Thursday, 17 October 2013

First promotional photos from 'The Labours of Hercules'!

(UPDATE 21/10/13: We have a press release and air date - 6 November, 8 pm!)

Here are the first promotional photos for The Labours of Hercules. Image source: ETomlinsonCom on Twitter, www.eleanor-tomlinson.com/thumbnails.php?album=110. Photos linked to their source. Copyright ITV. This particular episode is still a mystery in every sense of the word; very little is known about how this collection of short stories will be adapted into one episode. Any thoughts after seeing these photos?

49 comments:

  1. The one with the glasses is Simon Callow. It's not known who he is playing. I'm not quite sure, but the women behind Suchet on the left could be Orla Brady (Countess Rossakov), The one behind her with the white jacket must be Tom Chadbon (Dr.Burton).
    Diana

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  2. Hi Diana! I think you're absolutely right about Brady. It certainly looks like her. The one in the white jacket is Nigel Lindsay, who is playing a character called Fransceco (I'm not sure where that character comes from).

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  3. Orla Brady (The countess) is right below the guy with the white apron/suit. It looks like they aged her up with the make- up, perhaps to keep with the appearance from the old adaptation (Kika Marham). I still believe this is the best possible casting they could have done, the resemblance is 101%.

    As for the story itself, I don't have very high hopes, I guess there will be a lot of creative changes, which may not be liked by the up-tight, die- hard Poirot fans. As for me, two hours of good entertaining TV in Christie's spirit would work, so that's what I would like to see :)

    Evgre

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    1. Good, that's what I thought. Yes, she's remarkably similar isn't she? After the initial shock of the recast in May, I'm now convinced she'll be perfect for the part. I don't have too high hopes for the story either, I'm just very curious to see how they have made it work! Not expecting 'faithful' in any sense of the word, I just hope it makes sense as a unified story :)

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    2. I think I'm more interested in their keeping continuity with the series thus far than in their staying true to the books. You probably know that the Countess does have a child in the books - we first learn of this when Poirot uses rescuing the child as a bargaining chip to secure the Countess's cooperation in The Big Four. There is no reference to the child, a boy known as Niki, looking anything like Poirot, but some fans speculate that he is Poirot's son. In the story The Capture of Cerberus he has a fiance named Alice. This adaptation appears to have combined the two and made Alice the Countess's daughter. I'll be interested to see what they have to say about Alice's paternity. (Since I'm pretty sure she didn't exist at the time of Double Clue.)

      I'd be the first to admit that an actual...physical relationship...doesn't seem in character for the Poirot we know. But notice that Hastings does say, in the Double Clue "we haven't seen him for three days." Implying a LOT of time spent with the Countess.

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  4. I'm so curious about this one, for a start how on earth will the title make sense?

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    1. It's certainly a mystery. If what Tom Hutchinson, the script editor, seemed to suggest on Twitter is correct (that all the labours had been included bar one that is only referred to), then the title will make sense in the end. But how (if it's true) they've managed to include all 12 (plus Lemesurier) in 89 minutes is beyond me.

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    2. I think Lemesurier was folded into "Elephants Can Remember."

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    3. I can't remember anything in elephants that was like the lemesurier inheritance, it is very much like "The Cretan Bull" though.

      I just can't wait to see what they've done with it, It will take a good writer to make this a coherent 90 minute film.

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    4. "Elephants," like "LeMesurier," does deal with madness affecting a family, but what was in the adaptation was already in the novel. The only major addition was the Willoughby subplot, and that bears no resemblance to "LeMesurier."

      I'm fairly confident "LeMesurier" was folded into "Labours," and I agree with Danny that it was probably combined with "The Cretan Bull." To what extent we don't know yet. All we know is that there's a character in the episode named Lucinda Mesuriers, but exactly what her role is won't be known until a press pack or until the episode is aired. In fact, we know very little about this episode in general, so all we can do for the next few weeks is speculate!

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    5. Yes, I agree with Danny and Tom that "Lemesurier" has probably been combined with "The Cretan Bull" as part of "Labours". It would surprise me if "Elephants" was the only "Lemesurier" reference (if so, I would have expected the actual case to have been referenced somehow, e.g. "I remember a similar case"). We'll see :)

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    6. I read an article somewhere that said "Lemesurier" had been folded into "Elephants," but it may have gotten it wrong.

