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The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is the first episode of the seventh series of Agatha Christie's Poirot. It was broadcast on 2 January 2000. The feature-length episode was adapted by Clive Exton and directed by Andrew Grieve. Among the actors of the episode were David Suchet, Philip Jackson, Oliver Ford Davies and Selina Cadell, who also played Mary Dove in A Pocketful of Rye. It is a loose adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel of the same name.


Poirot reminisces about an older case in which Roger Ackroyd, the elderly, stingy millionaire disliked by many, was found murdered in cold blood – a second unnatural death in the village of King's Abbot in the past few months. Poirot decided to postpone his retirement and set about helping Japp with the investigation.

Comparison with Original Novel[]

(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)

  • The plot device of the narrator in the novel is replaced by Poirot reading from a journal. Poirot provides the voiceover, reading passages from the journal at various points of the story.
  • Some major characters are deleted to have a smaller number of suspects. The characters that do not appear are Major Hector Blunt and Elizabeth Russell. Charles Kent, who is Elizabeth’s illegitimate son, also does not appear. The clue of the goose quill found in the summerhouse, which was from Charles Kent, thus is not featured.
  • In the novel, John Parker realizes that a chair on the scene of the crime was moved from its original position. This occurs in the episode too, however, to avoid getting exposed, the murderer ran over Parker with a car. The character itself is kept loosely; in the episode, Parker does not receive any inheritance from Ackroyd. Plus, in the episode, Parker isn’t a blackmailer. Go to Parker's character page for more information.
  • Dr Sheppard's character is completely different from the one in the novel; his loving relationship with his nosy sister is omitted, and his role as the "Hastings"-type assistant of the novel is considerably reduced largely taken by Chief Inspector Japp, who does not appear in the original novel. It is then much more obvious when Dr Sheppard is revealed to be the murderer.
  • Caroline Sheppard has a much smaller role in this adaptation. She does not help Poirot in the investigation at all, unlike in the original novel. In the book, she never found out about her brother whereas in the show, she is the one who discovers and reads through the journal.
  • The characters of Roger Ackroyd, Mrs Ackroyd and Geoffrey Raymond are presented as more unpleasant characters, and both Mrs Ackroyd and her daughter are described as scavengers who are waiting for inheritance. Here Ackroyd is the owner of a factory.
  • The characters of Miss Gannett and Colonel Carter are eliminated, as well as some other minor characters. Some subplots weren't present due to time constraints (presumably), such as Raymond's debt and Mrs Ackroyd looking for her brother in law's will. Inspector Raglan also does not appear. Here we come across a less sympathetic Inspector Davis who doesn't want Poirot in his investigations.


Mentioned but not cast[]

Tropes and themes[]

  • British cuisine compared to French and Italian - Chief Inspector Japp is eating in an Italian restaurant with Poirot where he appears to dislike the food there. He is told by Mr Hammond that the blackmailer of Mrs Ferrars had received as much as twenty thousand pounds. Japp said that with all that money he could flee to the French Riviera, but Poirot jokingly replies that "he wouldn't like the food there". Later Japp is seen eating fish and chips. However, in the episode Death in the Clouds, Chief Inspector Japp says he was quite fond of French cuisine.
  • The Art Deco 1930s - Kit's Close is an example of Moderne architecture.
  • Poirot's quirks
    • He rearranges things on Mrs Folliott's house mantelpiece (like in The Mysterious Affair at Styles.
    • When Japp throws a piece of newspaper into a bin and misses, Poirot picks it up.
  • The obligatory chase scene - at the end
  • Spectacular scenes - the inside of the Steam Museum.

Filming Locations[]

  • Castle Combe, Wiltshire (UK) - King's Abbot
    • Junction of The Street and Water Lane, bridge over By Brook - positioning shot at beginning of episode.
    • White Hart Inn, the Street, Castle Combe - White Hart Inn where Ralph Paton stayed
    • House (terraced) next to White Hart Inn - Hercule Poirot's cottage. Next to him is Dr Sheppard's surgery and house. A different house further south on the Street is used for Poirot's garden because the tower of St. Andrew's church is visible from there. Probably "Reading Room Cottage", "Market Cross Cottage", "Memorial Cottage" or "Coombe Cottage".
    • Market Cross - prominent landmark seen in several scenes.
    • "Trimmels", the Street, Castle Combe - Mrs Ferrar's house. A sign on the gatepost says "King's Paddock" - that's the name of her house in the book.
    • Near Archway Cottage - Police station. Japp, Poirot and Inspector Davis come out of door and enter a car which immediately drives through the archway of Archway cottage towards the village. The door is on the left as one faces the village.
  • Kit's Close, Fawley, Bucks - Fernly Park
  • Kempton Waterworks, Kempton Steam Museum, Feltham, West London - Ackroyd's chemical plant
  • Victoria House, Bloomsbury - News Chronicle at Fleet Street
  • Charterhouse Square
  • Gordon Square - visit to Mrs Folliott. Poirot's taxi comes down the northwest side of the square then turns right onto the northeast side and stops at No. 47. You can catch a glimpse of the blue plaque at No. 46 which was the house John Maynard Keynes lived in.


Research notes[]

There is a painting in the hall of Fernly Park of a mother nursing her sick child, which is a possible reference to the events of the novel Dead Man's Folly.

See Also[]


Episode's IMDB page