Agatha Christie's Poirot and the fictional Belgian detective's links to Herts

David Suchet stars as Poirot. All episodes can be seen on BritBox.

David Suchet stars as Poirot. All episodes can be seen on BritBox. - Credit: ITV

A new ITV documentary this Easter will celebrate the queen of crime, Agatha Christie, and her most enduring creation – Hercule Poirot.

Marking 100 years since the first literary appearance of Christie’s illustrious super sleuth, Agatha and Poirot: Partners in Crime charts the origins and history of Poirot.

Presented by Richard E Grant, Agatha and Poirot: Partners in Crime on ITV features contributions from family and famous fans.

Presented by Richard E Grant, Agatha and Poirot: Partners in Crime on ITV features contributions from family and famous fans, and explores the life and personal experiences of Christie, which inspired the plots, characters and locations of her literary masterpieces. - Credit: ITV / King of Sunshine Productions

Presented by Richard E Grant, the programme traces the inimitable Belgian detective’s lasting impact upon popular culture and features contributions from family and famous fans, including Hertfordshire's Sherlock star Amanda Abbington.

Agatha and Poirot will explore the life and personal experiences of Agatha Christie, which inspired the plots, characters and locations of her literary masterpieces.

Richard E Grant presents Agatha and Poirot: Partners in Crime on ITV.

Presented by Richard E Grant, ITV documentary Agatha and Poirot: Partners in Crime will explore the life and personal experiences of Agatha Christie, which inspired the plots, characters and locations of her literary masterpieces. - Credit: ITV

Examining the relationship between Christie and her longest literary life companion, Hercule Poirot, the documentary examines the story behind some of Christie’s most timeless publications, from Poirot’s first outing in The Mysterious Affair At Styles to later pursuits in Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile.

We've done some sleuthing of our own.

Did you know that Poirot, using only his 'little grey cells', solved some of his puzzling cases on screen in Hertfordshire?

Richard E Grant looks into the story behind Hercule Poirot in Agatha and Poirot: Partners in Crime on ITV.

Richard E Grant looks into the story behind moustachioed Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot in Agatha and Poirot: Partners in Crime on ITV. - Credit: ITV / King of Sunshine Productions

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The Agatha Christie’s Poirot episode Hallowe’en Party includes scenes shot on location in Old Hatfield.

David Suchet as the moustachioed sleuth visits St Etheldreda’s Church at the top of Fore Street.

The place of worship doubles for a church in the village of Woodleigh Common, East Sussex, and the neighbouring Hatfield House estate also features in the 2010 episode.

St Etheldreda's Church in Old Hatfield

St Etheldreda's Church in Old Hatfield has appeared on TV in Agatha Christie's Poirot. - Credit: Alan Davies

The Hallowe’en Party's cast includes Amelia Bullmore, Timothy West and Zoë Wanamaker, who also contributes to Agatha & Poirot.

In Hallowe’en Party novelist Ariadne Oliver, played by Wanamaker, calls in her old friend Poirot to investigate a child's drowning in an apple bobbing bucket.

Suchet as the eponymous Belgian detective also visits Knebworth House for season 12's Three Act Tragedy.

Knebworth House

Hertfordshire stately home Knebworth House is a popular destination for film crews. - Credit: Alan Davies

This episode, first screened in January 2010 and currently available on BritBox, co-stars Martin Shaw, Art Malik and Jane Asher.

Knebworth House doubles as Sir Bartholomew Strange's Yorkshire residence, Melfort Abbey.

Dr Strange, played by Art Malik, dies at a dinner party at Melfort. Was is murder? 

Poirot investigates the mysterious death and questions members of the household in Knebworth House's Banqueting Hall with Sir Charles (Martin Shaw). The pair are later seen walking through Knebworth's gardens.

Suchet's penultimate appearance as Poirot saw him visit Brocket Hall in 2013 episode The Labours of Hercules.

Brocket Hall. Picture: DANNY LOO

Brocket Hall has featured on TV in both Poirot and Miss Marple. - Credit: Danny Loo

The country house on the outskirts of Welwyn Hatfield doubles for the location of where the opulent opening party is held in the episode.

All 13 series of Poirot with David Suchet in the lead role can be watched on BritBox, the streaming service set up by BBC and ITV showcasing great British series, shows and films.

Albert Finney also starred as Hercule Poirot in the 1974 Sidney Lumet movie Murder on the Orient Express, which was made at Elstree Studios.

The star-studded cast of the Agatha Christie mystery also includes Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, Vanessa Redgrave, Jacqueline Bisset, Michael York, Anthony Perkins and Sir John Gielgud. 

Agatha and Poirot: Partners in Crime can be seen on ITV on Easter Monday, April 5, at 9pm.

Richard E Grant presents Agatha and Poirot: Partners in Crime which features contributions from family and famous fans.

Richard E Grant presents Agatha and Poirot: Partners in Crime which features contributions from family and famous fans. - Credit: ITV / King of Sunshine Productions

Sohail Shah, executive producer at King of Sunshine Productions, said: “Agatha Christie is the biggest selling crime writer of all time, and her own life is as compelling as her many novels.

