The Cast of Poirot: Life After The Show
Poirot by Agatha Christie is for sure one of the most popular detectives. If you've ever read one of the Agatha Christie novels, you'd probably agree that the best adaptation of Agatha Christie's Poirot is the one where David Suchet plays that little Belgian. Right from the Poirot season 1 to the very last episodes, Suchet's Poirot captures your attention with his brilliant acting.
But how much do you know about the actors who starred in this series? Who left acting behind to become an astrologist? Which actor’s daughter played a role in one of Poirot episodes? Who wrote dark crime thrillers after the end of the series? And can we expect a new Poirot feature anytime soon? Here's everything you need to know about the cast of Poirot.
Hugh Fraser as Captain Arthur Hastings
Not too bright, quite naive but still chivalrous and sincere - Hastings definitely captured our hearts. Hugh Fraser loved playing his character alongside David Suchet, although Hugh admitted he was stunned by his co-star's high standard of preparation right from the very first scene.
He recalled that everything was ready for filming but Suchet kept saying: “Just a second, just a second.” He went over to a bookcase in the background and arranged all the books at exactly ninety degrees, with exactly the same space between each book.
THAT level of dedication to the character simply amazed Fraser and made a great impact on his own acting throughout the years. In fact, Fraser fell in love with the series and was inspired to become a detective himself!
That’s right, since Poirot ended, Hugh has written three rather grisly crime thrillers. His main character is the lesbian contract killer Rina Walker, peppered with flashbacks to her brutal upbringing as a teenager in Notting Hill. Fraser half jokes that he thinks that Agatha Christie was less of an influence on him as an author than the prospect of being unemployed after Poirot!
And while it’s unfortunate that we’ve been seeing a lot less of Fraser lately, we can still enjoy listening to his voice! Hugh has narrated many audiobooks of Agatha Christie’s novels, if you ever get bored with rewatching the series, you can always spend a pleasant evening listening to Hugh Fraser's calming voice.
Much like in Agatha Christie's Poirot, in real life, Hugh Fraser is pretty successful when it comes to drawing attention from the ladies. Over thirty years ago he captured the heart of his co-star from the series The Bretts. And after their characters married on-screen, Hugh and his beloved Belinda Land exchanged vows in real life too.
It seems like Fraser really knows how to charm a lady, as Belinda grew up with parents who had a very volatile relationship which resulted in her having very little faith in marriage. But Hugh totally changed her opinion on matrimony! Belinda revealed that in Hugh she found what she had always needed but never found before - stability and joy.
Together they have raised a wonderful daughter, Lily, and it seems that after so many years together the couple still has a spark of passion and romance, more than any of them would ever have expected.
Belinda shared: "Hugh's got everything that keeps me interested. He's very bright and extremely funny, which is a big thing for me."
Philip Jackson as Chief Inspector James Japp
"What a drag it is getting old." - Mick Jagger once sang... and that’s exactly what Philip Jackson thinks!
"A lot of people become quite boring as they get older. I'm really trying not to do that. If anything, I'd quite like to get more frivolous and irresponsible before fading away."
Yeah, that's how excited Jackson is about his current life. You could say that he loves to spend his time as frivolously as his character Japp. And just like James, Philip isn’t fond of planning things too much when there's the chance to make a spontaneous decision!
Unlike Hugh Fraser, Jackson was never 'charmed' by David Suchet's acting methods. He respected him, of course, but tried to stick to his own style of performance.
"David [Suchet] is a very meticulous actor; he works everything down to the last detail. [...] I, on the other hand, am rather sloppy as an actor. I tend not to plan ahead too much. I always know my lines, but, I don't like to plan a performance too carefully because I enjoy responding to what's going on around me on the day of filming."
Sounds a lot like Japp, doesn't it? What's more, Jackson didn't do any research about his character beforehand. And we think you’d probably agree - Jackson handled the job quite well!
These days Jackson happily shares his life with Sally, his wife of more than 3 decades, and has settled for a fairly mundane existence as, without his Japp's mustache, Jackson isn’t usually recognized by fans.
Looking to the future, Philip says that he likes to keep his options open. He doesn't really want to be known or typecast for his part on Poirot but he’s grateful that his role as the Chief Inspector made him more well known.
Pauline Moran as Miss Felicity Lemon
The only person Mr. Poirot is willing to trust (more than himself, of course) is his loyal secretary, the charming Miss Lemon. Unlike Inspector Japp, Moran paid a lot of attention to how the Queen of Detective novels described the character in her books. In fact, such was her attention to the books that poor Pauline was scared she wouldn't get the role.
“She has wiry hair and a pince-nez and is very, very exacting. I certainly don’t fit that description,” Moran confessed.
Fortunately, the showrunners had a different point of view on the subject and so the world got its most charming Miss Lemon to date. And although little is known about the actress, we do know that just like her character she also has an interest in the Occult.
While Miss Lemon is mostly excited about Tarot cards and Ouija boards, in real life Pauline is more into Astrology. And it seems that Moran is seriously professional when it comes to observing the heavens as she runs a company called Astrum which offers individual reports based on the date and time of a client's birth.
