The Belgian who lost the limelight

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It was a bitter-sweet day for David Suchet yesterday, when he won a prestigious best-actor award, but revealed that his much-loved characterisation of Hercule Poirot had been given the chop.

For once the Belgian detective was outflanked, after ITV executives ruled that the moustachioed crimebuster had had his day.

Suchet, 50, whose interpretation of the fastidious detective in Poirot still earns him 100 fan letters a week, said: "I love him. I would love to carry on playing him. I wish I was, but it looks as though the curtain has come down on that."

He added: "I think Poirot is such an easy man to live with, and I like his quirks, I like his fastidiousness and his little eccentricities. I never get bored with him at all."

The makers of Poirot, LWT, confirmed yesterday that it would come to an end after the sixth series, which has already been filmed, is shown. It is expected to go out later this year. The actor revealed the news on the day he took the London Theatre Critics' Award for best actor.

Marianne Macdonald