David Suchet brings curtain down on Poirot
DAVID Suchet is to bring down the curtain on his long-running portrayal of Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot after the actor signed up to star in the final five stories featuring the detective.
Suchet has played the part of Agatha Christie's famous creation for 22 years and has starred in 65 films.
Five new films, based on a mixture of novels and short stories, will go into production next year.
Suchet said: ''I'm more than delighted to be reprising my role as Poirot. It's been my life's ambition to bring this amazing canon of works to completion on ITV.
''Poirot is a brilliant, yet profoundly complicated character and I've always loved playing him. He's considerate, with a love of elegance and precision, but he is also so maddeningly frustrating to play as he's so vain and pedantic. What endears me to him the most is his endless love of people.
''And for all his faults he is one of the greatest listeners in literature. I've been so fortunate to play him.''
The new films include Curtain, which is Poirot's last case and sees the detective, immobilised with arthritis, call on his old friend Captain Hastings to help him as they return to the scene of their first ever case to try to prevent another murder.
The latest Poirot film to be made, Clocks, will be broadcast on ITV this Christmas and features Phil Daniels, Jaime Winstone and Lesley Sharp among the supporting cast.
It also features the award-winning actress Anna Massey, who died earlier this year, in one of her last ever roles.
Mathew Prichard, chairman of Agatha Christie Limited and the author's grandson, said: ''It is tremendous to renew our partnership with ITV and David Suchet as Poirot, and these five films will be a magnificent climax to over 20 years of David's portrayal of Hercule Poirot.''
ITV has also commissioned three new Miss Marple films starring Julia McKenzie as the spinster sleuth.