Details

Produced in 1991 by London Weekend Television (LWK), UK and Picture Partnership Productions, filmed in England, directed by Renny Rye, based on the novels by Agatha Christie. Poirot is a British TV series starring David Suchet as Christie's famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. This episode is from the 3rd series. Nat plays Chris Davidson, a radio actor.

 

 


Plot Summary

Poirot attends a "Victory Ball". Among the guests the most noticeable and and extravagant are three couples: Coco, a famous local radio actress and her boyfriend, a radio producer; his uncle and an American heiress; and Chris Davidson (Nat), a small time radio actor, and his wife. They're dressed as characters from the French Comédie de l'art: Harlequin and Columbine (Coco and her boyfriend), Punchinello and Punchinella (the older couple), and Pierrot and Pierrette (Chris Davidson and his wife). All of this costume business is predictably relevant for a Christie story and costume mix-up plays heavily into the mystery's solution. For at the Victory Ball one of the sextet - Harlequin - is murdered. As Poirot digs deeper into the mystery it turns out that cocaine, china figurines and a missing costume pom-pom all provide important clues as to the murderer and his motive.

General Review

This is typical Poirot episode - which may or may not be your cup of tea. The series to me can at times feel a bit dated and the mysteries a little "quaint". On the other hand, that is probably because I have watched them all on A&E repeatedly. In this episode they never give you all the clues you need to solve the mystery until the end, of course, when Poirot reveals how smart he is. Nevertheless, you can guess who the killer is fairly early on just by the way they're showcasing the actors. This is a fun episode because of the costumes and the Harlequin/Pierrot figurines, though the characters are almost to a man obnoxious (I love the way British TV plays 'Americans' as being so crass - too funny!). The denouement scene is a particularly memorable one thanks to the 'radio drama' aspect of it (Poirot does it over the air) and the costumed stand-ins. The 'big got cha' at the very end is cliché (the killer was left-handed!) but then that's part and parcel of enjoying this type of period mystery.

Nat Review

Nathaniel is, of course, the main reason why those of you who are on this page will be watching this program. He has more air time in this show than he had in the "Inspector Morse" episode he was in, and his character is a little sleazy with a nice dark edge. His hair is slicked back and he's clean shaven, doing that pompous Brit thing. Probably not a unique enough role for him to be worth buying the seven tape set, but if you can find it at your video shop, it's worth a rental.

Trivia

Nat has appeared on Inspector Morse, Poirot and A Touch of Frost, three British TV mystery series.

Status

The series has just recently been published on DVD. You might be forced to purchase it as a double feature: The Affair at the Victory Ball and The Mystery of Hunter's Lodge.

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