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Five Little Pigs is the first episode of the ninth season of the ITV television series Agatha Christie's Poirot, first aired in the UK 14 December 2003. It is an adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel of the same name. The script was written by Kevin Elyot, and the episode was directed by Paul Unwin.


Young Lucy Lemarchant, née Crale, asks Poirot to uncover the truth of the 14-year-old murder case in which her mother Caroline was hanged for poisoning her dallying husband Amyas Crale, the famous painter. Poirot reluctantly aquiesces and gathers the testimonies of the other five possible suspects – his 'five little pigs'.

The adaptation is fairly faithful to the original, with some changes to character backgrounds and minor details of the plot, and the omission of Poirot's interviews with people who were in charge of the case 14 years ago (corresponding to the first half of Book I in the novel). The Detective merely interviews the judge, not visiting the solicitors or the police superintendent, and focuses more on the testimonies of the "five little pigs", realized in the adaptation in form interviews and flashbacks instead of via letters.

Comparison with the original story

Spoiler warning: A spoiler is announced! The following section contains details about Five Little Pigs novel and adaptation.
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There were a few major changes in this version:

  • One was that Philip Blake's affections were not for Caroline, as in the book, but for Amyas, thus making Philip Blake gay.
  • Caroline was executed in the adaptation, instead of being sentenced to life in prison and then dying a year into her jail sentence, as in the book.
  • Carla's name was also changed to Lucy, and she does not have a fiancé in the film. Nor, in the film, does she fear she has hereditary criminal tendencies; she merely wishes to prove her mother innocent of the crime.
  • Furthermore, after Poirot exposes Elsa as Amyas' murderer, Lucy aims at her with a pistol, with Elsa provoking Lucy to shoot her and Poirot urging Lucy to spare Elsa's life so that justice can truly be served. Eventually, Lucy lowers her pistol and Elsa leaves, broken and defeated.
Spoilers end here.



Tropes and themes

  • Archaeology. Angela Warren gives a lecture on the archaeological excavation at Chagar Bazar. She also tells Poirot that she has written an account in the National Geographic. In the 1930s, Max Mallowan directed the excavations at Chagar Bazar. Agatha Christie recorded some impressions of life at the Chagar Bazar dig in Come, Tell Me How You Live.