"With Richard E Grant at the helm, it is our privilege to tell the story of the writer that created the greatest detective in literature.”

James Prichard, Agatha Christie’s great grandson and CEO of Agatha Christie Limited, said: “I think it is a testament to my great grandmother and her extraordinary creation Hercule Poirot that we are still celebrating them after 100 years, and also that there is still so much to learn.”

Brocket Hall

Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire has been used as a filming location for both Agatha Christie's Poirot and Miss Marple - Credit: Archant

Another of Agatha Christie's famous literary creations, the much-loved Miss Jane Marple, has also tackled murder mysteries filmed at Hertfordshire's historic stately homes.

Geraldine McEwan starred as the sharp-eyed spinster sleuth in the 2004 version of 4.50 From Paddington.

This episode, which includes a stellar cast of Amanda Holden, Griff Rhys Jones, Pam Ferris, Rob Brydon, John Hannah, Celia Imrie, Niamh Cusack and Jenny Agutter, includes scenes shot in the grounds of Knebworth House.

Knebworth House. Picture: Alan Davies

Knebworth House has featured on TV in both Agatha Christie's Poirot and Miss Marple. - Credit: Alan Davies

The Lytton Cobbold residence stands in for Rutherford Hall, home of the Crackenthorpe family, with the mansion's Gothic-looking exterior complete with turrets and gargoyles instantly recognisable on screen. 

The Secret of Chimneys, the second episode of Julia McKenzie's second series as Miss Marple, was largely filmed on location at Hatfield House and the adjoining St Etheldreda's Church. Scenes were also shot at Knebworth House.

This feature length episode opens with a grand party at Lord Caterham's stately home Chimneys in 1932 – with the exterior of Hatfield House playing a starring role on screen. 

The South Front of Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. Picture: Alan Davies

The South Front of Hatfield House in Hertfordshire. - Credit: Alan Davies

Fireworks explode above the mansion while a maid dances in the Long Gallery, setting the scene for a mystery spanning decades.

The South Front approach to Hatfield House and courtyard are featured 23 years later as Miss Marple arrives at Chimneys. 

Looking to the roof of Hatfield House, she later remarks about the property's numerous chimneys.

The West Garden at Hatfield House in Hertfordshire.

The West Garden at Hatfield House. The Hertfordshire stately home was the main setting for Miss Marple episode The Secret of Chimneys. - Credit: Alan Davies

The gardens of Hatfield House and the Armoury are also seen on screen, as is the Marble Hall.

Veteran actor Edward Fox, Ballykissangel's Dervla Kirwan, ex-EastEnders star Michelle Collins, Adam Godley, recently seen as 'Archie' in The Great, and Gavin & Stacey duo Mathew Horne and Ruth Jones were all on set in Hatfield for the episode.

Hatfield House was a filming location for Agatha Christie's Marple series five episode The Secret of Chimneys

Hatfield House was a filming location for Agatha Christie's Marple series five episode The Secret of Chimneys starring Julia McKenzie as the sleuth. - Credit: Alan Davies

Scenes inside Chimneys were also filmed at Knebworth House, with characters sometimes walking from that historic Hertfordshire home into rooms in Hatfield House.

Julia McKenzie's following appearance as Miss Marple, in The Blue Geranium, was also partly shot on location at Hatfield House. 

The North Front entrance to Hatfield House

The North Front entrance to Hatfield House was seen in Agatha Christie's Marple episode The Blue Geranium - Credit: Alan Davies

This time the sleuth is seen walking up the North Front steps into the house, which doubles for Sir Henry Clithering's gentlemen's club.

There, Miss Marple talks to Sir Henry (Donald Sinden) in the Library about the 'blue geranium' murder case.

Three years later, Knebworth House starred as the eponymous mansion in the Marple episode Greenshaw's Folly.

The cast of this episode includes Vic Reeves, Julia Sawalha, Robert Glenister, John Gordon Sinclair and Hertfordshire resident Matt Willis, of Busted fame.

Miss Marple this time helps a family friend seek refuge at a house known as Greenshaw's Folly.

However, things take a sinister turn when the Folly's faithful butler, Walter Cracken (Vic Reeves, credited as Jim Moir), is killed in what appears to be a tragic accident. 

Brocket Hall

Brocket Hall has been seen on TV in Agatha Christie's Poirot and was the location of TV movie Murder with Mirrors. - Credit: Archant

Long before Julia McKenzie stepped into Miss Marple's shoes, Helen Hayes starred in 1985 TV movie Murder with Mirrors, which was also filmed in Herts.

Brocket Hall features as manor house Stonygates, which includes a halfway house for young criminals.

As well as Helen Hayes' final role, Murder with Mirrors also stars Bette Davis, John Mills, and Tim Roth.

Agatha and Poirot: Partners in Crime can be seen on ITV on Easter Monday, April 5, at 9pm.


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