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    7. Oh, okay. I read another article that said it would be folded into "Labours". In any case, I don't expect much of a reference. We'll know in a couple of weeks :)

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    8. http://www.itv.com/presscentre/ep4week45/agatha-christies-poirot-labours-hercules#.UmVF_fkm5Ap There's a synopsis and air date here.

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  5. Photos from 'Dead Man's Folly'

    http://www.thisisdevon.co.uk/Star-billing-Greenway-Suchet-dons-Poirot-s-hat/story-19955298-detail/story.html#

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    1. Yes, I've seen them! Great photos! I hope we get some HQ versions at some point :)

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  6. Have never read the book (shame on me) but based on the synopsis it looks like a lot would be going on in this adaptation. Just hope it won't be too contrived and absurd, but it would be logically composed. Can't wait!
    Also like the fact that they're treating it as a penultimate episode, thus perhaps setting the "Curtain" in full- motion.

    Just few more hours, and the last 4 will start airing :)))
    Evgre

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    1. The book is really 12 short stories, Each one has a different setting, cast of characters and location.
      They are only loosely connected becuase Poirot decides he wants to do the 12 labours like Hercules before he retires.

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    2. Yeah I know the premise, just it didn;t happen so far to stumble upon it. Planing to change this very soon. :)

      My point was that it will be indeed a very busy adaptation, if it is to cover all 12. Perhaps some of them will be in present (during the denouement) while few would be sort of reference cases from the past :)

      Evgre

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    3. It will be a really busy adaptation! There's very little that links these stories together in their original form (apart from the whole 'labours' idea). I get the impression, based on the press release, that the mythological aspect will be played down (there's no mention of Poirot setting out to solve cases in the style of Hercules). In its place there seems to be a very Christie-esque 'locked room mystery' premise. It will certainly be interesting to see what (if anything) will be shown in flashbacks and what will be present time. What I'm most concerned about, however, is the mention that it's been 20 years since Poirot and the Countess met for the first time. There are references in 'The Double Clue' to Hitler and Stalin, so it can't be set much later than the early 1930s. I'm assuming "Labours" will be set in the late 1930s, so that's harly 20 years....Hm.

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    4. Oh yes! I saw the 20 years mention and hope it is a mistake, as of that the character Countess Vera Rousakoff hasn't been present in adaptations since the 90s, but not that Poirot and her haven't met on screen for 20 years, because that will totally screw all the timelines so far, and it will be quite the let down only one adaptation before the end to have such unreasonable timing.

      Let's hope its a mistake :S

      Evgre

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    5. Yes, I'll be very disappointed if they say it's been 20 years! (Don't they have people checking for continuity errors? They should have, that's for sure!). We've had to ignore some continuity errors in the past, but this would be very dificult to work around (in terms of timelines). Still, they haven't been too specific in the last couple of series, so I hope it's a very vague reference (if any). In any case, they are likely to mess up with 'Curtain', if it's set in the late 1940s (unless they have found a way to explain how Hastings can have a daughter in her early twenties when he only met Bella in 1936).

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    6. I think actually that so far both Elephants and Four are well set in specific years onscreen (ref. your other blog :D) and also what I wrote earlier, there is a feeling of building up towards the end, due to the fact its the last stories and season indeed. So, while in the previous years the airing order wasn't that much of a deal, I have the feeling, this time they are quite specific about the time frames and references of the adaptations.

      Of course in two weeks time all this will be resolved :)

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    7. You're absolutely right, Evgre. I think that was just wishful thinking on my part. On the whole, though, I'm glad they finally seem to be taking references and framing (almost) seriously ;)

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    8. Even in The Double Clue, time is a bit of an issue, because the Countess has JUST arrived from Russia. I think we actually see her arrive. If she really is an aristocrat, then, obviously, Russia may not be a safe place for her to live anymore...but you would think in that case she would have fled when the revolution first happened. Remember in How Does Your Garden Grow, poor Katrina doesn't feel safe even in England, and hides her background (even though aristocracy is something to be proud of in England.)

