Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Final Series of 'Poirot': An Overview

(c) ITV
Since the final four episodes have just started airing in the UK, I've decided to do a post on all the information you'll need on Series Thirteen; Elephants Can Remember, The Big Four, Dead Man's Folly, The Labours of Hercules and Curtain: Poirot's Last Case.

The post will be updated and re-posted constantly in the coming weeks, with links to press releases, press packs, trailers, clips, important interviews, reviews and photos that might interest fans. As always, comments are more than welcome, so feel free to ask questions, give a small review or post your thoughts in the comments section!

S13E1: Elephants Can Remember
Produced: January/February 2013
Aired: Sunday 9th June 2013, 8pm
Viewing figures: 4.47 million (excluding 405,000 on +1)
Press pack: Elephants Can Remember: Production Notes (includes interview with David Suchet)
Trailer: Elephants Can Remember (ITV trailer)
Reviews: The Telegraph, Radio Times (spoiler free), The Guardian
Photos: Huffington Post (19 promotional photos!)

Read my episode-by-episode look at 'Elephants Can Remember' here.

S13E2: The Big Four
Produced: February/March 2013
Aired: Wednesday 23rd October 2013, 8pm
Viewing figures: 4.40 million (excl 405,000 on +1)
Press pack: The Big Four: Production Notes (includes interviews with David Suchet, Philip Jackson and Sarah Parish)
Trailer: The Big Four (ITV trailer) (see also my frame-by-frame look at the Polish trailer here)
Reviews: The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, Radio Times (spoiler free), The Guardian (praise of the series), The Guardian (video, 2:42 min in)
Photos: See my posts 'The old gang is back' and 'The Big Four: behind the scenes photos and screencaps'

Read my episode-by-episode look at 'The Big Four' here.


READ MORE AFTER THE JUMP!

S13E3: Dead Man's Folly
Produced: May/June 2013
Airs: Wednesday 30th October 2013
Viewing figures: 4.37 million (excl  285,000 0n +1)
Press pack: Dead Man's Folly: Production Notes (includes interviews with David Suchet, Zoë Wanamaker and Tom Ellis)
Clip: Dead Man's Folly (video)
Trailer: Dead Man's Folly (trailer)
Reviews: Radio Times (spoiler free), The Telegraph, Mirror

Photos: see these stunning behind-the-scenes photos from Dasha's David Suchet website. Also, here's the official stills - a lovely collection of photos!

Read my episode-by-episode look at 'Dead Man's Folly' here.

S13E4: The Labours of Hercules
Produced: April/May 2013
Airs: Wednesday 6th November 2013
Viewing figures:4.21 million (excl 365,000 on +1)
Press pack: The Labours of Hercules: Production Notes
Trailer: The Labours of Hercules (trailer)
Clip: The Labours of Hercules (video)
Reviews: Radio Times (spoiler free), The Telegraph
Photos: See my post: 'First promotional photos from The Labours of Hercules'

An episode-by-episode look at 'The Labours of Hercules' will be up by next week.


(c) ITV
S13E5: Curtain: Poirot's Last Case
Produced: October/November 2012
Airs: Wednesday 13th November 2013 (confirmed!)
Viewing figures: N/A
Press pack: Curtain: Poirot's Last Case: Production Notes. Here's the press release.
Trailer: N/A ( 'The End is Near' trailer is amazing!)
Clip: Curtain: Poirot's Last Case (video)
Reviews: Radio Times (spoiler free)
Photos: see below for a behind-the-scenes shot of Suchet. Also, have a look at this article from The Daily Mail, and this article from The Telegraph. Both include several photos.



Documentary: Being Poirot
Produced: Summer 2013 (?)
Airs: Wednesday 13th November 2013 (immediately after Curtain)
Press release: Being Poirot

BEHIND THE SCENES ARTICLES & INTERVIEWS:
http://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/tv-radio/439374/Poirot-s-last-case-After-25-years-his-detective-days-are-numbered
http://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/tv-radio/439451/Labour-of-Hercule-Poirot-25-years-of-mysteries
http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2013-10-23/agatha-christies-poirot-discover-the-locations-of-the-hit-detective-series
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/features/25-years-70-episodes-700-million-viewers-suchet-hangs-up-his-homburg-8918419.html
http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/the-end-of-an-era-for-poirot-25-years-70-episodes-700-million-viewers-29721440.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2481668/David-Suchet-hardest-days-filming-career--pain-saying-goodbye-Hercule-Poirot.html

DVD releases: 'The Definitive Collection' and 'Collection 9'
Available for pre-order on Amazon.co.uk. Release Date: 18 November 2013



The Definitive Collection will contain all seventy episodes, plus Suchet's Being Poirot documentary, an interview with David Suchet, the David Suchet on the Orient Express documentary and a behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of Murder on the Orient Express.


