The Third Floor Flat is the fifth episode of series 1 of the ITV British television drama series Agatha Christie's Poirot featuring David Suchet as Hercule Poirot, first broadcast on 5 February 1989 in the UK. The episode is an adaptation of the Agatha Christie short story of the same name and was directed by Edward Bennett with dramatisation by Michael Baker.
The adaptation is largely faithful to the original story. Some side plots have been added and Japp and Miss Lemon have been included as characters.
Comparison with Original Story
(may contain spoilers - click on expand to read)
Two side plots have been added. In one, Poirot has a cold and Miss Lemon tries to treat it with inhalations and such like. This is her only role in the film.
In a second, Hastings tries to cheer Poirot up by taking him to a crime stage play, "The Deadly Shroud". He bets Poirot ten pounds that he cannot figure out who the murderer is. Poirot gets it wrong and says the writer is an imbecile. At the theatre, they see Patricia and her party of friends.
Patricia and friends do watch a play in the original but it is "The Brown Eyes of Caroline" and Poirot is not there.
Mrs Ernestine Grant is depicted as having just moved in. There's an interesting scene of movers bringing her furniture into Whitehaven Mansions and a coffee stall outside. Like in the original, she tries to leave a note for Patricia, but Patricia ignores it. Patricia thinks Ernestine wants to see her to complain about her gramophone. In the original, she thinks the complaint is about her piano.
Ernestine's married Donovan in an unspecified foreign country. In the adaptation, it is specified as Switzerland. A marriage certificate is shown.
In the original, Donovan and Jimmy get into Ernestine's flat by mistake and come out. They then find blood and go back in a second time to investigate and discover the body. In the adaptation, they find the body the first time. An understandable change to save time.
Poirot does get served omelettes by Patricia and enjoys it just like in the original. His remark about once having loved a girl like Patricia but who could not cook is included. Too good to leave out.
The adaptation ends more conclusively and with more drama. In the original, Poirot merely states that Donovan, having gone home, cannot escape. In the adaptation, he is taken upstairs by Hastings. Donovan then tries to run away. He evades his pursuers and then tries to drive off in Hasting's Lagonda. He crashes it and ends up being arrested by Japp.
Just like in the original, Poirot rounds off the plot by trying to matchmake Jimmy with Patricia.
- David Suchet as Hercule Poirot
- Hugh Fraser as Captain Hastings
- Philip Jackson as Chief Inspector Japp
- Pauline Moran as Miss Lemon
- Suzanne Burden as Patricia Matthews
- Nicholas Pritchard as Donovan
- Robert Hines as Jimmy
- Amanda Elwes as Mildred
- Josie Lawrence as Mrs. Grant
- Susan Porrett as Trotter
- Alan Partington as Inspector Flint
- James Aidan as Major Sadler (as James Aiden)
- Gillian Bailey as Mrs Sadler (as Gillian Bush Bailey)
- Norman Lumsden as Vicar
- George Little as Dicker
- Jona Jones as Police Constable
- John Golightly as Removal Man
- Peter Aubrey as Removal Man
- Helena McCarthy as Coffee Stall Owner
Tropes and Themes
- Hasting's passion for cars - in this case his Lagonda plays a significant role in the plot.
- Poirot's passion for food - in this case, omelettes, a theme which recurs in Mrs McGinty's Dead and Cat Among the Pigeons.
- Florin Court - as Whitehaven Mansions