Agatha Christie hotel to star in TV documentary

Poirot star David Suchet at Harrogate's Old Swan Hotel (S)
Poirot star David Suchet at Harrogate's Old Swan Hotel (S)

A famous event from Harrogate’s history is the star of a TV a documentary set to air this weekend.

“The Mystery of Agatha Christie”, presented by Hercule Poirot actor David Suchet, will go on screens nationwide on Sunday, March 17 at 10pm , on ITV.

The programme will look at the author’s famous disappearance and reapperance at Harrogate’s Old Swan Hotel. It was filmed on location at the hotel over several days.

Pete Vance, Assistant Producer at Testimony Films, said the documentary was a fascinating project to work on: “It has been wonderful to accompany David Suchet on this journey to discover more about Agatha Christie. She is a deeply intriguing person. Visiting places like the Old Swan Hotel which played such an important part in the story of her life has been a fantastic privilege.”

The author disappeared famously in late 1926, when her husband Archie revealed that he was in love with Nancy Neele and wanted a divorce. On December 3 the couple quarrelled, and Archie left their house Styles in Sunningdale, Berkshire, to spend the weekend with his mistress in Surrey.

That same evening Agatha disappeared from her home, leaving behind a letter for her secretary saying she was going to Yorkshire. Her disappearance caused an outcry from the public, many of whom were admirers of her novels. Despite a massive manhunt, she was not found for 10 days. She was identified as guest at the Swan Hydropathic Hotel (now the Old Swan Hotel), registered as Teresa Neele from Cape Town. She never accounted for her disappearance.

Richard Smith, Director of Marketing and Partnerships for the hotel’s owners Classic Lodges, said he believes the hotel’s Christie connection attracts thousands of guests from all over the world every year.

“We have numerous guests visit because of her disappearance, so it was great to host Testimony Films while it produced what is bound to be a very popular show about one of the nation’s darlings,” he added.

The Old Swan will be hosting the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival 2013 from 18 to 21 July, with guest speakers including Kate Atkinson, Charlaine Harris, Susan Hill, Val McDermid, Ruth Rendell and Jeanette Wilson.