Hercule Poirot's Christmas is the first episode of series six of Agatha Christie's Poirot. It was broadcast on 25 December 1994. The episode is an adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel of the same name and was directed by Edward Bennett with dramatisation by Clive Exton.
Comparison with Original Novel
(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)
- Chief Constable Colonel Johnson, who features in the novel, is replaced in the television adaptation by regular Poirot character Chief Inspector Japp. Stephen Farr is also missing, and his romantic interests in Pilar are given to Harry. Hilda and David Lee were also deleted in the movie. Otherwise the adaptation is fairly close to the original novel.
- Poirot is not staying with Johnson at the beginning. Here he is invited to stay over at Goston Hall by Simeon Lee on the recommendation of Sugden. Poirot accepts the invitation, but only because the central heating in Whitehaven Mansions is broken down.
- There are some small changes in the timing of the murder but these are not significant.
- Sugden's mother is portrayed and is given the name Stella in this adaptation. Here Stella comes to stay at the local inn. The denouement takes place in Stella's room at the inn.
- There is an attempt on Pilar's life involving a cannon ball balanced on top of the door in the book. This does not succeed and the ball misses her. In this adaptation, she is knocked out with a club.
- The plot element of there being a lot of blood on the floor at the crime scene (animal's blood brought by the killer) is not depicted.
- David Suchet as Hercule Poirot
- Philip Jackson as Chief Inspector Japp
- Mark Tandy as Superintendent Sugden
- Vernon Dobtcheff as Simeon Lee
- Simon Roberts as Alfred Lee
- Catherine Rabett as Lydia Lee
- Eric Carte as George Lee
- Andree Bernard as Magdalene Lee
- Brian Gwaspari as Harry Lee
- Sasha Behar as Pilar Estravados
- Olga Lowe as Stella
- Ayub Khan-Din as Horbury
- John Horsley as Tressilian
- Scott Handy as Young Simeon
- Liese Benjamin as Young Stella
- Oscar Pearce as Gerrit
- Steve Delaney as Sergeant Coombes
- Colin Meredith as Shopkeeper
- Peter Hughes as Mr Charlton
- Joanna Dickens as Cook
- Michael Keats as Constable
- Christopher Webber as Train Steward
- George Little as Dicker (voice) (uncredited)
- Tony Red Richards as Mrs. Japp's Relative (uncredited)
- Laurence Richardson as Policeman (uncredited)
Tropes and themes
- Poirot's weakness for good central heating systems. This was also also used to entice him in The Theft of the Royal Ruby.
- Poirot samples "brown Windsor soup" on the train.
- Poirot's fondness for chocolates.
- Japp and his wife are not quite on the same frequency. Here she takes him to her family who sing Christmas songs a bit too enthusiastically for Japp. Poirot has to "rescue" him by getting him involved in a murder.
- Chilham Manor, between Ashford and Canterbury in Kent was used as Simeon Lee’s house.
- Village of Chilham - most outdoor scenes and buildings
- Rupert Taylor, “The Mystery of Brown Windsor Soup," Delishably.com, accessed February 1 2021, URL