Tuesday, 5 November 2013


The edition of the Poirot series shown on ITV at the end of last month was a special one in that the location used for the filming was the real-life holiday home of Agatha Christie, whose work the series is based on.  Greenway House provided the inspiration for the original story Dead Man's Folly as well as a perfect setting for the filming.  The episode was also a sad one for David Suchet, the actor who has played Poirot for the last 24 years, as it involved him being filmed as Poirot for the last time, although two more episodes would be shown following this one.  The makers of the series decided that it would be appropriate for Suchet's final piece of filming as Poirot to take place in the Christie home, hence the timing.  In a recent interview, Suchet revealed that he was looking for a way to imitate the mincing gait of Poirot as described by Agatha Christie, and he ended up nicking a tried and tested technique of Laurence Olivier's: walking with a coin clenched between his buttocks.

In Dead Man's Folly, Greenway House plays the part of Nasse House, recently taken over by a wealthy couple.  A fete is being held at the house, and as part of the festivities a murder hunt is being organised by famous author Ariadne Oliver (Zoe Wannamaker).  However, Oliver has her suspicions about some of the people attending the event, and begins to fear that a real-life murder might take place, so she invites Poirot to the house just in case.  Needless to say a murder does take place...but I'll leave it there in case anyone reading this has not watched the episode yet. 

Greenway House, built on a site originally occupied by a Tudor mansion, lies in an elevated position in an idyllic spot overlooking the east bank of the River Dart in South Devon.  The house itself is ravishing, with its elegant, classic exteriors in a tasteful shade of cream, beautifully set off by the green of the equally exquisite grounds.  Agatha Christie and her husband Max Mallowan bought the house in 1938, and they used it as a holiday home until their respective deaths, which occurred within the space of two years in the 1970s.  During World War II the house was requisitioned by the US military for the D-Day preparations.  The house is filled with reminders of the couple's time there, including the Steinway piano Agatha used to play and artefacts brought back from the Middle East by her husband, who was into archaeology.  The gardens slope towards the banks of the river and are filled with plants such as camellias and rhododendrons.  The property is now owned and operated by the National Trust.  The nicest way to arrive at the house is by taking the Greenway Ferry from Dartmouth, Totnes, Brixham or Torquay.

Map of the area. 

Front of Greenway House

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