Man of the cloth
David “Poirot” Suchet returns to familiar territory, investigating a suspicious death – this time of a Pope – in touring stage play The Last Confession.
Actor David Suchet reveals his Road-to-Damascus conversion en route to playing a cardinal
in the beginning there was a bathtub and David Suchet was in it. “It began in Seattle in an hotel in 1986,” he says. “As I was lying in my bath I was thinking of my grandfather, Jimmy, who was sort of my spiritual guide. I thought, isn't that funny that I think he's with me? I don't really believe in life after death. I don't want to believe that. I thought, is there a Bible? And I opened the drawer of my bedside table and there wasn't.”
That might have been that. Suchet, now 68, who was shooting the movie Bigfoot and the Hendersons, could just have headed to the bar and had a drink with his fellow actors. However, the actor is nothing if not assiduous, and he dug out the Yellow Pages, found a bookshop and went out to buy a Bible. That night he read Paul's Letter to the Romans. “I was grabbed in a way that I never, ever thought I would be. I was looking at a world view that I had been searching for ever since the Beatles.”
So began a more than 20-year exploration that eventually led to Suchet's conversion to Christianity. He is telling the story because, in the post- Poirot
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Christie's Belgian detective aired in Australia in February), he's been looking for fresh challenges. One of them was recording an audio book (released on CD in April) of the whole of the New International Version of the Bible, which he regards as “probably the biggest-selling, most unread book in the world”.
But before we get into the Christianity, I want to know more about the Beatles. “I'm a Beatle boy,” he says. “If you remember, they went to gurus in India; everybody was looking for something. I read [Carlos] Castaneda [the New Age guru], who was under magic mushrooms and all the rest of it. I would read Sanskrit and the Bhagavad Gita. I read all those. I was really looking and searching. The Beatles encouraged people to do that. It became very popular for people to go to India to their guru. It never worked for me, any of that. Although I became a Zen Buddhist for a bit.”
For a moment I try to reconcile this image of Suchet the Buddhist in suburbia with the immaculately dressed man without a hair out of
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