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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson
This photograph of Vasily Livanov as Sherlock Holmes is displayed at the Sherlock Holmes Museum on Baker Street.
RussianПриключения Шерлока Холмса и доктора Ватсона
  • Mystery
  • Period drama
Directed byIgor Maslennikov
ComposerVladimir Dashkevich
Country of originSoviet Union
Original languageRussian
No. of episodes11 episodes (5 films)
Original release
Release1979 (1979) –
1986 (1986)

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson (Russian: Приключения Шерлока Холмса и доктора Ватсона) is a series of Soviet television films portraying Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional English detective, starting in 1979. They were directed by Igor Maslennikov.


Between 1979 and 1986, Soviet television produced a series of five films at the Lenfilm movie studio, split into eleven episodes, starring Vasily Livanov as Sherlock Holmes and Vitaly Solomin as Dr. Watson. Later, a cinematic adaptation was made based on the 1986 episodes. This film was called The Twentieth Century Approaches.


The series ran as follows:


Jauniela street, in old Riga, doubles as Baker Street in the series.

The script was written by Julius Dunsky and Valery Frid on their own initiative.[1] Igor Maslennikov was not a big fan of Conan Doyle's work, but he liked the idea of a future TV movie. In addition, there was an interesting juxtaposition of characters in the script Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, which was supposed to attract the viewer and what, according to the director, previous film adaptations lacked.[2]

Holmes is opposed to the official police system of Scotland Yard, because the main thing for him is to help, not just to punish. This, it seems to me, is the secret of the enduring love of readers and viewers for Sherlock Holmes, the living personification of loyalty and reliability — qualities that people have always needed so much. That was the reason why we were so willing to work on these films.

— Igor Maslennikov, Aurora, July 1985[3]

Unlike some of their Western counterparts, the films are very close to the literary source. Some of the departures include Holmes' easy-going and humorous demeanor, as well as comic relief provided by some of the characters (most notably that of Sir Henry Baskerville and his butler Barrymore in The Hound of the Baskervilles episode).

Vasily Livanov and Vitaly Solomin met at the auditions, and they immediately formed friendly relations:

In relation to life, we coincided in many ways. Vitaly shared with me deeply personal experiences, and I think he did not share these experiences with anyone else… Love can be played on the screen. And friendship is impossible to play. You need to be friends.

— Vasily Livanov[1]

A street in old Riga doubles as Baker Street (the same street was used for exterior locations of Tsvetochnaya street in "Seventeen Moments of Spring").[4][5] Many scenes were filmed in Saint Petersburg and Tallinn. "The role" of the Reichenbach Waterfall was "performed" by Circassian waterfall in Abkhazia.[6]

Regular cast[edit]


The series' soundtrack was composed by Vladimir Dashkevich; the introductory piece has become one of the most recognizable pieces of cinematic music in the former Soviet Union.[7] The tune intentionally resembles an hourly musical logo played on the shortwave BBC Russian Service (the Prince of Denmark's March), and Maslennikov later confirmed that he wanted a similar tune which could be identified with the spirit of the British Empire.[8]

Official soundtrack was released in 1997 (CD)[9] and in 2023 (LP).[10]


The films were positively received by the Soviet audience,[11] noting the actors' masterful portrayal of the main characters and the production's attention to detail.[citation needed] The series became a cultural phenomenon and to this day remain a legendary masterpiece of Soviet television.[11][12] Holmes and Watson, performed by Livanov and Solomin, became the heroes of jokes and the people's favorites,[13][14] their sayings have become catch phrases. In 1982, for the Novy God's episode of "Little Blue Light" the interlude "Sherlock Holmes", written by Livanov, was played by Livanov and Solomin in modern costumes.[citation needed]

In the West, the reception of the series was warm, especially in the United Kingdom. British critics have pointed out that the creators of the series have treated the original source with due care and respect, and have successfully transferred the atmosphere of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's works.[15][16][17][18] In 2006, Vasily Livanov became an Honorary MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) — "For service to the theatre and performing arts".[19] The British ambassador called Livanov one of the best actors who played Sherlock Holmes.[20] Livanov's wax statue is displayed in the Sherlock Holmes Museum in London. In 2007, a statue to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, as played by Livanov and Solomin, was erected in Moscow near the British embassy.[21][22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b За кадром «Приключений Шерлока Холмса»: Как на съемках Ливанов едва не лишился главной роли, а Соломин – жизни. In Russian
  2. ^ «Тот самый Холмс» Татьяна Гурьянова, Ирина Иванова, Екатерина Сахарова «Версия» 11.2.2005 г. Archived 2013-05-11 at the Wayback Machine In Russian
  3. ^ «Игорь Масленников. Многоуважаемые Дшх И Ддв…» «Аврора», июль 1985. In Russian
  4. ^ «Яуниела, она же Цветочная, она же Бейкер-стрит» Никита Красноглазов № 05 (69-72) от 31 мая 2004 г. «Аргументы и Факты» In Russian
  5. ^ География мест, где снимался сериал In Russian
  6. ^ Как снимали лучший фильм про Шерлока Холмса? In Russian
  7. ^ Кинохиты Владимира Дашкевича — 2: история музыки из к-ф «Шерлок Холмс и доктор Ватсон» (1979-1986) | КУР.С.ИВ.ом - сайт Курия Сергея ИвановичаIn Russian
  8. ^ Игорь Масленников (2020). Бейкер-стрит на Петроградской (in Russian). Litres. ISBN 978-5-04226-805-2.
  9. ^ The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson at Discogs (list of releases)
  10. ^ Шерлок Холмс и доктор Ватсон (музыка из сериала) at Discogs
  11. ^ a b «Всё должно было закончиться совсем не так»: как снимался культовый сериал «Приключения Шерлока Холмса и доктора Ватсона». In Russian
  12. ^ А. Седов. Советский "Холмс" как духовная скрепа (листая энциклопедию). In Russian
  13. ^ Анекдоты про Холмса и Ватсона. In Russian
  14. ^ Лучшие анекдоты про Шерлока Холмса и доктора Ватсона. In Russian
  15. ^ The Russian Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson ссылка проверена 12 марта 2009
  16. ^ «London visit of Vasily Livanov» 16th Jan 2007, Sherlock Holmes Society of London Archived 2014-10-14 at the Wayback Machine ссылка проверена 12 марта 2009
  17. ^ Kinchin-Smith, Sam; Gryspeerdt, Nancy (2014-07-10). "Curious incidents: the adventures of Sherlock Holmes in Russia". The Calvert Journal. Retrieved 2019-12-31.
  18. ^ "Vassily Holmes". The Guardian, Martin Walker, August 17, 1987. In Russian
  19. ^ List of Honorary Awards January – June 2006, Foreign and Commonwealth Office – UK Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  20. ^ "Ливанов - Кавалер ордена Британской империи". 2006-02-22. Retrieved 2018-10-20.. In Russian
  21. ^ Moscow honours legendary Holmes
  22. ^ "В Москве открыт памятник Шерлоку Холмсу и доктору Ватсону". РИА Новости (in Russian). 2007-04-27. Archived from the original on 2018-01-17. Retrieved 2018-04-05. In Russian

External links[edit]