A century ago, Agatha Christie’s lovable and fastidious Belgian detective Hercule Poirot first exercised his little grey cells to solve a dastardly crime in the 1921 novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Now, a new ITV documentary, Agatha & Poirot: Partners in Crime will explore our endless fascination with the dapper sleuth and his remarkable creator, who became known as the "Queen of Crime".
Here’s everything we know about Agatha & Poirot: Partners in Crime…
When will Agatha & Poirot: Partners in Crime air?
The one-off documentary will air on Easter Monday April 5 on ITV at 9pm.
What is Agatha & Poirot: Partners in Crime about?
It celebrates the centenary of Poirot’s first appearance in print in the UK in The Mysterious Affair At Styles and explores the extraordinary impact he has had on our popular culture by looking at some of his most famous cases, from Murder on the Orient Express to Death on the Nile. The documentary also examines how Christie came to create Poirot, how she felt about him and how her own life inspired some of her most celebrated novels.
“I don't think when she set out writing The Mysterious Affair At Styles she expected anything. It wasn’t some great master plan to take over the crime writing genre. It was a happy accident,” says Christie’s great-grandson James Prichard, who features in the documentary.
“She probably had some dull British detective in mind and then someone suggested she did something different. So she came up with Poirot because it’s thought she’d noticed Belgian refugees in Torquay [where she was born] in the First World War. His appeal is his Belgian-ness, the moustache, the way he dresses and that fastidiousness. But both he and Agatha were also phenomenally clever, intuitive and great observers of human nature.”
Who is in Agatha & Poirot: Partners in Crime?
Richard E Grant presents the documentary while famous fans also share their insight, including Gavin & Stacey’s Joanna Page, who looks at how sumptuous travel inspired Christie's work, while Stephen Fry showcases Poirot’s appearances on film and TV. Meanwhile chef Marcus Wareing cooks a feast for James and actor Amanda Abbington to celebrate Christie’s love of food, while James himself also shows us round her Devon home, Greenway.
“Devon was a massive part of her life. It's where she was born, and Greenway is amazing, magical and private and she could unwind there, it was crucial to her writing,” says James. “We spent a lot of time at Greenway as kids and played hide and seek in the gardens.”
Also appearing are Zoe Wanamaker, who played Poirot’s author friend Ariadne Oliver in the David Suchet-led series, and Hugh Fraser, who played his loyal comrade Captain Hastings. Lesley Joseph, Danny John-Jules and Caroline Quentin also share their fondness for Poirot along with screen writer Anthony Horowitz and historian Bettany Hughes.
What else do we know?
James believes that Agatha Christie will still be read in another 100 years!
“Growing up, I was embarrassed by it all but I’ve got prouder and more impressed with what she achieved. The day she died [in 1976], I remember coming back from school and she was the first item on the news. I realised then she was pretty special. I don't think she gets the credit she deserves. I hate the phrase 'cosy fiction', the murders in her books are meant to be repugnant, there's darkness there. And she helped create the crime fiction genre and played with what you could do with it," says James.
“During the first lockdown, book sales went mad. A lot of people have turned to Agatha Christie and that's testament to those stories and the place they hold in our affection. She will go on forever."
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