Worst and Best of ITV's Poirot

The worst, in my opinion, is The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. I felt this was a travesty of her book, considered by many to be her masterpiece. I realise that it is a difficult one to adapt as much would be given away if we were really to see everything through the murderer's eyes. However, that shoot-out at the end was more like a scene from a Batman movie.

Another poor adaptation was Dumb Witness. To introduce motor racing seems irrelevant, and why was Emily Arundell alive? One of the clever plot lines was that Emily's letter was delayed, and by the time Poirot received it, she was already dead. 



  • MoonrakerMoonraker Wiltshire, United Kingdom Investigator
    I am the author of the above comment, I signed in via Facebook and couldn't change my username! Sorry for any confusion.
  • MissQuinMissQuin ✭✭✭
    I've watched every single episode except Curtian so here's my own views:

    my least favourite Poirot adaptation was Taken At The Flood. It was too over the top and melodramatic to the point of hammy. The actor playing David Hunter didn't sound Irish and was miscast. There was no chemistry in the love triangle with  Roly, Lynn and David. The idea someone would blow up a house (with themselves inside) to kill 2 people was pretty absurd. The incest theme wasn't in the book either.

    SPOILERS!!! Murder Of Ackryod was a crushing disappointment. I didn't think the actor playing Dr Shephard had enough  charisma. The shoot out at the end was awful! The death at the end of the book was chillingly calm and calculated. Why didn't they have that instead?  There was a fair few continuity errors too. 

    Dumb Witness- although not my least favourite it made many mistakes. Charles wasn't at all  the sexy, roguish charmer of the book! His sister was too dull and not the sharp bright young thing of the book. Some of it was just too silly.

    I also hated Labours of Hercules. I knew that they had to change it. Some of the best characters like Amy Carnaby were removed.  But why was Countess Rossakoff branded a bad mother? I think she'd be a highly unconventional mother yes, but bad, no. The end was absurd. 

    Favourite episodes- quite a few Style is very good, The ABC Murders, Halloween Party,  Murder In The Mews, The King Of Clubs, 

    Affair At The Victory Ball- It came across as fun, bright, interesting but also warm and good pacing. It was beautifully done. I loved the costumes and the statuettes that matched.
    Hickory Dickory Dock is wonderful. They took the confusing parts of the book out and made it more concise. The book feels rather disjointed to me, but the episode pulled it together.

    Peril At End house- to me faultless. I also liked that when I watched it, it was in two parts. So the person I watched it with, was left guessing who the killer was! I love the setting, costumes.  The actress who played Nick was just right.

    "Do not allow evil into your heart. It will make a home there." Poirot -Death On The Nile
  • P_LombardP_Lombard ✭✭✭
    I have not seen all of the Suchet Poirot adaptations, but of the ones I have seen, I really like:

    •  Death on the Nile: One of my favorite Poirot books and so I appreciate the adaptation's relative fidelity to the book; I love all the characters, the fact that they filmed the adaptation in Egypt, and that it included of the Cornelia Robson- Dr. Besner- Mr. Ferguson love triangle which is sadly missing from the Ustinov version
    • The Mysterious Affair at Styles: Also one of my favorite Poirot books; it is nice to meet Poirot and see the differences between how Christie initially depicted him and how she would depict him later in the series; I love the characters - especially Nurse Cynthia, all the Inglethorpes, and Miss Howard; I am glad it also kept the spirit of fun and humor that makes the book such a joy to read
    • The Murder on the Link: I love the romance between Hasting and his wife [even if it is significantly different from how that romance is portrayed in the book] and the competition between Poirot and Giraud
    • Hallowe'en Party: Fun to watch during October [really gets one in the Halloween spirit], a very moving episode
    • Hercule Poirot's Christmas: Fun to watch at Christmas time [I love listening to the singers performing Christmas hymns and carols]; though I wish it had kept more of the characters from the novel [since the novel contains one of Christie's best bunch of characters], I think the characters they kept were relatively well portrayed [Pilar was especially well portrayed]; this episode also has plenty of humor
    • Three Act Tragedy: They worked a wonder with this episode - they turned one of my least favorite Poirot novels into one of my favorite Poirot adaptations; while the book is overly long, the episode is just the right length and perfectly paced; the characters in the novel are woefully underdeveloped, but the movie makes this fault less apparent through quick flashes of the characters that keep them within our memories and associate them with certain activities and personality traits we associate with those activities; while I found Egg tiresome in the novel and the novel's Anthony Astor left no impression on me whatsoever, they both add a great deal of fun and pathos to the episode; the novel's weak ending was also handled exceptionally well and is both deeply moving and extremely funny

