ACTOR David Suchet – who has landed a CBE – has played characters as wide-ranging from Cardinal Wolsey to disgraced media mogul Robert Maxwell but will forever be remembered for his portrayal of a moustachioed Belgian.
The 64-year-old actor has portrayed Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot since 1989, most recently in Murder On The Orient Express screened on Christmas Day.
Suchet – who has starred in 65 Poirot outings with a final series to be screened next year – is honoured for his services to drama.
The Wellington School-educated star plumped for an acting career in his teens and joined the National Youth Theatre before training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
He picked up theatre work – meeting his wife Sheila Ferris while performing in Coventry – and small television parts before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1973.
Leading TV roles flourished in the 1980s with a major role in the landmark series Oppenheimer and a central as Blott in an adaptation of Tom Sharpe's comic novel Blott On The Landscape.
His first screen brush with Poirot was in Thirteen At Dinner, playing Inspector Japp to Peter Ustinov's portrayal of the main character in a 1985 TV movie adaptation of the Christie mystery Lord Edgeware Dies.
But on the recommendation of Christie's family, Suchet himself went on to be cast as Poirot when ITV began its dramatisations, the first of which, The Adventure Of The Clapham Cook, was screened in January 1989.
Despite his commitment to the detective stories, he has continued to take dozens of film, stage and TV roles, notably playing Wolsey in ITV's Henry VIII and Robert Maxwell in a TV dramatisation of his downfall.
Suchet, whose brother John is well-known for his many years as an ITN newsreader, has been nominated for Olivier and Tony Awards for his stage work, particularly his portrayal of Antonio Salieri in Peter Shaffer's Amadeus.