BBC1's The ABC Murders – who stars in the Poirot classic and when it's on this Christmas

The ABC Murders Christmas BBC1
(Image credit: BBC/Mammoth Screen/Agatha Christ)

Can Poirot find out who the mysterious A.B.C is this Christmas?

The ABC Murders, the latest Agatha Christie adaptation for BBC1, promises to be one of the highlights of the Christmas TV schedule.

So, here’s everything we know so far about BBC1’s new version of The ABC Murders, one of Hercule Poirot’s most famous cases….

Who stars as Poirot?

John Malkovich, main picture, has the challenging task of taking on the role that David Suchet made his own. Interestingly, The ABC Murders was Suchet’s favourite Poirot story.

The first look images of John as Poirot shows that the famous moustache has been turned more into a beard, noticeably different from the twirly moustache sported by Suchet.

David Suchet in Poirot

David Suchet, arguably the greatest ever Poirot, loved The ABC Murders

John says he’s “honoured” to take on the part. “It’s a role that’s been played by a number of excellent actors, and I am enjoying the numerous challenges this part presents. I have great respect for Sarah Phelps’ screenplay and hope to do both she and Agatha Christie’s creation some measure of justice.”

Will Poirot be speaking in his famous Belgian accent?

John Malkovich as Poirot in The ABC Murders, which is expected to be on BBC1 this Christmas

John Malkovich as Poirot in The ABC Murders, which is on BBC1 this Christmas

Surprisingly, no. Speaking to the Radio Times about the part, John said: “In our version, Poirot has lived in England for 20 years and has made a very long and laborious effort not to seem too much like a foreigner and to speak English like and Englishman.”

He added: “Poirot and Christie fans may just hate all this, I have no idea.”

When is The ABC Murders on BBC1 over Christmas?

The ABC Murders will begin on Boxing Day at 9pm.

Who does Harry Potter star Rupert Grint play in the BBC1 version of The ABC Murders?

Rupert Grint as Inspector Crome in The ABC Murders

Behind the scenes on The ABC Murders: Rupert Grint in the BBC1 murder mystery

Rupert plays Inspector Crome, who isn’t initially a fan of Poirot. He’s part of the team trying to work out who the mysterious A.B.C. is…

So, what’s the plot of The ABC Murders?

Poirot receives a strange letter, signed A.B.C, that predicts a murder will take place in Andover. When the murder does indeed take place, Poirot is disturbed to find a copy of The ABC Railway Guide at the scene.

And, when another murder takes place, this time in Bexhill, Poirot finds himself trying to track down a serial killer who seems to have a personal grudge against him…

BAFTA nominated writer Sarah Phelps, who also adapted Ordeal by Innocence earlier this year for the BBC, says of the plot: “Poirot’s investigations are thwarted at every turn by an enemy determined to outsmart him.

"If Poirot is to match his nemesis then everything about him will be called into question: his authority, his integrity, his past, his identity.”

John Malcovich as Hercule Poirot in The ABC Murders

Can Poirot crack the case?

Who else is in it?

Tara Fitzgerald plays Lady Hermione Clarke, with Kevin McNally as Inspector Japp. Plus, Poldark star Jack Farthing plays Donald Fraser and Broadchurch actor Andrew Buchan is Franklin Clarke.

Interestingly, it’s not been revealed who will play Poirot’s loyal friend Hastings, which suggests the character has been left out. Will there be other changes to the original Agatha Christie story, which was first published in 1936?

How many parts is it?


The ABC Murders will begin on BBC1 on Boxing Day at 9pm.

David Suchet pic: REX/Shutterstock; Rupert Grint pic: jean-Marc David/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!