Sherlock Holmes (1984 TV series)

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Sherlock Holmes
Series titles over a streetview of Baker Street
Original opening title card. In subsequent series this wording would change.
Created byMichael Cox
StarringJeremy Brett
David Burke
Edward Hardwicke
Charles Gray
Colin Jeavons
Eric Porter
Rosalie Williams
ComposerPatrick Gowers
No. of series9 (including The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, plus 5 feature length specials)
No. of episodes41 (list of episodes)
Production
ProducerITV Granada
Running time50 to 104 minutes
Release
Original networkITV
Original release24 April 1984 (1984-04-24) –
11 April 1994 (1994-04-11)

Sherlock Holmes is the overall title given to the series of Sherlock Holmes adaptations produced by the British television company Granada Television between 1984 and 1994. The first two series were shown under the title The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and were followed by subsequent series with the titles of other short story collections by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Of the 60 Holmes stories written by Doyle, 42 were adapted in the series, spanning 36 one-hour episodes and five feature-length specials. (Episode 40 incorporates the plot lines of both "The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone" and "The Adventure of the Three Garridebs".)

The series was broadcast on the ITV network in the UK and starred Jeremy Brett as Holmes. Watson was played by David Burke in the first series (Adventures) and by Edward Hardwicke from the second series (Return) onwards.[1]

Brett’s portrayal remains very popular and is accepted by many as the definitive on-screen version of Holmes. Watson is portrayed as a competent associate, as in Conan Doyle's stories.

Plot[edit]

In the late Victorian era, Sherlock Holmes is the world's only consulting detective. His practice is largely with private clients, but he is also known to assist the police, often in the shape of Inspector Lestrade, when their cases overlap. His clients range from private citizens of modest means to members of royalty. His ability to spot clues easily overlooked by others, bring certain specialist knowledge — for example chemistry, botany, anatomy – and deductive reasoning to bear on problems enable him to solve the most complex cases. He is assisted in his work by military veteran Dr. John Watson, with whom he shares rooms at 221B Baker Street. He craves mental stimulation, and is known to relapse into depression when there are insufficiently complex cases to engage him.

Cast[edit]

Main[edit]

Supporting[edit]

The role of the servant Joe Barnes who impersonates Lady Beatrice in the 1991 episode The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place was played by Jude Law, who later played Dr. Watson in the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes and its 2011 sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.

Helen Ryan made two guest appearances in the show as different characters, appearing in The Adventure of the Norwood Builder as Mrs McFarlane, and in The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone as the Princess of Wales (a role she previously played in Edward the Seventh).

Episodes[edit]

The programme ran for four series and 41 episodes: 36 ran for 50 minutes, and 5 were feature-length specials.

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes1324 April 1984 (1984-04-24)29 September 1985 (1985-09-29)
The Return of Sherlock Holmes139 July 1986 (1986-07-09)31 August 1988 (1988-08-31)
The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes921 February 1991 (1991-02-21)3 February 1993 (1993-02-03)
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes67 March 1994 (1994-03-07)11 April 1994 (1994-04-11)

Production[edit]

The Baker Street set at Granada Studios

The series was initially produced by Michael Cox, with later episodes produced by June Wyndham Davies. It was developed for television by screenwriter John Hawkesworth, who also wrote many of the episodes (all based on individual Doyle stories). Other writers to adapt Doyle's stories in the series included Alexander Baron, Jeremy Paul, T.R. Bowen, and Alan Plater.

Brett had been approached in February 1982 by Granada to play Holmes. The idea was to make a totally authentic and faithful adaptation of the character's best cases. Eventually Brett accepted the role and was very attentive to discrepancies between the scripts he had been given and Doyle's original stories.

To shoot the series, a full-scale outdoor replica of Baker Street was constructed at Granada's studios in Quay Street, Manchester, which later formed a central part of the Granada Studios Tour tourist attraction, before that venue's closure in 1999.

