Hercule Poirot is puzzled when Benedict Farley summons him to a late night meeting. Farley is known as the king of pies as his company manufactures a well-known brand of meat pies. At their meeting, he tells Poirot of a recurring dream where he takes a gun from his desk drawer, walks to his office window and commits suicide. His only question for Poirot is whether someone could be manipulating him psychologically. When Farley is found dead the next day - in circumstances that appear to match those in his dream - Poirot and Captain Hastings find themselves assisting Inspector Japp in a case that involves false identities and an affair. It is Miss Lemon, however, who provides Poirot with the vital information that allows him to solve the case Written by
The location used for the Art Deco style Farley's Factory was a Hoover vacuum cleaner factory built in the 1930s west of London. The building is still intact but has been converted to a Tesco supermarket. See more »
Obvious stunt doubles at the end for Capt. Hastings and the culprit as they topple down a set of stairs. See more »
British pies are famous the world over, and last year Farley's Foods produced five million of 'em. Everything from steak and kidney to Cornish pasty. But that's not enough for old man Farley; he wants to double the score. Work's been pushing ahead on the new extension to his factory, and this week the great day dawns.
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Season 1: Very enjoyable thanks to accessible plots, frequent laughs and generally very good delivery from all involved
In the recent years I have seen a few of ITV's Poirot and have viewed them in the context of the other ITV Christie series "Marple" in that I see them as Sunday night specials which are a bit bloated, don't always give the viewer much help to follow along but generally warm you with actors you'll know from other shows, nice periods sets/costumes and the promise of a solution. For some reason I never saw Poirot through the 1990s and never really gave it too much time till I saw a few because my girlfriend enjoys them. As a result of this I decided to jump back to the first season to see what it was originally like, and I'm glad I did.
There is no "first thing" you notice about the show back in the start, because there are a lot of differences. The most obvious for me is that the show understandably doesn't have the feel of a big ITV event or institution, so episodes are under an hour long, there are no big semi- famous ensemble cast and the episodes screened weekly like a regular TV show, rather than one every few months as standalone events. It may not be obvious why this matters but it is a fact that feeds through the whole show and, not to criticise later episodes, this season I found very enjoyable due to this overall feel. It feels lighter and the mysteries are more accessible and stripped down - again, less of a production to get lost in and mostly a tight story. In one of the episodes Poirot goes to a mystery play and gets it wrong, afterwards complaining that he was not given all the facts by the playwright - in some cases with the ITV Christie adaptations I have felt the same way but in this season this was not the case - I followed all of them and felt involved in the mystery even if I was always behind Poirot.
As a factor of time I know Poirot will change because in this first season he is a very different character. I enjoyed very much how irritable and mischievous he was and also how much comedy there was through the episodes; whether it is Poirot's outrage at being dismissed from a trivial case he never wanted in the first place, through to his failure to buy a typewriter or Hastings' belief that Cubism is such so that you can see everything from the front without having walk round the back. This frequent comedic element mixed with the accessibility makes it a very enjoyable first season. On top of this our younger Poirot lacks some of the moral anger he will later have - he seems to enjoy the puzzles rather than hate the criminals, although I thought the show made light of one instance where he lets the "killers" get away free - it is an odd thing to occur with hardly a comment.
The cast are very good from the very start. Suchet is great in terms of his presence but more importantly his timing; he gets such nice little mannerisms that he adds to every scene he is in, making for an intelligent, irritable and funny character. Fraser is much simpler as a "Jolly old chap" type but I enjoyed this presence as he added energy alongside the more clipped Suchet. Jackson and Moran feature regularly in this season and I liked them both in their supporting roles. The weekly cast is nicely free of distracting famous faces, although there are a few faces in there that became famous later. Generally the standard is strong with no bad performances I can think of - although the most memorable for me was the young cook in the first episode who delivers a really funny scene while stating her belief that "white slavers" are to blame for a colleague's disappearance!
I have always "liked" Poirot but just never made a habit to watch it as it screens, but I am glad I decided to watch this first season as it was very entertaining with accessible and satisfying mysteries, good clean delivery and plenty of comedy and character.
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