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The Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan is the eighth episode of series 5 of the ITV British television drama series Agatha Christie's Poirot featuring David Suchet as Hercule Poirot, first broadcast on 7 March 1993 in the UK. The episode is an adaptation of the Agatha Christie short story of the same name and was directed by Ken Grieve with dramatisation by Anthony Horowitz.


Poirot is holidaying in Brighton on his doctor's orders, but gets dragged into an investigation when the pearl necklace of Mrs Opalsen, an actress staying in his hotel, is brazenly stolen.

The TV adaptation is faithful to the main premise of the original story with respect to how the pearls were taken. However the rather barebones original story had to be embellished for dramatic purposes. The backgrounds of some characters had been changed and other characters added as potential suspects. The way the criminals were caught and the pearls recovered was also changed. Japp is given more action and some investigative work is also given to Miss Lemon.

Comparison with Original Story[]

(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)

In the original story, it is Hastings who suggests a weekend in Brighton. In the adaptation, Poirot gets doctor's orders to take a break.

The backstories of the main characters are changed. Opalsen is an impresario and Mrs Opalsen an actress. Opalsen had bought the pearls for 500 thousand francs for his wife to wear on stage for his play "Pearls Before Swine".

When checking in, Poirot notices a strange American tourist named Worthing. He limps and uses a walking stick but still walks up the stairs instead of using the lift. Worthing has the room next to the Opalsens.

Poirot and Hastings are invited by Opalsen to the opening night to watch the play. After the play, the pearls are discovered missing.

Opalsen tries to persuade Poirot to investigate but Hastings reminds him that he is here to rest so Poirot declines Opalsen's request.

Japp arrives to investigate. Meanwhile Poirot is "forced to relax" by the sea. He is not successful in this. All the time since he arrived in the town, he had been plagued by people identifying him as "Lucky Len". This is a newspaper gag where readers are challenged to find a person whose silhouette is published. Successful finders are rewarded with ten guineas. After one too many "Lucky Len" encounters, Poirot decides to investigate the theft.

The manner in which the pearls are stolen remains the same as in the original story. However, in this adaptation, it is not a fake set of pearls which are planted to incriminate Celestine but a key to the jewel case. The main culprits are no longer the chambermaid and the valet, but the chambermaid and Opalsen's chauffeur Saunders.

Of the main plot elements which Poirot relies on to solve the case:

  • french chalk is the same as in the original, only here it is not on Poirot's coat but on that of Saunders.
  • the lack of dust where the jewel case stood in the adjourning room is not used. Here Poirot never visits the adjoining room because Worthing has checked into it.
  • a plot element which is unique to this adaptation is Celestine's mention of the play "The Importance of Being Earnest". This jogs Poirot's memory because there is a character named Worthing in the play. He recalls that the American tourist Worthing had behaved unusually when checking in: he limped but yet chose to walk up the stairs.
  • in the original Poirot tricks the suspects by getting them to touch a specially treated piece of paper. This captures their fingerprints. Poirot then goes off to Scotland Yard to confirm their identities as a pair of wanted jewel thieves. In this adaptation, Miss Lemon visits the London pub where the chambermaid used to work and confirms her true identity.


Filming Locations[]

  • Pier and various seafront locations at Eastbourne[1] - the original story was set in Brighton. The adaptation is silent on whether it is Brighton or Eastbourne.
  • Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne - actual theatre used under its real name.
  • New Wimbledon Theatre - interiors of theatre
  • Butlins Ocean Hotel, Saltdean - as the Grand Metropolitan Hotel.
  • Rosewood London
  • Staines Town Hall, Staines-upon-Thames, Staines - party after theatre
  • Marylebone Station, Melcombe Place, London.
  • The Chatsworth Hotel, Grand Parade, Eastbourne.
  • Plumpton racecourse - racecourse scenes


Promotional Videos[]

See Also[]