      Then again, the Countess getting invited to so many parties contradicts her just having arrived in the country, too.

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  7. :)
    "Desperate to catch infamous art thief Marrascaud, the Metropolitan Police build what they imagine is a perfect trap. The Le Mesurier family is to announce the society debut of their beautiful daughter Lucinda (Lorna Nickson Brown), who will be wearing an exceptionally expensive diamond necklace. On display will be ‘Hercules Vanquishing the Hydra’, a priceless work by Marrascaud’s favourite artist Van Druys. Last but not least, the great Hercule Poirot (David Suchet) will be in attendance. "

    The EPK
    http://www.itv.com/presscentre/ep4week45/agatha-christies-poirot-labours-hercules#.UmVbeHmirDQ

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    1. This adaptation will be Very Very busy, i can't wait to watch it.

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    2. A very busy adaptation indeed! Can't wait to see how they have made it work!

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    3. Since I've read most of the books, I often don't worry about spoilers...but I probably should because there tend to be a lot of changes. And I am trying to avoid them on this one, because really, having read the book probably tells me nothing.

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    4. Really, the Le Mesurier family going along with this just boggles the mind!

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  8. i doubt that it will be good fun in 89 minutes!

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    1. I'm not expecting too much, but I'm very curious to see what they've done, and I'm prepared to accept a lot of changes if the episode works as a whole :)

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  9. I am going a little crazy because, here in the US, Labours has not been broadcast and is not scheduled. Folly was last night, Big Four last week - and Elephants and Curtain I am not so impatient for. The final five will be offered for sale on Amazon...in November! I really want to discuss here but I don't want to be "spoiled." I already saw, though, that they basically combined the characters of Niki and Alice so that Alice is the Countess's daughter. She pretty clearly didn't have a daughter in tow in Double Clue. Unless Alice was somewhere else with her father? Or hadn't escaped Russia yet? Niki the Countess's son comes out of the blue in Big Four, too. We never hear of him until he is needed as a bargaining chip. (Some people think he is Poirot's son!) Now, the Countess could have had a husband in Russia (Count Rossakoff?) and he could have been killed in the revolution or died some other way before her emigration. But Niki is a young boy (I think) in Big Four.

    Actually, there is a lack of continuity between the Countess stories, in that her interaction with Poirot in the Double Clue is pretty minimal...and yet in later stories sort of refer to (or at least imply) a past friendship...and in Labours, the fact of her being on the enemy's side is completely forgotten...did she and Poirot plot together to bring down the Big Four, unbeknownst even to Hastings?

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    1. Yes, I don't envy you that bizarre schedule for S13 US broadcast and release. You could get hold of the episodes via the subscription service Acorn TV, though. In terms of continuity and chronology, Alice being Vera's daughter doesn't make sense at all (I won't go into the details until you've seen the episode).

      Ha! I like that theory! It certainly seems possible that they met on occasions unbeknownst to Hastings, that would explain their heartfelt reunion in Labours at least.

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    2. Don't forget the time in Big Four when Poirot was faking his death and Hastings didn't know where he was.

      Poirot does say in Cerberus that it had been 20 years since he last saw the Countess. That would line up with the date of Big Four and imply he hasn't seen her since. But there are a few strong hints that they've been in each other's company more than we've seen. Note Poirot's exchange with Alice, (the shrink), who puts forth the theory that Vera steals because her life has been safe and dull and she craves drama (!)(?). Poirot says, "But her life surely cannot have been safe and dull as a member of the ancien' regime during the Russian revolution?" Alice looks at him cynically and says, "Is that what she told you?"

      "She is undeniably and aristocrat," said Poirot staunchly, FIGHTING BACK CERTAIN UNEASY MEMORIES OF THE WILDLY VARYING ACCOUNTS OF HER EARLY LIFE TOLD HIM BY THE COUNTESS HERSELF." (Sorry about the caps but I can't use bold or italics here.)


