UK / ITV – Thames / 26×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 20 September 1971 – 7 May 1973 2 Seasons
Producers: Robert Love and Jonathan Alwyn (season one), Reginald Collin and Jonathan Alwyn (season two) / Music: Bob Sharples / Story Editors: George Markstein (season one), Harry Moore (season two) / Executive Producers: Lloyd Shirley (season one), Kim Mills (season two)
Besides bringing us the genius of Sherlock Holmes, the Victorian and Edwardian era was truly a golden age of detective fiction and in the sparkling ITV series The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes there is gathered together a whole bunch of literarary detectives who were around at the same time as Holmes.
Based on an anthology put together by BBC Director General Sir Hugh Carleton, the series features detectives such as Dutchman Lt Holst, inquiry agent William Drew, lawyer Charles Dallas and the female reporter Polly Burton tackling cases that range from spying to murder to fraud. Authors range from R. Austin Freeman and William Arthur Dunkerley through to the legendary Baroness Orczy.
The set design is fabulous and the atmosphere is equally as good, better still is the high calibre of the players involved – the cream of British acting talent in fact, everyone from the excellent John Thaw (just prior to his career making role in The Sweeney), a young Richard Beckinsale, Bernard Hepton, Robin Ellis, Donald Sinden, Roy Dotrice, Donald Pleasence, the gorgeous Judy Geeson, Jean Marsh, Derek Jacobi who in the episode The Secret of the Fox Hunter gets involved with spies whilst staying at a country house and not to mention the legendary Charles Gray as French investigator Eugene Valmont.