The immortal Victorian detective surely gets his most ideal face and portrayal in scintillating 1980’s high budget series The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes aboutt the cases undertaken by the Victorian sleuth and his aide-de-camp Doctor John Watson.
Before Jeremy Brett their had been over 70 actors who had already played Holmes and with the memorable exception of Basil Rathbone in the 1940’s series of modern day set stories, none have even come close to Brett’s world weary performance.
Granada who made this series certainly spared no expense with sumptuous sets (still standing on the Granada backlot today), excellent attention to period detail and a close approximation of the vibe of Sydney Paget’s original illustrations for The Strand magazine. Brett’s Holmes is a study in calmness and reflectiveness and over the course of two seasons he solves a whole series of mysteries before tangling with the evil Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls where he apparently falls to his death.
Like Conan Doyle himself Granada couldn’t let the series go though and Brett came back in The Return of Sherlock Holmes.
Apart from “Elementary, my dear Watson”, in the words of Holmes: “My name is Sherlock Holmes, it is my business to know what others don’t know.”
Brett once said: “To me, the Sherlock Holmes stories are about a great friendship. Without Watson, Holmes might well have burnt out on drugs long ago. I hope the series shows how important friendship is.” Brett described Holmes as “the most complex isolated creature, a complete eccentric and a very lonely, private man”.
Professor Moriarty (Holmes’s arch enemy) upon meeting Holmes for the first time: “You have less frontal development than I should have expected. It is a dangerous habit to finger loaded firearms in the pocket of one’s dressing-gown.”
Brett was left-handed. The character of Sherlock Holmes was right-handed. A hand double was used whenever a close-up of Holmes writing was required. Granada recreated Baker Street next to another famous thoroughfare – Coronation Street.
UK / ITV Network – Granada / 12×60 minute episodes and 1×120 minute episode / Broadcast 24 April 1984 – 29 September 1985
Creator:John Hawkesworth / Stories: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle / Producer:Michael Cox, June Wyndham Davies / Theme Composer:Patrick Gowers
JEREMY BRETT as Sherlock Holmes
DAVID BURKE as Doctor Watson
ROSALIE WILLIAMS as Mrs Hudson
COLIN JEAVONS as Inspector Lestrade
CHARLES GRAY as Mycroft Holmes
A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA (Broadcast 24 April 1984)
THE DANCING MEN (Broadcast 1 May 1984)
THE NAVAL TREATY (Broadcast 8 May 1984)
THE SOLITARY CYCLIST (Broadcast 15 May 1984)
THE CROOKED MAN (Broadcast 22 May 1984)
THE SPECKLED BAND (Broadcast 29 May 1984)
THE BLUE CARBUNCLE (Broadcast 5 June 1984)
THE COPPER BEECHES (Broadcast 25 August 1985
THE GREEK INTERPRETER (Broadcast 1 September 1985)
THE NORWOOD BUILDER (Broadcast 8 September 1985)
THE RESIDENT PATIENT (Broadcast 15 September 1985)
THE RED HEADED LEAGUE (Broadcast 22 September 1985)
THE FINAL PROBLEM (Broadcast 29 September 1985)
THE RETURN OF….
THE CASEBOOK OF…
THE MEMOIRS OF…