      This from Hercule Poirot, who claims he never believes what anyone tells him!? But - when did the Countess tell Poirot those stories? We didn't see it happen when they meet in either Double Clue (the story) or the The Big Four (novel.) In both cases, of course, we saw them together through Hastings' eyes.

      On the other hand, it would have been possible for her to tell him things about her background during their "dates" in ITV's Double Clue. So someone who read Labours and saw the series, but never read the original Double Clue story, could be excused for thinking that their courtship in ITV is canon.

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    3. And I don't know if Christie was being deliberately ironic when she chose "Vera" (veracity?) as the Countess' first name or if she was just a little limited in her knowledge of Russian names.

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    4. Re: My theory above...do you notice that every time that Countess appears in Big Four she is actually aiding and abetting the rescue of one of the "good guys." First Halliday (though his getting away is apparently not a big setback for the Big Four, as Madame O already has Halliday's research - and it is even possible that the Countess and Poirot joined forces AFTER that point.) Then the Countess pleads with the Big Four to spare Hastings' life (page 183), and then, of course, the ending (and we know from what Poirot says that she didn't die in the explosion but we don't know what becomes of her.)

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    5. The line in Mesopotamia "She'll settle up the next time she sees you," at least foreshadows the character returning, but to me, it implies they've been meeting on occasion (because of the assumption that there will be a "next time.") The end of Double Clue doesn't leave much hope they'll ever see each other again!

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  10. In the Lord Edgware adaptation, there is dialogue about how Poirot seems to be "into" Jane, and that he could still find the right woman. I felt like the episode was written by someone who hadn't seen Double Clue. I was afraid that they would include the Countess in Big Four or Labours...and have her and Poirot be meeting for the first time.

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    1. Yes, the bizarre thing about that is that both episodes were written by the same script writer; Anthony Horowitz. So unless he had short term memory loss at the time (which I very much doubt, he is an excellent script writer and author in his own right) it must have been intentional.

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  11. Oh, and in the 2002 Orient Express starring Alfred Molina, Poirot takes the Orient Express home after visiting Vera in (I think) Istanbul, where she seems to be operating a nightclub in a likely nod to Labours. They very much have a...relationship...and she says, "If the world famous detective marries the never-quite-reformed jewel thief, think what fun you will have trying to catch me." That actress is flamboyant and lively but (should have been) way too young for Poirot!

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  12. Vera is probably not aristocratic in this one, (he calls her "Vera" with no mention of a title) but she either sings in or runs a nightclub (and is a "never quite reformed jewel thief" in her own words). This exchange Poirot has with his friend Bouc seems to tip the hat to the Double Clue adaptation, especially the mention of being opposites:

    Wolfgang Bouc: Poirot?

    Hercule Poirot: [distracted] oh, forgive me. My mind was temporarily elsewhere.

    Wolfgang Bouc: It's a woman, isn't it?

    Hercule Poirot: Regretably, yes.

    [sighs]

    Hercule Poirot: We are such opposites, Vera and I. She's flamboyant and beautiful; I'm reserved and homely. She'a a thief; I'm a detective.

    [They laugh]

    Hercule Poirot: The only thing we have in common is the refusal to let the other rule oor life... but I cannot stop her from ruling my thoughts.


    Now, purists will be appalled at the movie. To give you an idea of how updated it is, Poirot Googles suspects! But I am glad, if they had to give Poirot a love interest, they actually DID tip their hats to the one in the books.

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  13. I will be interested to see the Countess become a suspect in a robbery-murder combination (the jewel is stolen and the wearer is killed). I can see Poirot or someone else who knows the Countess's "history" thinking it could be her because of the robbery - but I can also see Poirot rationalizing that it's not her MO.

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  14. In the stories where she appears, particularly in The Big Four, the Countess calls Poirot, and refers to him as, "little man." Even leaving aside the modern double entendre that that invokes, it doesn't seem very flattering, particularly coming from a woman he's attracted to...seems more maternal than amorous.

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About Me

I'm a passionate fan of Poirot, Agatha Christie and the ITV series. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions or requests, please e-mail me at poirotchronology@gmail.com, post a comment on one of my blogs, or get in touch on Twitter @pchronology. (I used to call myself HickoryDickory)