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The Adventure of the Clapham Cook | Agatha Christie’s Poirot | TV Serial | Season 1 | Episode 1 | Personal Reviews

First episode of the Season 1 of English TV Series Agatha Christie’s Poirot is titled as The Adventure of the Clapham Cook. The episode also serve the purpose of introducing us to the main characters, but it doesn’t waste time in doing so. It rather start in Poirot’s office. And it gives us the hint of the pace we can expect from the episodes of this TV Series.

TV Serial : Agatha Christie’s Poirot
Season : Season 1
Episode # : 1
Episode Title : The Adventure of the Clapham Cook
Originally Aired : 8 Jan 1989
Starring : David Suchet (Hercule Poirot), Hugh Fraser (Captain Arthur Hastings), Philip Jackson (Inspector James Japp), Pauline Moran (Miss Felicity Lemon), Brigit Forsyth (Ernestine Todd), Dermot Crowley (Arthur Simpson), Freda Dowie (Eliza Dunn), Frank Vincent (Purser), Katy Murphy (Annie), Danny Webb (Porter), Richard Bebb (Mr Cameron), Brian Poyser (Speaker), Antony Carrick (Mr. Todd), Phillip Manikum (Sargent), Jona Jones (Constable), Nicholas Coppin (Constable), and others…
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David Suchet is probably the best choice for the character and he prove it through his performance. The way he walk, he talk, his gestures and postures are all the result of the hard study he did for the character he is playing. As mentioned in our introductory reviews, David took time to read all the literary material about Poirot written by Agatha Christie in order to understand the character better. It is then he started shooting for the same! And his dedication pays off. The member’s of Late Christie’s family also approved the portrayal of the character by David.

Hugh Fraser makes you feel that he is the right choice for the character of Captain Haistings (OBE). The reference of Haistings found in 8 novels by Christie. However his perfect portrayal of the character is definitely a reason for him to be part of morre than 40 episodes of the serial (from total 48).

Paulin Moran is first rate as miss Lemon, the secratery of Hercule and of course more of a friend to both Poirot and Haistings. She looks pretty and does well in emotional scene, she doesn’t overdo them but performs like a real female, which is the heart of her performance. She looks charming and sometimes have opinion about some stuff. She loves her work and we see her doing good organization of files and other stuff belong to Poirot’s various cases.

Philip Jackson plays Inspector James Japp. We don’t see him in uniform throughout the first season. He is having the height, body and persona of a tough guy. He performs well where needed. He may think different than Poirot but have respect for his work and helps him when needed.

We think this brief introduction is sufficent to start with the episode content.

Poirot and Heistings were in their office cum home where Heisting points out various cases he found in the newspaper. He tells about those three cases to Poirot:

  • Mr. Davis who was working as a bank clerk ran away with 50 thousand pounds of secirities from the same. He disappears somewhere and is not tracable at the point.
  • There is information about a sucidal man.
  • There is a typist missing.

Poirot found these cases do not match his level of interest and hence not keen to take them in hand anyway.

The game changes when a lady named Mrs Todd came to meet Poirot and insist him to take the case to find her missing cook! Poirot was definitely eagar or evenr eady to take such an uninteresting case. He refused but then due to some thoughts; he eventually took the case in his hand.

During his search he find the following facts:

  • Mrs Todd was living in a home at Clapham with her husband Mr. Todd. Mr. Todd works in the city.
  • Their lodger is Mr. Simpson who lives there as well. Mr. Simpson works in the same bank Mr. Davis (the clerk who disappeared with secirities worth GBP 50000.
  • Mrs Todd’s cook Eliza Dunn was a middle-aged woman. She left the job without giving notice to Mrs. Todd. She didn’t communicate to her employers since then, apart from sending someone to pick her trunk!
  • Curious Hercule found from the converstion with Mrs Todd’s maid that the person who came to bring the trunk didn’t took time for packing and leave with the heavy trunk.
  • Poirot advertise in a newspaper to hear from Eliza and he was contacted by her!! She is currently living in a legacy house at Carlisle!

Now the questions are how Eliza got that legacy house? Why the person came to bring the trunk of Eliza didn’t need time to pack it? Was it packed already? Was the sudden disappearance of Eliza actually planned one? You can find answers along with Poirot.

The remastered DVD is having really good quality, the video and the sound both are good to go for. The episode may not be found appealing in the early segment of the same but eventually it gets the grip. The animation in titles looks under quality and immature these days, but it is nice if viewed in the context when it was filmed. Most of the cast members are convincing in act. It is a delightful experience to watch the episode. The dramatization of the original story is quite convincing. The writer deserves the credit for good work. The use of camera is pretty good. The efforts to find convincing location pays off. This episode again proves that if there is a great content you have, you can present it nicely despite of running short technically. The serial is much better than some crime drama or detective fictions we watch even in modern times. The title track’s music is mesmerizing.

If you love crime fictions then it is not going to disappoint you. You will enjoy it for sure.

Are you going to watch this episode? If you are unable to find DVDs for this TV serial, you can watch it at Amazon Prime. What do you think about this article? Do share your thoughts via comments below.

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