Actress Jaime Winstone talks about her role in the new Christmas Poirot whodunit The Clocks…

Why did you want to do a Poirot?
“I just love them. They’re classics that everyone seems to know about and Poirot is the best detective in the world. I’ve watched it since I was a little girl. When I got seen for the part I thought, ‘I just have to do this’, although I knew it would be a real challenge for me. My dad [actor Ray Winstone] will be so proud. He’s obsessed with Poirot.”

What was it like working alongside David Suchet?
“It was a real honour. He is one of the finest actors our country has produced. He stays in character all the time, the accent is a constant thing, even at lunch, so it’s like you’re hanging out with Poirot. He’s just the most charming, enjoyable man to work with, I felt like I was in really good hands.”

Your character, Sheila Webb, discovers a dead man in a room with four clocks all stopped at the same time…
“I really liked Sheila. She is a secretary and has this kind of home girl essence. I naturally felt warm to her and knew it was a part I definitely wanted to play. She’s a lost character, though, who doesn’t know if she’s coming or going but there is some romance for her.”

Your character is the prime suspect. Did you know if you were guilty or not from the outset?
“No, I didn’t want to know. I think there’s a certain something about Sheila that you just don’t want her to be guilty and it was terrifying when it dawned on me that I was the prime suspect. It’s all so clever, though. It just goes to show how much of an amazing writer Agatha Christie was.”

How did it feel acting in a period piece?
“It was amazing. Everything was done with perfection and as soon as I put the clothes on I felt the part. Some of the streets we filmed in just took a bit of certain lighting and a tweak and we were back there.”

Has this given you a taste for costume drama?
“Definitely. It would be a bit of a struggle though because I guess I come across as quite urban and modern. I think sometimes some people can’t get past the accent or my different hairstyles.”

Would you work in America?
“I’d love to, but right now things are going so well for me over here. Besides, I still feel I have a bit of growing up to do and I’m still yet to cross over from playing young girls to playing women. I did go for a few parts out there but they weren’t for me. You need to follow your instincts and do what you believe in.”

What are you doing for Christmas?
“Going home to Essex. I always spend it with my family. We always have a massive Christmas and we get the whole family round and have a party in the bar and it’s just brilliant.”

Poirot: The Clocks is on Boxing Day at 9pm on ITV1