Taken at the Flood as well as the Marple films The Body in the Library (2004), 4.50 From Paddington (2004) and They Do It With Mirrors (2009). The need to be artful is supplanted by glorious locations captured throughout Egypt and even aboard the Karnack, which IMDb trivia claims is the exact same boat used in the 1978 film (though there are far more obvious real exteriors to be seen here than in the earlier film). The only real scenes of artificiality appear to be those long shots of the Karnack at night (the water reflects far more light than the boat can possibly emit) and the oddly Harry Potter-esque opening sequence that finds the camera, descending like a spirit, down through the storm-filled skies through a skylight to a more-frank-than-usual scene of lovemaking. Series composer Christopher Gunning provides a most enchanting and engaging score here, if slightly more modern than it should be for its 1936 timeframe. As with other films starting in the ninth series, the familiar Poirot theme is gone – and not even hinted at here, as in this series’ previous films – but while the extremely odd use of Bernard Herrmann’s familiar slashing Psycho strings scored to Louise Borget’s murder seems ill-advised, the inclusion of several old-time popular songs like Noel Coward’s “Mad About The Boy” (1932) are especially well considered.

The cast here is simply magisterial. All have been selected with particular attention to their specific roles – not for the mere fact that they are dazzling the screen with their presence in whatever performance they’re supposed to give. Still, there are “stars” to be seen and pitch-perfect performances from all concerned. Present are such heavyweights as James Fox (Colonel Race), The Devil Wears Prada’s Emily Blunt (Linnet Ridgeway) and Cracker’s Barbara Flynn (Mrs. Allerton) in leading roles. Starsky & Hutch’s David Soul (Andrew Pennington) also appeared in the 1988 Poirot TV film Appointment With Death, where Peter Ustinov portrayed the Belgian detective for the last of six times. The appropriately boyish and handsome JJ Field (as the exquisitely charming Simon Doyle) also appears in the 2010 Marple film The Pale Horse (not originally a Miss Marple story!) while Emma Griffiths (Jacqueline De Bellefort) also appears in the 2009 Marple film They Do It with Mirrors. Zoe Telford (Rosalie Otterbourne) also appeared in the 2006 Marple film The Sittaford Mystery while Steve Pemberton (Dr. Bessner) also appeared in the 2008 Marple film Murder Is Easy. The delightful Frances De La Tour (Salome Otterbourne) has also appeared in the 2006 Marple film The Moving Finger as well as the 1985 Miss Marple film Murder With Mirrors, with Helen Hayes as Miss Marple.

4. The Hollow (first broadcast April 26, 2004): A weekend house party is planned at Henry and Lucy Angkatell’s country estate of The Hollow. Invited guests include Dr. John Christow and his wife, Gerda; Midge Hardcastle, a distant Angkatell relation; Henrietta Savernake, a cousin and sculptor who shares a special relationship with John; and Lucy’s cousin Edward, who has long been in love with Henrietta and who occupies Ainswick, the family’s beloved homestead. Everyone knows that Lucy Angkatell is eccentric, but hospitable to a fault. Still, all look forward to a weekend in the country except Gerda, who knows she is considered stupid by all the others and only politely tolerated as John’s wife. One evening, while all are gathered for after-dinner games at The Hollow, a beautiful lady suddenly bursts into room. The woman turns out to be the famous actress Veronica Cray, who is lodging nearby at Dovecotes cottage. Claiming that she is out of matches and hopes to borrow some, she immediately recognizes John Christow, a former lover. Upon receiving her matches, Veronica insists John escort her back to her cottage. John Christow returns much later that night. The next day, John receives a note from Veronica demanding he visit her as soon as possible. He accedes and finds that Veronica wants him to abandon everything to be with her. John absolutely refuses and storms out. She is angered and claims to hate him more than she thought she could ever hate anyone. John goes back to The Hollow to reflect and consider. He is then shot. Hercule Poirot, also staying at Dovecotes cottage and, conincidentally, invited to The Hollow for lunch that day, discovers an elaborate tableau with a seemingly dead man lying by the side of the pool, his wife holding the gun, and two women looking down at it all in shock. As the investigation unfolds, clues come to light and suspects emerge, leading the police and Poirot to feel the answer to their murder is a game that all the suspects are willfully playing.

