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Cat Among the Pigeons is the second episode of series 11 of the ITV British television drama series Agatha Christie's Poirot featuring David Suchet as Hercule Poirot, first broadcast on September 21, 2008 in the UK and on June 21, 2009 in the US. The feature-length episode is an adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel of the same name and was directed by James Kent with screenplay by Mark Gatiss.


A foreign revolution, a kidnapped princess, and a trove of priceless rubies are linked to a prestigious girls' school, where staff members are brutally murdered.

Comparison with Original Novel[]

The adaptation is largely faithful to the storyline of the original novel. Like other adaptations in this TV series, the timeframe has been transposed from postwar England to the mid 1930s. Some minor characters were removed and others introduced to add "colour" to the school. Some side plots in the novel were also removed. Presumably these were done to tighten up the story and enable the storyline to fit within the time constraint of a 90 minute episode.

Spoiler warning: A spoiler is announced! The following section contains details about the plot of Cat Among the Pigeons and its adaptation.
  • Instead of Rawlinson and the Prince being killed in a plane crash while attempting to leave the country, the pair die in a gallant shootout against overwhelming odds.
  • Changing the primary murder weapon from a revolver to a javelin.
  • In the novel, Poirot only entered the action two thirds of the way into the story. In the film he is there from the beginning and therefore on the scene when Miss Springer was murdered. He is a personal friend of Miss Bulstrode. Poirot had be invited for a prize giving and then she had asked him to stay on to observe the staff and help identify a successor for the principal.
  • Eliminating the character of Miss Vansittart. The murder of Miss Vansittart, however, is kept loosely: in the adaptation, Miss Chadwick coshes Miss Rich, hoping that Miss Bulstrode will nominate her (Miss Chadwick) as her successor instead, but Miss Rich ultimately survives the attack.
  • The addition of a subplot concerning Miss Springer's blackmail of another teacher; all in all, this version of the character was much more sadistic and bullying than the one in Christie's original story, whom she described as a "woman you could neither love or hate".
  • Eliminating the murderer's attempt at stealing the jewels from Jennifer Sutcliffe by posing as a stranger with a new tennis racquet from her Aunt Gina; subsequently Jennifer is not the unobservant and uninterested character as in the novel. Another small fact related to the theme of concealed identity — a pregnant and hardly recognizable Miss Rich being in Ramat at the time of the revolution — is also left out of the adaptation, although Miss Rich was still pregnant and delivered a stillborn child during a leave of absence in the adaptation.
  • Eliminating most of the novel's scenes set in Turkey and the British secret service due to time constraints.
  • The character of Mr Robinson at the end is eliminated. So the ending is simplified with Poirot saying that the jewels would be returned to their rightful owner. He does present Julia with a jewel as a reward but this is red, not green as in the original.
Spoilers end here.


Filming Locations[]

  • Joyce Grove, Nettlebed, Oxfordshire (Sue Ryder Hospice) – used for external shots of Meadowbank school and also some interiors--the staircase


Promotional Videos[]

See Also[]