Collection 9 will contain the final five episodes, plus Suchet's Being Poirot documentary and an interview with David Suchet.

62 comments:

  1. Like all your work.... fantastic. thanks

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  2. Will there be blu-ray releases? I've seen on youtube a documentary talking about restoring the earlier seasons, yet I can find a complete collecction blu-ray set anywhere!

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    1. Yes, as the commenter below mentions, series 1-12 have been released on blu-ray in Spain (with optional Spanish subtitles, but English dialogue). No word on a UK release, which is slightly surprising. Presumably the DVD release will contain the restored episodes, but in DVD quality. Also, Acorn is releasing all the series on blu-ray in the US (region 1). Next up is Series 9. Bear in mind that only series 1-6 have been restored. Series 7-8 haven't been, but I think series 9-13 have been shot in HD.

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    2. The last series is avaible as blu-ray. Just watched "Three-Act Tragedy" and "Murder on the Orient-Express" in blu-ray. Quite a difference.
      Diana

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    3. Oh, yes, that's absolutely true, Diana. Forgot to mention that :)

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  3. Spanish Amazon offers a blue-ray release of the series.

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  4. Yes, you can change to the English version. No problem at all. Look out for it, sometimes they have special offers. Much cheaper than the English Amazon.

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  5. I have the spanish version in blu ray, you have spanish and english audio and spaniosh subtitles, season 1 top 6 is look great, the 7 to 11 is good but not the same that the first, season 12 is wonderfull.

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    1. Thanks Martin! That more or less confirms what I assumed (i.e. that series 7-11 haven't been restored).

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  6. Thank you for this information, and for a great blog!

    I am so excited that we will be seeing Curtain in just a few weeks - I have been looking forward to it for quite some time now!

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    1. Thank you! It will definitely be interesting to see how Curtain plays out. I hope they make a faithful adaptation of that one.

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    2. The story itself was good. In fact, went into more dept than the book. On the other hand, if you have watched the entire series, inside of two minutes you would be blubbing. Before anyone ever says anything. The change in Poirot is so stark it's heartbreaking!

      If I may say, Kevin Elyot and Hettie MacDonald cared for our beloved Belgian enough to make the film a tribute. Consider the contrast to Dame Agatha's book, where Curtis found Poirot. In the movie, it was Hastings. CONNECTION.

      Let me know what you thought of it.

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  7. There was an interesting trailer for Dead Man's Folly on ITV last night (I think it was right before Coronation Street). I'm surprised that it doesn't seem to have made its way online yet. The episode looks very good.

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    1. Yes, I saw it on YouTube yesterday! Very well done, I'd say. Didn't have time to update the post last night, so will add a link to it now.

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  8. Just got back from the BFI screening of Dead Man's Folly and the Q&A with David Suchet.

    First the episode - my first reflection is they rung just about everything they could out of the (bad) book and Nick Dear (who was in the audience) did a hell of a job.

    Excellent performance by Sean Pertwee as Sr George Stubbs. They necessarily (for plot points) keep most of the characters in it which leads to an incredibly swiftly paced first half hour with Poirot arriving and meeting all of the protagonists - this is played for humour as well as driving the plot set up. Equally necessarily some of the characters then fall into the background after a swirling scene of the fair with people heading this way and that. Poirot's advice to Alec Legg getting big laughs at the screening. The denouncement was long and serious but left a few questions in my mind despite having read the book. All in all a really lovely and gorgeous looking film.

    Q&A with his biographer:

    - Suchet's favourite one to make was ABC murders (although this changes regularly)
    - Showed a different version of the series trailer with different bits of older shows
    - Showed end of Murder on the Orient Express - Suchet spoke strongly of the need to create a dilemma with consequences and pain for Poirot (whichever way he decided). Spoke of reading the book over and over leading to what we saw in the denouncement. Made a strong implicit case for handling the adaption as it was.
    - Told some anecdotes of meeting the public dressed as Poirot whilst on set.
    - There have been previous discussions about taking Poirot with Suchet to the West End but at the moment he wouldn't want to do it because it would be too tiring in costume/performance and Suchet feels it would encroach on his other career as a theatre character actor.
    - Suchet said he would love to make a Poirot film (i.e. a film version of one of the books already shot). This was a bit odd and I guess scale and budget would be the plus but I can't see this would work particularly well.
    - He looked forward to reading Sophie Hannah's book "with interest" (she was in the audience so was a bit of a tease).
    - His brother, John Suchet (also in the audience) advised him not to take the part.

