Agatha Christie's old home gets star billing for last ever Poirot
Visitors to Agatha Christie's holiday home may have done a double-take this summer when they saw the crime writer's greatest creation strolling across the lawn.
Dressed in his trademark fawn Macintosh, polished spats and black fedora, the figure of Belgian detective Hercule Poirot has become familiar throughout the world.
Taking the central role in no fewer than 13 series of ITV dramas, British actor David Suchet spent a week at Greenway in South Devon for the filming of Dead Man's Folly, the latest story in a long line of Agatha Christie adaptations.
However, for the 90 cast and crew of the popular detective series, the occasion was tinged with sadness because Dead Man's Folly will be the final instalment of the Poirot mysteries.
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As these photographs illustrate, the National Trust-owned property on the banks of the River Dart is as much a star of the show as David Suchet or any of the supporting cast, which includes Zoe Wanamaker as Ariadne Oliver and Sean Pertwee, Sinead Cusack, Tom Ellis, Martin Jarvis and Sam Kelly.
The pictures were taken by West Country photographer Steve Haywood, ahead of the ITV screening of Dead Man's Folly at 8pm on Wednesday, October 30.
Speaking on the set, David Suchet said: "Having the opportunity to film here at Greenway has been truly wonderful and a memory I will cherish.
"I especially enjoyed it because it took me right back to 1987 when I first met Agatha Christie's family when they invited me down here to Greenway."
The National Trust took the unusual decision to stay open during the filming, despite expecting around 800 visitors a day to the property.
Greenway visitor experience manager Belinda Smith said: "Coming across Hercule Poirot peering around the bushes, while idly wandering around our mysterious gardens at Greenway, certainly gave our visitors a little thrill.
"It was quite a circus. The whole operation was amazing to behold, with all the hair, make-up, wardrobe and catering.
"I think visitors were thoroughly enthralled and the wonderful work of our volunteers ensured there was minimal disruption and that visitors' experience was enhanced."
Greenway was chosen as the backdrop for Dead Man's Folly because its interior evokes the 1950s era in which the story is set.
The house at the centre of the mystery was inspired by the Devon property beloved of Agatha Christie and her family and the grounds include a boathouse similar to one in which a body is found.
"We were blessed with gorgeous dry weather for the whole six days, so for the cast and crew it was also a pleasant working experience," said Belinda. "Having them here for the filming of the final programme was a great honour but also a little sad to think it is the end of an era."
Belinda was also able to reveal that the very last scene of the very last Poirot episode will see David Suchet walking towards the waterside house that Agatha Christie came to regard as her "spiritual home".
"We can't wait to see how beautiful Greenway looks in the scenes and we'll all be glued to the television that night," she added.
The National Trust's Greenway, which contains many of Agatha Christie's family's collections, including archaeology, silver, china and books, is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10.30am to 5pm until November 3, and also December 27 to 31 from 11am to 4pm. For details, visit nationaltrust.org.uk/greenway