    Of the Suchet Poirot adaptations I have seen, the only ones that stood out as exceptionally bad were:

    • Murder on the Orient Express: Complete and utter train wreck of an episode! The plot was mutilated, the characters were left extremely underdeveloped [in the novel there are some characters I like, but in the movie I either disliked or was indifferent to all the characters], too many unnecessary additions were made, and Poirot seemed out of character the entire episode
    • Appointment with Death: One of my favorite Poirot novels completely ruined! The plot was nothing like the novel's plot - the novel's atmosphere of rising tension and suspense was replaced by the gruesomeness and the ridiculous melodrama of the adaptation [Spoiler: A slave trafficking nun? Really? Who on Earth thought that that was a good addition?]. While I feel great sympathy for the characters in the novel, the characters in the movie were either unlikeable or too underdeveloped for them to leave any impact on me. If I had known in advance how overly dark and unfaithful this episode was, I never would have watched it.
    • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd: Miss Quin and Moonraker are absolutely right: this episode is a travesty of a masterpiece. The solution has been bungled, the pacing is too slow, the plot deviates too much from the novel, and the characters are poorly handled [Caroline Sheppard is one of Christie's best characters and yet, the adaptation's Caroline leaves no impression whatsoever on the viewer]

    I agree with Miss Quin and Moonraker that Dumb Witness is not one of the best adaptations, but, in my opinion, Bob and the delightful Tripp sisters make it nowhere near as bad as the atrotious adaptations of Murder on the Orient Express, Appointment with Death, and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Thanks Miss Quin for the heads up on Taken at the Flood and the Labors of Hercules - if I do watch these adaptations, I will know not to get my hopes up. I also agree with Miss Quin that Peril at End House is extremely well done: it is full of humor and, as Miss Quin noted, the actress playing Nick is perfectly cast.

  • MissQuinMissQuin ✭✭✭
    edited March 2014
    I really enjoyed reading your post P_lombard. I forgot to say that I think Bob the dog is adorable!  He was the best thing about Dumb Witness for me. 

    I hated the adapt of Orient Express, I was so bored. I actually know someone who fell asleep during it. I read David Suchet's Poirot and me. I know he's strong in his convictions about why Poirot behaves how he does. But for me it was so grim. It was made worse by the fact it was shown on Christmas day here in England.  

    Appointment With Death is pretty harrowing. There's a constant theme of physical child abuse which is pretty distressing. If that's not bad enough there's the fake Nun turned human trafficker  trying to kidnap Ginny to turn her to sexual slavery. I thought, hasn't the poor girl suffered enough? Layering misery upon misery is one of the worse things about some of the later Poirot. Did they get the idea for wicked Nuns/fake Nuns from the Marple episode Nemesis? Yes, I hate the episode. But I was conscious that my post would run as a long list of negative complaints. Taken At The Flood and Labours Of Hercules were written by the same producer, they are very similar. If you dislike one, you'd most certainly dislike the other. 

    I hated Third girl - how many times can you show someone with cut wrists in the bath? Once is enough, no need to hammer it home! The denouncement  never seemed to end. 
    "Do not allow evil into your heart. It will make a home there." Poirot -Death On The Nile
  • MissQuinMissQuin ✭✭✭
    On the good episdoes:

    I will add The Third Floor Flat, I think it's a  fun episode mixed with a grave situation.  Wasps Nest is also very good despite having a scene where a clown kisses someone, which on a purely personal note, is among my worse nightmares!!! The Egyptain Tomb excellent. 

    On the mixed ones: 
    Death In The clouds- Enjoyable to watch. It hits home on a emotional note too.
    I have very mixed feelings towards Death On The Nile. Part of me must like it, I've seen  it 3 times! Yet I felt Jackie, who for me is one of the very best characters in any Poirot book  lacked conviction. But on the other hand Frances De La Tour and J J Feild were very good. Scenery, costumes all good. Dialogue some problems, don't think insult "cow" was in use then? As for Poirot's tormented unrequited "love speech" to Jackie. I have to fast forward it. It pains me! 

    Three Act Tragedy- mixed,  The episode is good. But like Mrs McGinty's Dead, the episodes are strong but have self indulgent endings. The murderers in both are very "I've had a bad time, feel sorry for me" which wasn't present in either book. I actually prefer the more theatrical end of McGinty rather than floods of tears from a  supposedly ruthless killer. 