The series came to an end owing to the death of Brett at the age of 61 from heart failure in 1995.[9]

Adlington Hall, Cheshire was used for at least five episodes
Tatton Hall, Cheshire was used for several episodes[10]
At least five episodes were filmed at Croxteth Hall, Liverpool[10]

Unadapted stories[edit]

Though the Granada series is one of the most comprehensive screen adaptations of the Holmes canon,[a] it nevertheless left 19 stories unadapted after Brett's death. These stories comprise two of the novels and 17 of the short stories:

Other productions[edit]

During 1988–1989, Brett and Hardwicke appeared in a West End play, The Secret of Sherlock Holmes, a two-hander written specially for them by the television series screenwriter Jeremy Paul.

In May 1992, Brett and Hardwicke appeared in a mini-episode (about ten minutes in length) as part of The Four Oaks Mystery, shown as part of the ITV Telethon 92 charity telethon.[11] This episode formed the first of a four-part sequence of stories featuring the stars of four ITV detective shows of the time all separately working to solve the same mystery, broadcast at two episodes a night across one weekend. The other shows that produced mini-episodes for the special were Van der Valk, Taggart, and Inspector Wexford.

Broadcast[edit]

As well as being broadcast by ITV in the UK, the series was also seen overseas, particularly in the United States, where the episodes initially ran on PBS stations in the Mystery! strand. Later series gained co-production funding from Boston PBS broadcaster WGBH. The shows have also been transmitted on two US cable television stations, Disney Channel and A&E Network, and on CBC in Canada.

In the UK, the series has often been repeated: on Granada Plus; on ITV3; and on BBC Two, which ran the complete series on Saturday afternoons from 2003 to 2005. This makes it one of the very few programmes originally produced by an ITV company for broadcast on their own channel to have subsequently been shown on the BBC. In March 2006, the series returned to its original channel for the first time in over a decade, as part of the daytime television line-up on weekday afternoons.

Reception[edit]

The series is considered to present the most faithful screen adaptations of many of the Holmes stories,[12] although liberties were taken with some plotlines and characters, particularly later in the run during the 1990s episodes (for instance The Mazarin Stone, filmed in 1994, combined the plot elements of two separate Conan Doyle stories).[13]

A big change was Holmes quitting his cocaine habit in the episode "The Devil's Foot," which was done with the approval of Conan Doyle's daughter, when it was discovered that the series had a considerable child audience.[14] Nonetheless, the series has been highly praised for the performance of Brett, its adherence to Doyle's original concept in the characterisation of Watson, its high production values, and its close attention to period detail.[15][16]

Home media[edit]

The series has been released on DVD in Regions 1, 2 and 4,[17][18][19] and has been repeated on ITV4 and BBC Two.

The complete series has also been released on VHS and on DVD, twice on the latter, with the most recent 2005 release taking advantage of the digitally remastered film prints originally prepared for the BBC Two repeat run. In December 2012, the series was released on Blu-ray in Japan, in Spain in May 2013, in France in October 2013, and in the US in September 2014.[20]

Region 1[edit]

MPI Home Video has released the entire series on DVD in Region 1, in various incarnations. MPI released The Adventures & The Return in single disc volumes as well as complete collections. The Casebook & The Memoirs were released as a single collection box sets. In addition, on 25 September 2007, a complete series set was released featuring all 41 episodes in one complete collection for the very first time.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Boxed Set Collection 13 30 April 2002
The Return of Sherlock Holmes DVD Collection 13 26 August 2003
The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes DVD Collection 9 28 September 2004
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes DVD Collection 6 26 October 2004
Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Granada Television Series 41 25 September 2007

Region 2[edit]

ITV DVD has released the entire series in various collections as well as a complete series box set.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
Sherlock Holmes: The Adventures / The Return 26 21 February 2005
Sherlock Holmes: The Case Book / The Memoirs 15 21 February 2005
Sherlock Holmes - The Complete Collection 41 21 February 2005 and 24 August 2009[21]

