Poirot, The Big Four. Television Review. I.T.V.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Cast: David Suchet, Hugh Fraser, Sarah Parish, Pauline Moran, Philip Jackson, Patricia Hodge, Steven Pacey, David Yelland, Tom Brooke, Nicholas Day, James Carroll Jordan, Simon Lowe, Lou Broadbent, Peter Symonds, Barbara Kirby, Nicholas Burns, Alex Palmer, Teresa Banham, Jack Farthing.

It really will be a shame for lovers of Poirot when this particular series comes to an end. The only way that they will get their fix will be to watch all the episodes on back to back repeat. Not such a hard problem to get round it seems but there will certainly be no new episodes recorded starring the irreplaceable David Suchet as the consummate Belgian.

For four more episodes though, the man with the razor sharp mind and the waxed moustache will at least strike fear into the wrong doer and restore balance in the ever increasing television war on crime. However it seems the makers of the popular programme were in the mood to kill of the Belgian detective before the first of the new episodes, The Big Four. The cries of foul murder would have ringed around the television as the thought of David Suchet being deprived of the finishing this magnificent piece of artistic work and phone calls to I.T.V. would have had the usual suspects ringing in and suggesting that the company had let down the much loved programme.

This though is Poirot, nothing is ever what it seems and in The Big Four, that as always, is the case. ”A case of theatrics”, Poirot would have noted with a glee wider than the disapproving frown on Miss Lemon’s face. It is a case of theatrics that will certainly be missed.

What would be enjoyable to all of the shows fan’s is the sight of Hugh Fraser as Captain Hastings, the wonderful Pauline Moran as Miss Lemon, Philip Jackson as the amiable Assistant Commissioner Japp and the excellent David Yelland as George all rallying round and making sublime and much welcome returns to the show. Poirot may be one of the finest creations of detective fiction but he needs the anchors in his life to make him more rounded and human.

This being the last four episodes to be filmed, there is always room for a new addition to the team and in Tom Brooke as the over-zealous journalist Tysoe, it seems Poirot is going out on a huge high of loose threads in which to tie up as the stories come to their conclusion.

Woe betide anybody who tries to take on the role of Poirot in the future, the last 24 years have seen David Suchet give so much of his life to making every single story of Agatha Christie’s greatest creation, that if another actor should try and attempt it, it will not be seen with the same welcome embrace that is given to the stately actor.

It is a much needed welcome return to the silver sleuth tempered by the fact that his time is nearly over.

Ian D. Hall