    The film was introduced with warm words for Suchet from Agatha Christie's grandson. Event finished with a special award from the UK TV Times magazine being presented. So a very fun night - interested to see what's people's reactions to Dead Man's Folly are tomorrow.

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    1. Thank you so much, Ronan! Will be interesting to see the episode tonight. I'm glad he talked about 'Murder on the Orient Express' (they have probably realised that the reviews were mixed). I always thought he had a fairly significant role in the decisions that were made. He's talked about a 'big screen' version all along (I think he said at one point that he wanted to do MOTOE as a feature film, or even Curtain). I think it could work, but then I hope they go for a story that would really benefit from a much larger budget, i.e. no 'locked room' mysteries. Overjoyed about the award! Now only BAFTA remains (if they don't give him some sort of award I'll be very disappointed, particularly now that they've hosted this event). It must have been a great evening!

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    2. Appointment with Death would be my choice, Made under the German title of "Death awaits" and kept closer to the book it would be a completely different mystery.

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    3. Yes, I would go for any of the episodes that didn't really turn out the way they should. "Appointment" would be my first choice for that.

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    4. Dead mans folly was very faithful, the only thing I could see missing was the man in the turtle shirt, his secret meeting subplot and Marlene’s parents / the trip to their house, that's now condensed into a meeting with her sister on the grounds.

      Even most of the characters dialogue from the book is intact, but the end is once again changed to have yet another **spoiler**.

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  9. Thanks Rohan, can't wait until tomorrow!

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  10. Press pack for Curtain is out. Guess they forgot about "Labours" haha

    http://www.itv.com/presscentre/press-packs/curtain-poirot%E2%80%99s-last-case#

    Evgre

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    1. Thanks Evgre! Yes, what happened to "Labours"?!? This is very strange, indeed. I noticed you tried to tweet the press centre - I certainly hope someone can give us a good answer to this. As to the Curtain press pack. Wow. Great interviews (though, as a chronology geek, I'm more than a little concerned that it seems Judith is in her early twenties and the daughter of Bella and Hastings! She would have been born in 1936 at the earliest, and Curtain seems to be set in the late 1940s).

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    2. I'm also afraid about the time line... In one of the interviews was stated that Curtain is set 10 years after the Labours, so then it would make sense. Sort of "Styles" was ~10 years before all the cases and "Curtain" closes 10 years after. Like a bookend! :) But of course time will tell and I strongly believe that a pack for Labours would appear soon, it would be stupid not to make one, where fans want to learn more about the decisions regarding the Countess character etc.

      But this pack is huge, so much stuff. Now i'm sad we didn't get a last interview with Pauline Moran :(

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    3. The press pack is fantastic. Agree about Moran. Well, the time line depends on when they set Labours. If that's set just before the war, then the issue will still be the same (Judith would still be too old). We'll just have to wait and see :)

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  11. Also the polish trailer for "The Labours.." is out. It's a good day today! :) It looks like fun!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ui_TtsD4mc

    Evgre

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    1. Looks as silly and over the top as i expected "The Big Four" to be.

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    2. Hm. This is... interesting. We'll see! Thank you!

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    3. Tomorrow is the premiere, I'll send some screens on Saturday/Sunday (I hope so!) ;)

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    4. A few screens are available on TV's website: http://www.alekinoplus.pl/program/film/poirot-dwanascie-prac-herkulesa_41653
      (but it doesn't look like an official promotional pictures)

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    5. Will "The Big Four" and "The Labours of Hercules" be the only episodes of series 13 that Poland has managed to get first or did "Dead Man's Folly" debut over there too?

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    6. "Dead Man's Folly" - 6 December 2013
      "Curtain" - 3 January 2014 ;)

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    7. Thanks ueetba! Screencaps would be great! :D Yes, Paul, as ueetba points out, Poland got "The Big Four" and "The Labours of Hercules", but the others will premiere in the UK first :)

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  12. Wow! The Labours of Hercules looks amazing.

