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Problem at Sea is the seventh episode of series 1 of the ITV British television drama series Agatha Christie's Poirot featuring David Suchet as Hercule Poirot, first broadcast on 19 February 1989 in the UK. The episode is an adaptation of the Agatha Christie short story of the same name and was directed by Renny Rye with dramatisation by Clive Exton.


Poirot and Hastings embark on a cruise ship to Egypt. While the ship is docked at Alexandria, Adeline Clapperton, a woman disliked by all abord, is found dead in her cabin – which is locked from the inside.

The TV adaptation is fairly faithful to main premise of the original short story. Hastings and a number of other characters have been added and a few side plots were included to set up a greater range of suspects.

Comparison with Original Novel

  • In the original story, Poirot comes very quickly to the solution. There isn't a range of suspects nor does he interview any witnesses. In the adaptation, sideplots and characters have been added to widen the range of plausible suspects:
    • There is a sideplot involving the steward Skinner. Hastings catches him trying to sell a jewelled headband which belonged to Mrs Clapperton. Thus he became a suspect in her murder.
    • In a second sideplot, a string of amber beads are found near Mrs Clapperton's body. The bead sellers claim they sold amber beads to Ellie Henderson. This made her another suspect in the murder.
    • General Forbes has a larger role in the adaptation compared with the original. Here he has a romantic interest in Mrs Clapperton. He went ashore but then returned to the ship at around the time of the murder. Thus he had opportunity even if he didn't have a motive.
  • Hastings has been added mainly to provide some humour and light relief.
    • He spends most of his time organising cruise activities including rostering the after dinner entertainment and a clay pigeon shooting competition. Even when Poirot tries to matchmake him with Ellie Henderson, all he wants to talk to her about is the clay pigeon competition.
    • He goes ashore with Poirot, wanting to avoid the "usual touristy things" and ends up in a bazaar sitting on a wooden camel for a photograph.


Filming Locations

  • Motor Yacht Madiz[1] - the name M Y Madiz is actually visible on a label on the left shoulder of the captain's uniform.
  • Ibrahim Pasha mosque, Rhodes


Promotional Videos

See Also