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.
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.
- 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.
- David Suchet as Hercule Poirot
- Harriet Walter as Miss Bulstrode
- Raji James as Prince Ali
- Adam De Ville as Bob Rawlinson
- Don Gallagher as Mr Forbes
- Georgie Glen as Mrs Forbes (as Georgie Glenn)
- Georgia Cornick as Patricia Forbes
- Carol MacReady as Miss Johnson (as Carol Macready)
- Claire Skinner as Miss Rich
- Susan Wooldridge as Miss Chadwick
- Natasha Little as Ann Shapland
- Amara Karan as Princess Shaista
- Adam Croasdell as Adam Goodman
- Amanda Abbington as Miss Blake
- Miranda Raison as Mlle Blanche
- Elizabeth Berrington as Miss Springer
- Jo Woodcock as Jennifer Sutcliffe
- Lois Edmett as Julia Upjohn
- Pippa Haywood as Mrs Upjohn
- Jane How as Lady Veronica
- Katie Leung as Hsui Tai
- Anton Lesser as Inspector Kelsey
- Jemma Carlisle as School Girl (uncredited)
- Fudge Hammali as Adam Trimble (uncredited)
- Olivia Jewson as School Girl (uncredited)
- Aaron King as Teacher (uncredited)
- Laura Tarrant as Jane (uncredited)
- Joyce Grove, Nettlebed, Oxfordshire (Sue Ryder Hospice) – used for external shots of Meadowbank school.