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Millions of viewers will tune in to watch David Suchet make his final bow as Hercule Poirot after almost a quarter of a century of sleuthing.

The actor is portraying the wily Belgian for the last time on television in Curtain: Poirot’s Final Case on ITV.

Audiences first saw David’s version of the dapper detective on screen in 1989 in The Adventure Of The Clapham Cook and since then he has starred in 70 adaptations of the Agatha Christie stories with only one tale, a little known play called Black Coffee, left untold.

Asked about his marathon stint playing Poirot, David compared the feat to climbing a mountain and said: “I tell you exactly what it feels like. You suddenly realise, although you never knew it, that you’ve reached Everest. And having suddenly stood on the top of Everest, that you never expected to climb, there is a complete strange mixture of, ‘Oh, I now have to say goodbye because I’ve done it’, and then euphoria, for the same reason – ‘I’ve done it.’

“The predominant emotion is celebration, that actually it is time. And what a thing to leave behind.”

The show has been a huge hit for ITV and is broadcast in more than 200 countries around the world and has legions of devoted fans.

None more so than David himself who has even confessed to keeping a few props as souvenirs.

He said: “I was allowed to take, for my own possession, everything there was a double of. I have his ring, his studs, I’ve been given a moustache, I’ve got his chair, with Poirot written on it.

“And I believe that I will be presented with my number one cane, and if that happens that will be my very prize possession, because I’ve held that for 25 years.”

The 67-year-old, who is the brother of TV newsreader John, said it was ‘extraordinary’ preparing for the end of the series and said the last day’s filming was ‘one of the hardest days of my whole acting career’.

He said: “Not a pleasant thing to do. And that’s not me being theatrical. I’ve lived with this man for 25 years and so it’s difficult to say goodbye to a dear, dear friend, who’s been part of my life for a quarter of a century.”

The actor said he did not think he would reprise the role for the new Poirot novel, which will be written by Sophie Hannah, but admitted there could be one more performance to come.

He said: “I don’t see how I can revive myself for a story that is not Agatha Christie. However, I’d love to do a remake of one of the stories for a movie. I would love to do The ABC Murders, which is my favourite. There’s nothing to stop me reprising the story for cinema, because I’ve never done a cinema Poirot.”