The Complete Collection mentioned above has English subtitles only. The complete series was released on Blu-ray in Spain in 2013.[22] Though native to Spain, the 10 disc set is region-free and thus can be played in any region of the world. The Complete Collection was released a second time on Blu-ray in Germany in 2016. It has German subtitles only but German and English soundtracks. This is a 14 disc set and is marked region 'B'.[23]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ See the Sherlock Holmes Stoll film series (1921–1923), for which 47 of the stories were adapted.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Alan Barnes (2002). Sherlock Holmes on Screen. Reynolds & Hearn Ltd. p. 118. ISBN 1903111048.
  2. ^ Eyles, Alan (1986). Sherlock Holmes: A Centenary Celebration. Harper & Row. pp. 119. ISBN 0-06-015620-1.
  3. ^ "The wide world of Sherlock Holmes: Jeremy Brett (1933-1995)". Archived from the original on 5 April 2012.
  4. ^ Jeremy Brett: The Definitive Sherlock Holmes review
  5. ^ "Sherlock Holmes On Screen". members.iinet.net.au.
  6. ^ Daniel Smith (2011). The Sherlock Holmes Companion: An Elementary Guide. Castle Books. pp. 81, 108. ISBN 9780785827849.
  7. ^ Peter Haining (1994). The Television Sherlock Holmes. Virgin Books. p. 172. ISBN 0863697933.
  8. ^ Redmond, Christopher (2009). Sherlock Holmes Handbook: Second Edition. Dundurn Press. p. 244. ISBN 9781459718982.
  9. ^ Gussow, Mel (14 September 1995). "Jeremy Brett, an Unnerving Holmes, Is Dead at 59". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  10. ^ a b A Not So Elementary List of Filming Locations, retrieved 29 December 2017
  11. ^ The Four Oaks Mystery - Part 1 (Sherlock Holmes), retrieved 26 May 2021
  12. ^ Adams, Guy (2014). Sherlock: The Casebook. Random House. p. 140. ISBN 9781448140329.
  13. ^ Barnes, Alan (2011). Sherlock Holmes on Screen. Titan Books. pp. 26, 117. ISBN 9780857687760.
  14. ^ Conroy, Sarah Booth (14 November 1991). "Stalking Sherlock". The Washington Post. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  15. ^ Barnes, Alan (2011). Sherlock Holmes on Screen. Titan Books. p. 26. ISBN 9780857687760.
  16. ^ Haynes, Natalie (14 May 2012). "Natalie Haynes's guide to TV detectives: #9 – Sherlock Holmes". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 December 2018.
  17. ^ "Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Granada Television Series (2007)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  18. ^ "Sherlock Holmes – Complete Collection [DVD]". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  19. ^ "Sherlock Holmes Collectors Ed: Vol 1". JB Hi-Fi. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  20. ^ "Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett) Blu-ray releases". M2N Limited. 27 May 2013. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  21. ^ "Sherlock Holmes - Complete Collection [DVD]: Amazon.co.uk: Jeremy Brett, David Burke, Edward Hardwicke, Eric Porter, Charles Gray, Rosalie Williams, David Carson, Alan Grint, John Bruce, Paul Annett: DVD". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
  22. ^ "Sherlock Holmes: The Complete ITV Series Blu-ray Release Date June 28, 2013" – via www.blu-ray.com.
  23. ^ "Sherlock Holmes: The Complete ITV Series Blu-ray Release Date June 23, 2016" – via www.blu-ray.com.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Peter Haining, The Television Sherlock Holmes, W.H. Allen, London, 1986. ISBN 0-491-03055-X.
  • Keith Frankel, "Granada's Greatest Detective, a Guide to the classic Sherlock Holmes television series", Fantom Publishing, Coventry England 2016. ISBN 978-1-78196-267-1.

External links[edit]