“We filmed in the Circus Maximus and my part was to talk about how the fire of Rome started. Although the final clip used is very short it took hours to film. We were plagued by police sirens, screeching car brakes, helicopters flying overhead and people straying into shot. It was freezing cold even though the sun was shining!”

This is the second time Valerie has filmed with David Suchet and this film crew. A few years years ago they came to Rome to film ‘In the Footsteps of St Paul’. That also was a memorable experience:

“During a break in the filming of St Paul, David told me that this film was very much a personal project for him because he had discovered his own spirituality relatively late in life and St Paul had been very influential for him. At that time he did not want to bring his own experiences into the filming, but I noticed that this time around, when we did St Peter, he was much more open about it.

When we shot ‘In the Footsteps of St Paul’, David was still filming the Poirot series, for which he is most famous. He told me that the series was finishing and in fact he had already filmed the death of Poirot because he felt that it would be too traumatic for the last scene to be filmed to be the death of the character, so they filmed it early. Of course I had to keep quiet about it until it was officially announced, so the only person I told was my colleague Prof Kathleen Fitzsimmons because I knew she was a big fan of the series, but she was sworn to secrecy!”