Sir David Suchet says being knighted on stage ‘doesn’t compare’ to real thing

The Poirot star received the honour at Windsor Castle after missing out on the ceremony in December due to catching Covid.

Sophie Wingate
Tuesday 25 January 2022 14:20
Actor Sir David Suchet after receiving his knighthood for services to drama and charity during an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle (Steve Parsons/PA)
Actor Sir David Suchet after receiving his knighthood for services to drama and charity during an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle (Steve Parsons/PA)

Poirot star Sir David Suchet has said receiving his knighthood at Windsor Castle was an “extraordinary feeling” that topped being knighted on stage.

The veteran actor received the honour from the Duke of Cambridge on Tuesday, having missed out on the ceremony in December after testing positive for coronavirus.

Sir David told the PA news agency that it was the “proudest moment” of his life.

Sir David Suchet is knighted by the Duke of Cambridge (Yui Mok/PA)

He said: “I’ve been knighted on stage and it doesn’t compare.

“And no camera is going to say ‘Cut, let’s do a retake’.

“It’s the most extraordinary feeling and it’s very surreal.”

The 75-year-old said it had been special to receive his knighthood, announced in October 2020 as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, from William.

“My OBE was with Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace, my CBE was was Prince Charles.

“And now my knighthood is with the Duke of Cambridge, so I’ve had Her Majesty the Queen and two future kings, which is very humbling indeed and totally unexpected.”

Asked whether the day felt extra special after being postponed from December, he said: “In a very selfish way it does because I was going to share it before and today I’m the only Knight Bachelor, which makes it very special, very intimate for my wife.”

I'm very proud and grateful to have been given a career that has spanned all media

Sir David Suchet

His wife, Sheila Ferris, was by his side during the ceremony.

She said: “I’m afraid I quite embarrassed myself by weeping because it’s just such an emotional feeling.

“I’m just so thrilled, thrilled, thrilled.”

Sir David was recognised for his services to drama and charity after a career spanning more than 50 years.

He is best known for playing moustachioed detective Hercule Poirot in the TV series Agatha Christie’s Poirot.

Asked what he was most proud of in his career, Sir David said: “I think it has to be Poirot for the general public.

“For myself, I’m very proud and grateful to have been given a career that has spanned all media.”

Born in London in 1946, he joined the National Youth Theatre at 16 and later trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (Lamda).

He spent 13 years with the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company and worked in theatre in the West End and around the world.

“I’ve managed to combine film, television, theatre and indeed radio drama,” he said.

He portrayed Sigmund Freud in the BBC mini-series Freud in 1984, before his first appearance as Poirot on ITV in 1989 brought him international acclaim, and he then played the role for more than 70 episodes until 2013.

Sir David Suchet and his wife, Sheila Ferris, after he received his knighthood at Windsor Castle (Steve Parsons/PA)

His interpretation of the Belgian super-sleuth is considered by many to be the definitive one. In his book, Poirot And Me, he mentions that Sir Peter Ustinov, who also famously played the detective, once told him he would be good at taking on the role.

Sir David said his knighthood gives him a chance to “give back and to serve”, including continuing to support the Tuberous Sclerosis Association, a charity close to the couple’s hearts as their grandson has special needs.

He said the proceeds of the Saturday matinee of his West End show, Poirot And More, A Retrospective, were donated to the charity.

Sir David also wants to “go to drama schools and encourage the young” who he said have been dealt a blow by the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s the young people in my industry that have suffered most and it’s to them I’d say have courage and don’t lose confidence,” he said.

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