     Lord Edgware Dies- good but not perfect. I didn't like the  "gather all the suspects in one room"  wasn't in the book.
    "Do not allow evil into your heart. It will make a home there." Poirot -Death On The Nile
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom ✭✭✭✭✭

    My Favourite Adaptations of Poirot Novels are Evil Under The Sun, ABC Murders and Mrs McGinty's Dead, I haven't got a favourite amongst the short story Adaptations, My least favourite of Poirot Novel daptations is Cards On The Table and with the short stories The Missing Will, Cards Is one of my Favourite Poirot Novels and The Missing will my Favourite of the Short stories

  • lachy.a.wlachy.a.w ✭✭✭
    I really disliked the ITV adaptation of The Big Four - I felt the solution was extremely anti-climactic. I understand that the novel was hard to adapt but I would have like it if the solution had a more legitimate criminal tone to it. 

    As for the adaptation of Death on the Nile, the novel is one of my favourites and the adaptation didn't disappoint. Not flawless but I found it thoroughly enjoyable. 

    I couldn't finish watching the adaptation of Appointment with Death because it was so different from the novel. It's always very disappointing when they change the plot without the need to and there was definitely no need to make any changes for this adaptation. 

  • MissQuinMissQuin ✭✭✭
    edited March 2014

    I liked that The Big Four adaptation  had warmth, a slight touch of humour, emotion, mystery and good suspense. Especially during the chess game.  But I agree that end was a huge let down. It was absurd and farcical. Until that point it was quite faithful. 

    But it wasn't all bad. I liked the fact Poirot appeared on stage behind a screen, a little nod towards the early episodes opening with Poirot's silhouette shown.Maybe  the changes were financial ones?   "can we afford to show a elaborate underground base...?" hmm no! But it's a shame the Achilles Poirot story wasn't used. 

    I'm beginning to think that Appointment With Death is one of the least liked Poirot episodes. But I do know someone who watched it, but who hadn't read the book and they liked it. It was so overwrought I don't know how any one could. 

    I think I like most of all the episodes screened before 2001 with the exception of Ackroyd. There were some good ones I liked fater 2001, I already mentioned, plus Murder In Mesopotamia wasn't bad but Nurse Leatheran's character became deadwood as Hastings replaced her. 

    Also liked After The Funeral, Cat Among The Pigeons Dead Man's Folly 

    I thought that Five Little Pigs was incredibly good. I know they did add a plot that Phillip was tormented homosexual, but Toby Stevens acted out it out so beautifully. I think that some of the characters are hard to like, so it did give the viewer feelings of empathy, not for the victim, but for the daughter and loved ones left behind. 

    Now before I watched Cards On The Table- I read reviews. It had been absolutely trashed and panned by fans. So I sat down to watch it, thinking "this will be so bad I will end up doing the ironing whilst it's on". I was surprised to find that I liked the first hour alot. It did slide towards the end. They altered the motive which was wrong, but it would have been bearable if Anne and Meredith hadn't been switched.  But the acting was very good. 

    I watched The Hollow, and found it quite good but it turned out a saw the mid day "censored version" which makes me bewildered as how it could have been censored?! 
    I thought Sad Cypress was an utter mess. How an earth was one of my favourite stories made so utterly charmless and dull? Mary was portrayed as such a sly little sneak! Even people who are good actors made the characters came across as flat and one dimensional.  It must have been the screen writers fault.

    Mystery Of The Blue Train- added to the bad list, everyone was obnoxious or a complete bore.  

    I love Halloween Party, much more than the actual book.  Are there some adaptation that fans like better than the book itself?
    "Do not allow evil into your heart. It will make a home there." Poirot -Death On The Nile
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom ✭✭✭✭✭
    I have probably said it before and If so I am very sorry but I thought Murder In Mesopotamia  was much better than The Book, which I thought was boring and Dull and the Adaption was made Good as Hastings kept it from being as Dull ass The Book, I thought The Big Four was better than the book but the book isn't as bad as Murder In Mesopotamia, Sad Cypress was no better o worse than The Book IMHO and nor was Mystery of The Blue Train
  • Tommy_A_JonesTommy_A_Jones Gloucestershire, United Kingdom ✭✭✭✭✭
    Oh Yes, Three Act Tragedy was better than the book too but I would have had Cartwright played by Tim Curry
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