David Suchet has said he feels “full of gratitude” after receiving a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

The actor, best known for playing Hercule Poirot in the long-running Agatha Christie detective series, has had a career spanning 50 years.

He has been recognised for services to drama and charity.

Suchet said: “I feel so very honoured, privileged and full of gratitude to the Queen, my country and my profession.”

Born in London in 1946, he joined the National Youth Theatre at the age of 16 and later trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).

His career began in the theatre at the Watermill in Bagnor, Berkshire, before he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1973.

David Suchet with the Queen in 1999
David Suchet with the Queen in 1999 (John Stillwell/PA)

His first television role came in 1970 in The Mating Machine and in 1980, he played Edward Teller, later developer of the US H-bomb, in a mini-series about the US Manhattan Project, Oppenheimer.

He portrayed Sigmund Freud in the BBC mini-series Freud in 1984 before he first appeared as moustachioed detective Poirot in Agatha Christie’s Poirot on ITV in 1989 and received international acclaim, reprising the role over 70 episodes until 2013.

His interpretation of the Belgian super-sleuth is considered by many to be the definitive one and in his book, Poirot And Me, he mentions that Sir Peter Ustinov (who also famously played Poirot) once told him that he would be good at taking on the role.

David Suchet
David Suchet signing books (Philip Toscano/PA)

Suchet received the RTS and BPG awards for his performance as Augustus Melmotte in the adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now.

Most recently he has appeared in the BBC dramas Press and Doctor Who and in the adaptation of the Philip Pullman novels His Dark Materials.

On stage, he played opposite Dame Diana Rigg in the West End production of Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? in 1996 and played Salieri from 1998 to 2000 in the Broadway production Amadeus.

The Last Confession photocall – London
David Suchet as Cardinal Bellini in The Last Confession at the Theatre Royal Haymarket (Ian West/PA)

He also starred as Cardinal Benelli in The Last Confession, about the death of Pope John Paul I.

He was given a CBE in 2011 for services to drama.