Poirot actor Sir David Suchet surprised and delighted staff at Braunston Marina by sailing in with his wife on their narrowboat.
The TV detective has agreed to join other celebrities for the opening of Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally.
Marina director Tim Coghlan said: “We were surprised and delighted to receive an unexpected visit from Sir David and Lady Suchet. They were on their narrowboat, and arrived late on a sunny afternoon, asking to stay the night in the marina.
"They were accompanied by friends on their own narrowboat. The pair of boats were moored breasted-up in the Old Oxford Arm, near the marina entrance with its famous iron bridge.”
Tim enjoyed a drink with Sir David and his friends.
"I was invited to join them for a glass – or was it two? – of fine wine,” he said.
"From the galley, delicious canapés suddenly appeared. Après boating at its best, I thought.”
Just before the Covid pandemic, the Suchet’s had acquired a modern cruising narrowboat. They had now decided to take a summer-sabbatical away from acting, after Sir David’s exhausting one plus one-man theatre show.
Called Poirot And More: A Retrospective, David’s main objective was to use his name to get theatres reopened.
Tim added: “The show proved a great success, as I saw for myself, on January 22, when my wife and I attended the last matinee performance at London’s Ambassador Theatre. David was at his very best, especially when he reminisced about his early days of penniless-acting in the early 1970s, when he and Sheila lived on their then narrowboat Prima Donna. On that narrowboat, they toured round London and the Midlands to where their work took them – Sheila was then still an actress, and they had met when both were working as young actors at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry.
“By chance, earlier that very day I had received the latest newsletter from the Litchfield & Hatherton Canal Society - of which David is Patron - and it included his latest appeal for more funds to clear yet another obstacle in the way of that canal’s restoration. I told him that the L&H had already booked a stand for our Rally – they have never missed one - and he could use the occasion to promote its latest cause. And if he came, Braunston Marina would donate £1,000 to the fighting fund.”
David and Sheila were already aware that the rally would be opened by actor and canal enthusiasts Timothy West and Prunella Scales, with legendary musician and steam enthusiast Pete Waterman following behind on the steam narrowboat Adamant.
"I suggested that he and Sheila joined the opening parade coming in ‘third’ on the Narrow Boat Trust’s pair Nuneaton & Brighton of which I am Patron,” Tim said.
"David said he was always happy to play a supporting role when the money was good enough.”
After the parade, the formal cheque presentation will be made to David and Sheila on the L&H stand. David has also offered to allow people to take selfies of themselves with him.
He will charge £10 a photo to help L&H David Suchet Appeal.