David Suchet’s brother didn’t think he should play Poirot

Although Agatha Christie’s Poirot was a huge success, and was aired from 1989 to 2013 with David Suchet meeting widespread praise for his version of the famous detective, the actor previously revealed that he almost didn’t take the job entirely. 

Writing in his book, Poirot and Me, David revealed that his brother was very much against him taking the role when he asked for his advice. The star revealed that he read several Poirot novels, explaining: “I still wasn’t sure whether I should play him. So I decided to ask my elder brother John, who was then a newscaster at Independent Television News in London. He is two years older than I am, and I’ve always looked up to him, so I rang him.

David played the role from 1989

“‘I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole,’ John said firmly. ‘Seriously?’ I blurted out. ‘Yes. I mean, Poirot’s a bit of a joke, a buffoon. It’s not you at all.’ I gulped. ‘Well, what I’m reading isn’t a buffoon,’ I told him. ‘It’s a character that I’ve never seen portrayed… It would be a wonderful challenge to see if I could bring that character to the screen.’ […] There was a slight sigh. John is an enormously kind and gentle man, and would never want to upset me. 

“‘Of course, you must do it if you want to,’ he said quietly. ‘Good luck. Only one word of warning: it may be difficult to get people to take him seriously.’ It turned out he was quite right.” 

Have you been rewatching the series on ITV3? 

After reading all of Agatha Christie’s works on the detective, David took the role very seriously, even admitting that he nearly quit after disagreeing with a director about one of Poirot’s quirks. 

Previously speaking to the Radio Times, he explained: “If I lost the argument, it would mean that my custodianship of Poirot’s character was in severe jeopardy – so much so that I really thought that I might not be able to go on playing him. I had to play the character she created, I was certain of that. I would not compromise.”

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