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The Kidnapped Prime Minister is the eighth episode of series 2 of the ITV British television drama series Agatha Christie's Poirot featuring David Suchet as Hercule Poirot, first broadcast on 25 February 1990 in the UK. The episode is an adaptation of the Agatha Christie short story of the same name and was directed by Andrew Grieve with dramatisation by Clive Exton.


Poirot is summoned by the Foreign Office. The Prime Minister has been kidnapped and the Detective has 32 and a quarter hours to find him – otherwise he will miss an important international arms summit with the objective of stopping Germany from further rearmament.

The adaptation is faithful to the main premise of the original story but there are some embellishments and side plots. The backstories and involvement of some characters have been changed.

Comparison with Original Story[]

(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)

The setting has been changed from some time in the First World War to the 1930s. So it is not an Allied Conference but a Disarmament Conference with the objective of stopping Germany from further rearmament.

Lord Estair and Sir Bernard Dodge don't call on Poirot. Instead, Poirot is summoned to the Foreign Office. He goes there at noon, so here he has 32 and a quarter hours whereas in the original he only had 24 and a quarter.

Unlike the original, he doesn't cross over to Boulogne and come back. Here he is always in England, and always accompanied by Sir Bernard Dodge, who continually expresses his exasperation with Poirot's methods. Poirot's investigation takes a radically different course from the original.

After surveying the ambush location on the Windsor road, Poirot inspects the Prime Minister's vehicle and proves that, because of the way the windows are built, it highly improbable for the Prime Minister to have his cheeks grazed in the manner described. He then looks for the driver Egan. He has disappeared but Poirot looks in his address book and notes a Mayfair number.

He stops at Dover but declines to cross the Channel. He spends hours in a small hotel thinking and then proceeds to check out all the cottage hospitals from Datchet to London. The car in France has been found with Commander Daniels bound and gagged. Poirot declines to go to France to examine the car. Instead he calls on Daniel and to hear his account of events. He then tries to make a phone call but changes his mind and takes his leave. Sir Bernard's grumbles that Daniels could not have told them anything new, but Poirot counters that in fact Daniels has told him almost everything he needed to know. Poirot now asks Japp to check Egan's background and the maiden name of Daniel's former wife. Then to the consternation of all the others, he declares that he is going to bed. He does tell them, though, that he is certain the Prime Minister never left England.

The next morning he calls on Mrs Daniels and then goes to see Japp. There Japp tells him Egan and Mrs Daniels were both Irish. Poirot now shows Japp where his suspicions were headed: if Daniels had gone through such stormy divorce proceedings against his wife, why would there be a framed photograph of his ex-wife on his desk? Poirot calls on Daniels, and after some casual questions, rattles the commander with "Erin go bragh" and leaves.

Hastings has been watching outside Mrs Daniels' place. Right on cue, he sees Mrs Daniels drive off and follows her. He loses her somewhere between Basingtoke and Andover. But Miss Lemon, well up with society news and the aristocracy, comes to the rescue. The Earl had a mansion in that area in Berkshire which burnt down a year ago. Japp's men find the name: Summerscote Hall.

Poirot and the rest rush to Summerscote. The ruins are soon surrounded by soldiers from the Royal Leicestershire Regiment. Commander Daniels is caught trying to sneak through. Inside, Mrs Daniels and Egan realise that all is lost. She tells Egan to leave and then shoots herself with his Luger P08. The Prime Minister is rescued and makes it to the conference in time.

Poirot explains how his deductions all began: Egan had a Mayfair number in his address book under the letter X which he thought was strange. Later he tried to make a phone call from Daniels' desk and found that the number in Egan's book was that of Daniels. This suggested some kind of connection between Egan and Daniels and yet Daniels had denied that he knew Egan well.


Tropes and Themes[]

  • The Art Deco 1930s - the series never misses a chance to inject a feeling of the Art Deco 1930s, even if it is just a scene at a petrol station where Poirot and the others stop to make calls or the Feltham hospital reception area.
  • Lavish scenery
    • Poirot's arrival at the Foreign Office, with the chimes of Big Ben. Poirot arrives at 12 noon and enters the room exactly at the twelfth strike of the bell.
    • Dover Harbour - with sailors marching past
  • Hastings' hobbies
    • Cars - he gets to drive his Lagonda to follow Mrs Daniels all the way to Berkshire.

Filming Locations[]

  • Dover Western Docks Rail Station, Lord Warden Square, Dover.
  • Tower Garage, Egham Bypass. Used as a petrol station. Poirot and Sir Bernard Dodge stop there to make a call.[1]
  • Ingress Abbey, Kent - Summerscote Hall
  • Finsbury Health Centre. Used as the reception area of Feltham Hospital. This was a revolutionary Modernist building by Bethold Lubetkin.[2]
  • Foreign Office
  • Columbia Road, London
  • Dover Harbour Board offices, Wellington Crescent, Dover - used as the "Seaview Hotel".[3]
  • 61 Barnet Grove, London - location of Fingler's Tailors.
  • Quilter St, London - Hastings chases some boys away from his car after leaving Fingler's Tailors with Poirot.
  • Wells Mews, London - Poirot, Hastings, Japp and Sir Bernard Dodge leave the office of Commander Daniels and chat about the progress of the case so far.
  • Crescent Grove, London - Hasting drives Poirot to see Mrs Daniels.
  • Junction of Chilbrook Road & Ockham Lane, Cobham - Hastings follows Mrs Daniels
  • Bridge End House, Ockham Lane, Surrey - Hastings follows Mrs Daniels


Promotional Videos[]

See Also[]