One thing's for sure, her on-screen boss Monsieur Poirot would definitely disapprove of that! All in all, Pauline loved her character. She revealed that the most fun she had was with the quite peculiar but now pretty iconic row of curls on her forehead. While the producers didn't like them, Moran loved to keep them in her cupboard and stick them on whenever possible.
David Suchet as Hercule Poirot
While fans are sure there's no-one who could portray the Belgian detective better than David Suchet, it actually took the actor quite a while to decide whether the role was even worth trying out for!
Not only had Suchet not read any of the Agatha Christie books but his brother John also warned him off the role, saying that David didn’t even slightly resemble Hercule Poirot. But Suchet took a risk and ended up loving the role for almost 25 years. Hercule Poirot touched David's life so much that many of the character's personal qualities became part of the actor himself.
"There is a moment… when I am not truly sure who I am. Am I an actor, who has played the role of Poirot for a quarter of a century in seventy television films, or have I actually become this little man that the world, and I, love so much? Where do I stop, and where does he begin?" David Suchet revealed when the series ended.
Such a strong connection probably comes from David's great dedication to the role. Suchet remained in character even between takes and he was always extremely strict about any directions that came from the showrunners.
Nothing silly like refusing to eat boiled eggs that weren't the same size as each other… but there are some pretty obsessive stories about him refusing to wear outfits that, in his opinion, didn’t suit the character.
"When it comes to fighting for a role in the way that I want to play it, I'm afraid I'm not that easy," David admitted. "I have never liked directors telling me how to play a role. Ever."
Aside from that, Suchet says that there are only a few similarities between Poirot and himself: things like punctuality and satisfaction with things being in order.
Just like fans of the series, David Suchet is still grieving the end of Poirot's investigations. The actor even wrote a book called "Poirot and Me" which gives an insight into his life on and off-screen, Suchet’s views on religion, a look into his family life, and (of course) more about our beloved little Belgian.
David's memoir reveals the gentle relationship between him and his wife, actress Sheila Ferris. Suchet never gets tired of saying that he wouldn't have had such a successful career without Sheila's unwavering support. David admits he fell in love with Sheila as soon as he saw her during rehearsals at the theatre but it did take him quite a while to take her on a date.
My Daughter and I going out to celebrate Christmas. A long tradition😊😊 pic.twitter.com/gqUKulTxfj— David_Suchet (@David_Suchet) December 22, 2016
Fortunately, Sheila gave David a chance and hasn't regretted it even once during their blissful 44 years together. They’ve raised two children together: Katherine, who is currently a successful physiotherapist and Robert, who is a personal fitness trainer. And Robert has actually gotten his parents to take up the habit of meditating… every day!
"I meditate with my wife most mornings. It's a wonderful start to the day to start calm, with an empty slate." Suchet has said.
More so, together with Sheila, the couple go on some crazy adventures! A couple of years ago they hike a very tough trail to Machu Picchu.
Though on other days, the couple loves to just enjoy each other's company, watching Poirot with a glass of wine. Just like fans!
Zoë Wanamaker as Ariadne Oliver
This eccentric and colorful crime writer brought us plenty of laughs. Zoe is well-known for making any character iconic and memorable. From the quirky Quidditch teacher Rolanda Hooch in the Harry Potter films to the hilarious control freak Susan Harper in long-running BBC sitcom My Family. And Wanamaker herself is just as energetic and fascinating as her characters.
Actually, for a long period of time, Zoe was sure that (in her words): "she would be a singleton for life." But then, as the actress puts it, "she got lucky" and eventually got married at the age of 45.
It was during a very tough time in her life, as Wanamaker was grieving over the recent loss of her father; legendary actor Sam Wanamaker. And Zoe found someone who really understood what she was going through... as actor and writer Gawn Grainger was also dealing with a great loss in his life when cancer took his wife's life.
Gawn and Zoe supported each other and made it through those dark times and together managed to write a new chapter in their lives. After marriage, Wanamaker became stepmother to Grainer's two children, Charlie and Eliza, whom she describes as “fantastically generous and loving, great people” - words which could well describe Zoe herself!
David Yelland as George
And how could we forget about Poirot’s calm and collected valet? David Yelland is a real veteran of British theatre and that’s why you don't often see him on screen. But his stage performances are still connected to the world of Agatha Christie. His theatrical work in the production of “Witness for the Prosecution” is a great example.
And, coincidentally, his daughter Hannah is also connected to Agatha Christie. You can spot Hanna Yelland in one of the episodes of Agatha Christie's Poirot, where Lord Edgware dies. Hannah played the role of Geraldine Marsh and we’re sure we can all remember her performance!
Meanwhile, father David lives a very private life and as a result, very little is known about him. Although it seems that his relationship with his daughter Hannah is something that he’s not afraid to share! The two are really close and often perform together on the stage, such as in the play “The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby”.
What else would you love to know about the series? Perhaps what the cast was up to before they portrayed those iconic characters?