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  13. ITV posted the press pack for "Labours" :) Guess the bugging on twitter worked haha

    http://www.itv.com/presscentre/press-packs/poirot-labours-hercules#.UnIyYBCNOZE

    Evgre

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    1. Haha! :) It seems we did a good job with that one. They must have forgotten to upload it ;)

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  14. Images from curtain:
    http://www.philipglenisterfans.org.uk/1/post/2013/10/first-photos-from-poirot-curtain.html

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  15. Can I just say how disappointed I was once DMF was over, without a proper end scene between Ariadne and Poirot. And then how happy, once I saw your chronology blog, and where you've located the episode. So in the end, their on screen relationship doesn't end like sh*t on some estate' land hearing gunshots.

    Thank you, Eirik, for your great work :)

    Evgre :)

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    1. Why, is "Elephants Can Remember" Ariadne's last appearance chronologically?

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    2. Well, according to Eirik's chronology is Halloween's Party (though Ariadne is quite under- utilized), but at least there is some sort of final words between the two characters at the end of the movie.
      Personally for me, Elephants is the best possible send-off to Zoe Wannamaker's character- perfectly utilized, classic connection between her and Poirot etc. To me, DMF lacked the usual spice their dialogue has, and she was present enough.

      And i wonder actually, what do other fans think? Was it a good send- off being the last appearance or shall we stick to the fact that it is not 'series' in the real sense, but rather not- chronologically ordered series of cases?

      Evgre

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    3. Evgre: Yes, that's exactly why I wanted to avoid 'Folly' as the final Ariadne-Poirot case ;)
      Paul: 'Elephants' is set in early spring 1938 by the producers (13 years etc). 'Halloween Party has to be the final episode of 1938 because a) it's autumn (obviously) and b) 'Cards' and the other Ariadne cases have to be set in autumn 1937 so that they don't clash with the Hastings era (and Poirot's old flat). That leaves no space for 'Halloween' in autumn 1937 - hence 1938 :)
      Evgre: Well, I think both 'Elephants' and 'Folly' are fairly 'Ariadne-centric', which is a good thing for a send-off. It's still got plenty of humour, but perhaps not as much as other Ariadne cases. Anyway, I always view these as 'not-chronologically ordered series of cases' (well, apart from my own chronology, obviously). Remember, this is the first time in ages that ITV have actually aired four episodes in consecutive weeks. Bottom line: I think any case with Zoë Wanamaker's Ariadne is a joy, but the 'Thank you, Hercule' of Halloween Party is better suited as a send-off than Folly and Elephants. Though I'd accept 'Elephants' as a send-off, too (the end scene between them is wonderful).

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  16. Now that the series is ending, I really hope they release Christian Henson's episode scores in a nice soundtrack. I love what he did in THE BIG FOUR and DEAD MAN'S FOLLY. Lets keep our fingers crossed...

    There aren't any rumors of such a release, are there?

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    1. There will be a new soundtrack, actually! It's available on Amazon and will be released November 11. Unfortunately it only contains three of Henson's score (one of which we've heard before - the love theme from 'The Clocks'). The others are the denouement music from 'The Clocks' - and the score for 'The Big Four'. I'd have loved the score for 'Folly', 'Labours' and 'Curtain', too, but that doesn't seem likely I'm afraid (unless Henson is kind enough to upload them to his website!). The rest of the album includes music from Stephen McKeon's episode, some of which we've heard before and some of which we haven't. Then there's Amy Dickson's recording of Gunning's theme tune, which I'm guessing might appear at the end of 'Curtain'? (Unless Henson has composed a more sombre version - I'm hoping for the latter, actually). But fingers crossed - I'd welcome releases of these scores any time!

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  17. Video is out for "Curtain" Already feeling sad watching it and knowing that it is the end ;(

    http://www.itv.com/presscentre/press-releases/agatha-christies-poirot-curtain-poirots-last-case-video#.Unt9eBCNOZF

    Evgre

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    1. Thank you, Evgre. Not ready for this yet, though! The end is far too near...
      (one little quibble, though: I'm quite annoyed that they've used a new location for Styles! Where's Chavenage House? How can they 'return to the scene of their first murder' if it's not the same location? Sigh.)

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    2. I teared up watching this clip - it will be heartbreaking to watch these last few episodes (and equally heartbreaking that those in the US will most likely need to wait until 2014 when they will be broadcast).

      [FYI - the above link to the video clip for "Curtain" routes to the Radio Times review.]

      Once again, thanks Eirik for compiling all these links - the Poirot fandom is a small one compared to most other mystery series, and it's lovely to know where to find up-to-date information for the series.

      As for not revisiting the location for Styles, perhaps there were constraints that prevented their reusing that location? It would have been a nice touch had they used the same location...

