There’s increasing interest in the fate of a life-size gorilla painted to look like Agatha Christie famous detective, Hercule Poirot. A

He is one of the star lots in a grand charity auction that takes place on Wednesday 6th November.

Poirot was created as part of The Great Gorillas Project, marking Paignton Zoo’s 90th birthday. Paignton Zoo spokesperson Phil Knowling said: “The question now is not so much “Whodunnit?” as “Whowillbuyit?”

The dapper gorilla is wearing a smart blue jacket and comes complete with spats, pince-nez and wing collar. Poirot was on display in the window of Hoopers department store, on The Strand in Torquay, throughout the summer.

“People are asking how much Poirot is likely to make. It’s impossible to tell with an auction, but we think he is one of the gorillas that people will really want to get their hands on.”

It’s thought that interest in Poirot will be high, with another successful Agatha Christie Festival just over and ITV preparing to show the last ever episode of Poirot.

He was made by students at South Devon College, who were inspired by Torquay’s literary tradition. They paid homage to local author Agatha Christie by recreating her iconic Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, in gorilla form.

Art degree student Becks Blackman came up with the idea, which was chosen from nearly a hundred entries. Students from the Foundation and BTEC Art (16-19) course worked on the design, led by tutor Liz Tucker. The design and painting took a month. They took their cue from actor David Suchet’s portrayal of Poirot in the popular television drama series.

The Zoo, a registered charity, is holding the auction on Wednesday 6th November at the Palace Theatre, Paignton, starting at 6.30pm. Most of the large sculptures will be up for auction. The ticket-only event will be led by auctioneer Robin Barlow. To register your interest in the auction, go to or telephone 01803 697509.

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