David Suchet: ‘We’re leaving Poirot at the top!’

David Suchet returns as Hercule Poirot in Elephants Can Remember, which screens on ITV on Sunday at 8pm and sees the Belgian sleuth investigating the murder of a psychiatrist and also looking into a crime that happened 13 years before. TV & Satellite Week took David in for questioning to find out more…

This is the first of five final Poirot films; are you going out on a high?
“Apart from my driver, I’m the only person left from the beginning and I feel like a custodian of the character, but also of the show’s style, so I want to make sure it’s up there where it was 25 years ago. I’m very proud to say that in this last series, we are right at the top.”

What have you enjoyed about this episode?
“It’s lovely to work with Zoe Wanamaker again who plays Poirot’s friend Ariadne Oliver and Elephants Can Remember was one of the last books that Agatha Christie wrote, so it’s more reflective and mature than others. It is a very clever story and it shows how wonderful Christie was in how the two cases eventually link and Poirot sorts them out.”

Have you always been an Agatha Christie fan?
“Even though I’ve read every story more than twice, I’ve not made a secret of the fact I was never a life-long fan because crime writing is not my thing. From making a Perspectives documentary about her earlier this year though, I learned that there were far more depths to her though… she had such a disturbed emotional life and I have enormous respect for her as a writer. She still holds up, it’s extraordinary.”

Have you learned anything from playing Poirot over the years?
“He has taught me to be far more observant and also to listen, because he is the world’s great listener. Christie said, ‘He will listen to you speak, but hear what you mean.’ My best moments as him are when I’m not speaking and I can really concentrate on listening.”

When you finish playing Poirot for ever later this year, what will you do next?
“I’m looking at doing some comedy now and I haven’t had a brilliant exposure with film before because I haven’t had the time to go and explore it properly. I’m also doing a stage tour of The Last Confession in Canada, Australia and America next year. It’s about a man who died shortly after being made Pope and all the conspiracy theories surrounding that. My wife will be in the company too, which will be wonderful.’

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