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    3. It's absolutely heart-breaking (and brilliantly acted). Yes, it would have been lovely if all fans around the world could see these episodes at the same time. Still, at least they don't have to say adieu just yet. [Thank you for that! Fixed it now].

      Thanks a lot. I try to do my best, and it's a joy to get in touch with other fans! Like you said, it's not the largest of fandoms :)

      Well, yes, but then why a castle? Why not a similar-looking country house manor? That would have made more sense. Still, this is a minor quibble, and I'm sure the episode will be an emotional farwell regardless of the location.


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    4. As I will most likely only have this short clip to watch until the episodes airs in the US, I've been re-watching it, and noticed a lovely and humorous reference to Poirot's constant annoyance at Hastings' driving [albeit in this case the vehicle in question is his wheelchair].

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    5. Yes! I loved that reference, too! It highlights the essence of their friendship, really, and it's very consistent with the earlier episodes. I hope there are more references like this in the adaptation.

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    6. As I wait to watch this episode, I've been re-watching previous Poirot episodes (as well as re-watching the ITV clip) I've just noticed that Poirot's first words to Hastings when he first sees him in the "Curtain" clip nearly matches the first words Poirot says to Hastings in "The Mysterious Affair at Styles".

      I would like to think that was done intentionally, as a touching homage and to their first meeting, not to mention emphasizing how events have come full circle between the adaptations of those two stories.

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    7. Yes, Poirot says almost exactly the same words in the book (Curtain), too. I'm sure it was deliberate, both by Christie and by the scriptwriter :)

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  18. I do wish they would film "Black Coffee". I know it's not a "novel" per se (though I did enjoy Charles Osborne's novelization of the play), but the series would feel a bit more complete if it had been included. Oh well--one can dream about it but I very much doubt David Suchet would want to after the series "ends" with next week's episode.

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    1. Yes, that would have been great! Suchet did a rehearsed reading of "Black Coffee" in Chichester last year (I was lucky enough to attend it), but it wasn't recorded. Quite frankly, I really think it should have been. Would have been perfect as a special feature in the complete box set. He said then that he wouldn't do it again (as a stage play), unless he was offered a million pounds.

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  19. Hastings is quite crying...and me too...it's so sad! I must have the definitiv collection... I hope that the series 1-8 are restaurated... What do you think about? P.s. The timeline of the episodes is fantastic :D

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    1. It's very sad! And I'm not prepared for the finale at all. It will be quite a challenge to watch it, actually.

      Series 1-6 are definitely restored, series 7-8 are not, as far as I'm aware. But I don't know if the restored versions are included in the definitive collection that is released this month. I certainly hope so.

      Thank you!

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  20. Trailer for Curtain: Poirot's Last Case - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slsRuzudbKI

    Like the one for "The Labours of Hercules", it's very brief, but still very nice. It gives away a little bit of extra dialogue from the speech heard in the "The End is Near" trailer.

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    1. Thank you, Paul! :) The End is most certainly near...

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  21. Has anyone got the documentary Poirot and Me? I am dying to see it.

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    1. Do you mean the mini-documentary series "Poirot and Me" from 2006, or "Being Poirot" (aired last night on ITV), or Suchet's book "Poirot and Me"? (I know, the use of the same titles is quite confusing!).

      If you mean "Poirot and Me" (documentary), that's available on YouTube. If you mean "Poirot and Me" (book), that's available on Amazon. If you mean "Being Poirot", then it will be included on both DVD Collection 9 and The Definitive Collection (box set) in Region 2, both available on Amazon. It might appear online, too. Probably on YouTube :)

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  22. I haven't watched Curtain yet...but I have to say I don't like the way they are ending the series on what feels like a note of defeat and failure. Labours ends on a note that feels like Poirot has been beaten-down by his profession and lost his touch. You would think any series with so many murders would necessarily be "dark," but early on, there was an upbeat-ness and a positivity missing from most detective series. You felt that Poirot was, although unmarried, surrounded by people who loved him (witness Miss Lemon's and Hastings behavior when he's supposed to be having health problems in Evil Under the Sun). And most episodes seem to end on a note of triumph, at least from the standpoint of reaffirming Poirot's status as "the Great Detective." He's usually cleared someone's name, or showed up some law enforcement person who was being a jerk.

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About Me

I'm a passionate fan of Poirot, Agatha Christie and the ITV series. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or requests, please e-mail me at poirotchronology@gmail.com, post a comment on one of my blogs, or get in touch on Twitter @pchronology. (I used to call myself HickoryDickory)