The dis­ci­ple de­tec­tive

PICK OF THE WEEK: In the Foot­steps of St Peter, BBC1, Fri­day and Easter Sun­day, 9am.

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Television -

AVID SUCHET, best known as Poirot, re­turns to tele­vi­sion screens this Easter in a doc­u­men­tary that takes him to Is­rael and Italy, fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of Peter, the dis­ci­ple clos­est to Je­sus, who went on to be­come Bishop of Rome and the first Pope.

The ac­tor, now 68, be­came a prac­tis­ing Angli­can when he was 40 and while he says good-na­turedly to­day: “I won’t go into that old story, be­cause we’ll be here un­til to­mor­row”, it’s clear how pas­sion­ate he is about his faith and what he learned about St Peter from mak­ing the new show.

“I dis­cov­ered this won­der­fully flawed hu­man be­ing,” says Suchet. “A lot of Chris­tians now look to Peter as be­ing so hu­man and fal­li­ble and adorable. He’s a love­able rogue, isn’t he? He al­lows us all to fail and still be ac­cept­able.”

Suchet was born in Lon­don to a South African gy­nae­col­o­gist fa­ther and an English mother, but was raised with­out reli­gion. He went to board­ing school with his broth­ers Peter and John, who’s a well­known pre­sen­ter, be­fore study­ing at the Lon­don Academy of Mu­sic and Dra­matic Art (LAMDA).

His ca­reer be­gan on the stage as a mem­ber of the Royal Shake­speare Com­pany in the 1970s and tele­vi­sion roles fol­lowed, in­clud­ing in 1985 play­ing In­spec­tor Japp, op­po­site Peter Ustinov as Poirot in Thir­teen at Din­ner. Four years later, he would take on Agatha Christie’s metic­u­lous Bel­gian de­tec­tive him­self – a role he played un­til Cur­tain: Poirot’s Last Case in 2013.

He ad­mits he’s still slightly in mourn­ing for Poirot.

“I’ll never let him go. I’ll never be able to be­cause he’s on our screens all the time some­where in the world,” he says, chuck­ling.

“I was in Rome last week and he was on – speak­ing Ital­ian! I’m told by ITV there could be 760 mil­lion view­ers world­wide, that’s quite a lot.”

A few weeks ago, Suchet and his wife Sheila, who he mar­ried in 1976 and with whom he has a daugh­ter Kather­ine and son Robert, went to Prague for a week­end they had bid for in a si­lent char­ity auc­tion – and he wit­nessed the ex­tent of Poirot’s reach.

“We walk into the ho­tel and there’s th­ese young peo­ple be­hind re­cep­tion who see me and go ba­nanas be­cause they grew up in the Nineties, and with all the prob­lems in Prague, watch­ing Poirot gave them com­fort.

“One per­son had tears in their eyes to say that their mother and fa­ther were kept go­ing by the se­ries. You just do the job and go home – but it’s had such a won­der­ful, far-reach­ing ef­fect be­yond just be­ing en­ter­tain­ment, and that’s very hum­bling.”

DI­VINE JOUR­NEY: David Suchet on the shores of the Sea of Galilee as he fol­lows the path taken by St Peter in a two-part Easter doc­u­men­tary for the BBC.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.