The Hound of the Baskervilles (TV serial)

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The Hound of the Baskervilles
Written byNovel:
Arthur Conan Doyle
Alexander Baron
Directed byPeter Duguid
StarringTom Baker
Terence Rigby
Country of originUK
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes4
ProducerBarry Letts
Camera setupMulti-camera (studio)
Original release3 October 1982 (1982-10-03)

The Hound of the Baskervilles is a 1982 British television serial made by the BBC. It was produced by Barry Letts, directed by Peter Duguid, and starred Tom Baker as Sherlock Holmes and Terence Rigby as Doctor Watson.[1] The adaptation aired as a four-part serial.[2] The serial is based on Arthur Conan Doyle's 1902 Sherlock Holmes novel The Hound of the Baskervilles. The music score was composed and conducted by Carl Davis.

Background and production[edit]

This production of Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles was the second multi-part BBC adaptation, following Peter Cushing's two-part episode for the 1968 television series.[1] The 1982 serial was part of the BBC's Sunday Classics strand of period dramas and literary adaptations.[3]

The serial was a reunion for Tom Baker, producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks,[3] who had worked together on Baker's first Doctor Who serial, Robot (1974–75).[4][2] As the Fourth Doctor, Baker had appeared in the serial The Talons of Weng-Chiang (1977) wherein the Doctor was dressed as Sherlock Holmes complete with deerstalker.[1][2] In an interview on BBC Radio 4 in 2009, Baker likened the character of the Doctor to Sherlock Holmes, saying "the point is, Dr. Who's not really an acting part, any more than Sherlock Holmes."[5] Baker himself came to consider his performance in this serial a failure,[1] saying "I couldn't lift the character into that special world that makes Holmes so funny and fascinating."[3]

Terence Rigby, who portrayed Watson in this production, later played Inspector Layton in the 1983 version of The Sign of Four featuring Ian Richardson as Sherlock Holmes.[1]

The serial was shot in the BBC's Birmingham studios with exterior shots filmed on Dartmoor for film inserts.[1][6] In his later autobiography, Baker claimed "the dog who had been engaged by the BBC to play the hound was gentler than Mother Teresa"[3] and had to be coaxed with sausages to attack Nicholas Woodeson.[3] The adaptation is reasonably faithful to the novel, with a few differences. In the novel, Hugo and the farm girl were found dead by three of Baskerville's companions. In the film, the girl dies of fear before Hugo can catch her. Towards the end, Holmes and Watson follow Baskerville and witness his being attacked by the hound. Rather then waiting for daybreak to search for Stapleton after killing the hound and never finding him, Holmes takes the risk of searching for him on the moor at night. The group witness Stapleton stumble into the mire and drown.



The opinions of viewers at the time was divided[7] and it has not fared better over time.[8][9] In 2015, The Daily Telegraph described the adaptation as a "traditional take on Holmes's most famous adventure", and while it selected Baker as 15th in a countdown of "the 20 greatest Sherlock Holmes", it said Baker "may have been better off staying in the TARDIS", arguing that he gave "an oddly flat performance".[10] In 2009, John Walsh of The Independent commented that "alongside the classic incarnations of the great detective by Basil Rathbone, Peter Cushing and Jeremy Brett, audiences have had to suffer the impersonations of Michael Caine, Peter Cook, Larry Hagman, John Cleese, Tom Baker, even Roger Moore."[11]


The serial was released in Australia on 20/08/2014 by Madman Entertainment. Special features include a commentary by Tom Baker.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Barnes, Alan (2011). Sherlock Holmes on Screen. Titan Books. pp. 85–87. ISBN 9780857687760.
  2. ^ a b c Haining, Peter (1994). The Television Sherlock Holmes. Virgin Books. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-86369-793-7.
  3. ^ a b c d e Appleton, Jonathan (16 January 2017). "Doctor Holmes – When Tom Baker Was Sherlock". The Doctor Who Companion. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  4. ^ Braxton, Mark. "Robot ★★★". Radio Times. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  5. ^ Interview with Tom Baker on BBC Radio 4's Last Word 16 October 2009
  6. ^ "The Hound of the Baskervilles". BBC. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
  7. ^ Haining, Peter (1994). The Television Sherlock Holmes. Virgin Books. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-86369-793-7.
  8. ^ "A Study In Error: The Ten Worst Sherlock Holmes". Archived from the original on 28 January 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  9. ^ Eyles, Allen (1986). Sherlock Holmes: A Centenary Celebration. Harper & Row. pp. 123. ISBN 978-0-06-015620-6.
  10. ^ "15. Tom Baker - Sherlock: the 20 greatest Sherlock Holmes". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  11. ^ "Holmes Sweet Holmes: Literature's Greatest Sleuth". The Independent. 2 November 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  12. ^ "The Hound of the Baskervilles". Madman Entertainment. Retrieved 5 February 2018.

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