ITV recommissions Poirot and Marple

ITV today announced that David Suchet will return to his role as Hercule Poirot to complete Agatha Christie’s canon of stories about the fastidious and brilliant Belgian detective while Julia McKenzie will return to her role as Miss Marple.

The Poirot films will go into production during 2012 and are based on the remaining Poirot novels, Labours of Hercules, Dead Man’s Folly, The Big Four, Elephants Can Remember and Curtain.

Curtain is Poirot’s last case in which an arthritic and immobilised Poirot calls on his old friend Captain Hastings for assistance as they return to the scene of their first case, Styles Court, to try to prevent an imminent murder.

David Suchet has often spoken about his ambition to film all the Poirot stories. He has worn the moustachioed Belgian sleuth’s polished spats very successfully for 22 years and starred in a total of 65 films including the iconic and best-known title Murder on the Orient Express, which broadcast on ITV during Christmas 2010.

“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,” said David.  “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,” added David. “And for all his faults he is one of the greatest listeners in literature. I’ve been so fortunate to play him.”

The Clocks, the latest Poirot film from ITV, will broadcast this Christmas and will star David, alongside cast including Phil Daniels, Jaime Winstone, Tom Burke, Lesley Sharp, Geoffrey Palmer, Beatie Edney and the late Anna Massey.

Drama executive Michele Buck who has worked on programmes ranging from Crossroads to Peak Practice for ITV says, “We can promise the final five Poirot films will be a fitting tribute to a much-loved literary character. When the ending comes it’ll be very dramatic and incredibly emotional. We’ve been on a remarkable journey with Poirot.”

Miss Marple is no doubt best remembered for the BBC series with Joan Hickson in the title role who starred in all twelve original Miss Marple Christie novels between 1984 and 1992. While this has become the definitive version of Marple for many ITV has taken to a revival in recent years with five series previously produced, the first three with Geraldine McEwan with the later episodes starring Julia McKenzie.

The sixth run of ITV episodes sees three Marple stories in production next year. A Caribbean Mystery will be the first film to be shot during the summer with two further films Endless Night and The Seven Dials Mystery produced during the autumn of 2012.

“It’s a huge privilege for me to play Miss Marple,” said Julia. “After such a successful career I was content to play guest roles, but then Marple came along.  How could I not play her?  I love her shrewd intelligence, and yet she has a warmth and a sweetness that is so disarming.  I find it stimulating watching how her insights into human nature can unlock big complex mysteries. I’m delighted to be back,” added Julia.

A Caribbean Mystery finds Miss Marple far from St Mary Mead, staying in a luxurious hotel in the tropics. Fellow guest Major Palgrave dies shortly in suspicious circumstances and Miss Marple must find his killer…

Michele Buck, executive producer says, “We fully intend to maintain our reputation for adapting Agatha Christie’s fascinating stories to the highest standard and attracting a first rate guest cast.”

ITV Studios Global Entertainment holds international distribution rights to both programmes.