David Suchet on the Orient-Express - Sunday 19th December 2010 21.00-22.00 ITV1
“I am on a journey of a lifetime. I’m travelling across Europe, in the footsteps of Agatha Christie’s Poirot, on the Orient-Express. But this is not just a train ride – I’m on a journey through time. And the Orient-Express is not just a train – it’s a legend.”
8th December 2010 - David Suchet boards the world's most iconic train to unravel the mystery of the Orient-Express for a brand new ITV1 documentary. ‘David Suchet on the Orient-Express’ features the actor immersing himself in the romance and escapism of a train immortalised in the Agatha Christie novel, Murder On the Orient Express, whose protagonist, detective Hercule Poirot, David has so memorably portrayed on screen. David resolves to uncover why the Orient-Express has been the world’s most talked about train for over a century and why Agatha Christie, the world’s most celebrated crime author chose the train for her most ingenious murder mystery. On a journey that takes him from London Victoria, through Austria and Switzerland to Venice and finally to Prague, David experiences the glamour, history and luxury of the train, while making new friends along the way.
David initially sets off on the original vintage British Pullman train from London Victoria. He then boards the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express in Calais before embarking on a trip taking in several countries across the continent, as the train travels through stunning scenery and alluring locations, including Venice and Prague. Along the way he discovers some of the extraordinary real life dramas the train has witnessed and realises a schoolboy dream when he is allowed to drive the train.
David meets the train's staff to discover how they keep the train on track and mingles with his fellow passengers to experience the ups and downs of 1920’s style luxury, as 21st century travellers sacrifice speed and space for charm and elegance.
The documentary draws on archive material to conjure up the rich history surrounding the Orient-Express, from its inaugural 'Express d'Orient' journey across Europe on October 4th 1883, its glamorous heyday in the early 20th century when it was a magnet for royalty as well as spies including Mata Hari and Robert Baden Powell, to its fascinating role in both World Wars. David also traces its post-war decline, describing how competition from cheap air travel led to its closure in the late 1970’s before its current revival.
The documentary also touches on the incident in 1929 that inspired Agatha Christie to write her classic whodunit, Murder On the Orient Express, when the train was stuck in a snow drift for 10 days carrying a full complement of passengers who survived only with the assistance of nearby Turkish villagers. The story made front page news, captivating the public across Europe, including the author. Finally, David reflects on how his own family's journey from their origins in Eastern Europe is intertwined with the rail route across the continent that carried the Orient Express.
The hour-long documentary airs on Sunday 19th December 2010, 9:00PM - 10:00PM on ITV1 and will be repeated on http://www.itv.com/itvplayer/
For more information about the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, please visit www.vsoe.com or call 0845 077 22 22.
Notes to Editor
Orient-Express, (NYSE: OEH, www.orient-express.com) the name behind an elite collection of travel experiences, first came into being in 1883 as one of the world’s most exciting and indulgent train journeys. Today that evocative name also embraces hotels, cruises and other luxury rail adventures in 24 countries, across five continents. The Company has offered exceptional luxury travel experiences since 1976, when it first purchased Hotel Cipriani in Venice and then shortly afterwards, recreated the celebrated Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, linking London, Paris and Venice, along with other European cities. Today, the company owns or part-owns and manages 50 businesses, 41 of which are highly acclaimed hotels, each unique in style, from the Mount Nelson in Cape Town and Rio’s Copacabana Palace, to the Grand Hotel Europe in St. Petersburg and Maroma Resort & Spa on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. There are six luxury tourist trains, two river cruise operations and ‘21’, one of New York’s most iconic restaurants.