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David Suchet: ‘Keeping fit will hopefully give me 10 more years of life as an actor’

At 73, TV’s Poirot chats to Hannah Stephenson about how he hopes his fitness regime and will lengthen his career. An active retirement lifestyle is a key to maintaining health and quality of life.

For 25 years, he played Agatha Christie’s famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot – and since leaving the role, David Suchet has shown no signs of slowing down.

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The 73-year-old actor, who has been married for 43 years to his wife, Sheila, who he met in 1972 when they were both working in a theatre company in Coventry, reckons he wouldn’t have had such a successful career without her unwavering support.

Suchet says he couldn't have had such a successful acting career without his wife, Sheila (David Suchet/PA)

He recalls in his memoir, Behind The Lens, that it was love at first sight. They have two children, Robert and Katherine, and three grandchildren.

Suchet’s son, Robert, a personal fitness trainer in Bath, has put his parents through their paces fitness-wise and the actor now takes his wellbeing extremely seriously.

So, how did you get into a fitness regime?

“Robert has two big gyms in Bath and I was working out with him in class and talking about the importance of fitness.”

How often do you go to the gym?

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“I try to go to my gym in London two or three times a week and try to keep as fit as I possibly can, not just for myself, but also because my body and my mind and my voice is my instrument, through which I work.

“I want to be as fit as I possibly can. Keeping fit will hopefully give me 10 more years of life as an actor.”

What about diet?

“I try to be careful about what I eat. I’m not as disciplined as I would like, but I do my best.”

Does your wife Sheila get involved in fitness?

David and his wife Sheila do fitness classes together (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“Yes, we’re trying to do our best. We go to the gym together and we stretch out in the morning together and we try to give each other encouragement.

“I meditate with my wife most mornings. It’s a wonderful start to the day to start calm, with an empty slate.”

Of course, you are a grandfather now, another incentive for staying fit and healthy.

“I am, I have three grandchildren – a grandson, coming up for six, a granddaughter who is nearly three and another who was born on July 4 in Sydney. I hope that I’m given a long enough life so that they will be able to remember me with love and fondness.

“I try to get to Bath (where the two older grandchildren live) every three weeks.”

Do you worry about getting older?

He tries not to worry about getting older (David Suchet/PA)

“It’s something we all have to face. Do I worry about it? No. Am I aware that this is happening? Oh, yes. Am I enjoying growing older? No. But I’m trying to grow older gracefully. Everybody has aches and pains at my age and it’s part of where we are in our life.

“I try to accept them rather than fight them.”


Behind The Lens by David Suchet is published by Constable, priced £25. Available now.

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