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British actor David Suchet

in the footsteps of st peter

E Jane Dickson // RadioTimes

David Suchet is¬†a¬†devil for detail. Preparing for his defining role as¬†Hercule Poirot, he¬†built a¬†personal dossier on¬†his character¬†‚ÄĒ every mannerism from the detective‚Äôs mincing walk to¬†his Belgian accent (a¬†shade more guttural than standard French) was rooted in¬†Agatha Christie‚Äôs original text. ‚ÄúAs¬†an¬†actor I‚Äôm fascinated by¬†what makes an¬†individual tick.‚ÄĚ

This week, as presenter of the two-part documentary In the Footsteps of St Peter, the master-researcher turns his profiling skills on the fisherman-apostle who, according to Christian tradition, established the Church of Rome.

On a journey from the quiet shores of Galilee to the gilded splendour of the Vatican, Suchet presents a portrait of St Peter that’s far removed from the usual iconography. We are accustomed to Peter the patriarch, a figure of authority jangling the keys of heaven, but the saint who emerges from Suchet’s research is a vital, impul- sive and conflicted personality.

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photo by Martin Kemp // BBC/CTVC

David Suchet // The Telegraph

A few of weeks ago I was in Rome finishing filming my documentary about the life of Saint Peter. After buying a borsellino at the market, I made my way to the Basilica of Santa Maria del Popolo to see the best image ever painted of the apostle: The Crucifixion of Saint Peter, by Caravaggio.

It was disappointingly dark in the chapel. I’d forgotten you have to put money in a slot machine for the painting to be illuminated. I got a euro out and popped it in, and of course I was so close to the image that when the light went whoosh, I was completely knocked backwards. It moved me to tears.

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‚ÄúFor me the Story of Peter is an epic drama with a strong lead character at its heart ‚ÄĒ a first-century Galilean fisherman turned Pope and ‚Äėrock‚Äô of the Church who straddles 2,000 years of Christianity and Western civilisation.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ David Suchet

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