First published in 1946, The Hollow, which was also published in the U.S. as Murder after Hours, is one of Agatha Christie’s many manor murder mysteries. But it is also a fine commentary on the artificiality and absurdity of so many mysterious upper-class “manners.” The Hollow, which derives its name from the Angkatell homestead – “an echo of Ainswick” (“The Echo” was an early draft title for the novel) - and a reference from the first part of the Tennyson poem “Maud,” is a compelling tale of the murder of a complex man among a group of particularly “hollow” people. Indeed, it takes the author ten chapters to outline the vacuous characters before someone made of unexpectedly sterner stuff kills the good doctor off. Poirot’s introduction in the eleventh chapter feels intrusive - the film invites him into the plot a day or so earlier on - and Agatha Christie later said she ruined the novel by introducing the Belgian detective into the story at all. Indeed, in 1951 the author developed the novel into a stage play and omitted Poirot completely from the proceedings.

The Hollow is a singularly difficult story to film successfully as the plot concerns itself more with misplaced emotions and inner monologues than action-driven mayhem. As a result, the film takes several viewings to properly understand each character’s peculiar perspective – if that’s possible - particularly that of John Christow, who in the book finally comes to understand himself and appreciate what’s he’s got at the very moment it’s all taken away from him. Beautifully scripted by Nick Dear in the first of his four (thus far) Poirot dramitizations, The Hollow stays admirably true to Agatha Christie’s story, making only minor modifications such as dispensing with brooding and bookish David Angkatell, the unlikey discovery of the murder weapon at Poirot’s cottage (of all places!), Midge breaking off her engagement to Edward and Edward’s subsequent suicide attempt, though the film maintains the eventual outcome of the relationship without this rather histrionic action. Also, the suicide which ends the story occurs a little differently in the film than the novel suggests. Otherwise there is little to suggest that Dear’s script takes any liberties with the author’s text, written some six decades before.

Directed in a suitably elegiac, almost operatic, style by Simon Langton (Smiley’s People, The Whistle Blower) in his only Poirot effort, The Hollow is rife with poetic and ambient gestures that, like the dirty swimming pool that serves as the scene of the crime, reflect the melancholy or misaligned emotions of its wanton well-to-dos. In conspiring with the art director (Richard Hogan) and the cinematographer (James Aspinall), Langton beautifully shows how “everything” is often equal to those things you want that you can never have, no matter how much you already have. There’s a nice sense in this film of those who “have it all” never having what they want or getting enough of it. Langton’s direction also captures the autumnal setting so often referenced in the book most spectacularly and gives it all a very contemporary feel without ever betraying the story’s original setting. Christopher Gunning provides an appropriately sad yet markedly sensitive score with absolutely no hint of his classic Poirot theme. The gorgeous main theme in particular is suggestive of something classical that Gunning probably intended to be symbolic. There is also a nice use of a vintage recording of “In the Gloaming by the Fireside” to underscore the puppeteer of the plot’s own emotions.

The Hollow is unquestionably one of the most beautiful looking of all the Poirot films and, to this point, perhaps the very best of the films in the entire series. The superb cast assembled for this film is ideally suited to each and every one of their particular roles and all perform with appreciable aplomb. The great Sarah Miles (splendid as Lucy Angkatell, the way Agatha Christie wrote her, and which, to date, is her most recent film role) also appeared as Mary Durrant in the 1985 film Ordeal by Innocence while the tremendous Edward Fox (hilariously perfect as the obsequious and curmudgeonly Gudgeon), whose brother James appeared in the previous Poirot film, Death on the Nile, also appeared in the 2010 Marple film The Secret of Chimneys and as Inspector Craddock in the 1980 film The Mirror Crack’d. Also in the cast is the great Edward Hardwicke - terrifically regal as Henry Angkatell – who is best known for taking over as Dr. Watson in the Granada Television Sherlock Holmes adventures after David Burke, who appeared in the 1995 Poirot film Hickory Dickory Dock, departed from the role. Jonathan Cake (John Christow) also appears in the 2010 Marple film The Pale Horse while Angela Curran (Miss Simms, the maid) also appears in the 2006 Marple film The Moving Finger.

Agatha Christie's Poirot - Series 10
Agatha Christie's Poirot - Series 11
Agatha Christie's Poirot - Series 12

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