The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (TV series)

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (TV series)

Infobox British television
show_name = The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

caption =
format = Mystery
runtime = 50 to 120 minutes
creator = Michael Cox
starring = Jeremy Brett
David Burke
Edward Hardwicke
Rosalie Williams
channel = ITV
first_aired = 1984
last_aired = 1994
num_series = 9 (including The Return of Sherlock Holmes, The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes)
num_episodes = 41
producer = Granada Television
imdb_id = 0086661
tv_com_id = 6802

"The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" is the name given to the TV series of Sherlock Holmes adaptations produced by British television company Granada Television between 1984 and 1994, although only the first two series bore that title on screen. The series was broadcast on the ITV network in the UK, and starred Jeremy Brett as the famous detective, a portrayal that many consider to be the definitive screen version of Sherlock Holmes, although this is a much-disputed subject.Fact|date=August 2008 In addition, Holmes's faithful friend and companion Dr. Watson, scrupulously portrayed as the kind of thoroughly competent sidekick Holmes would want, was played in the two "Adventures" series by David Burke, before he elected to leave the series to be able to spend more time with his wife and young son. He was replaced by Edward Hardwicke, who played Watson for the remainder of the run.


The series was initially produced by Michael Cox, with later episodes being produced by June Wyndham Davies. It was developed for television by scriptwriter John Hawkesworth, who also wrote many of the episodes. Other writers to contribute included Jeremy Paul, T. R. Bowen and Alan Plater. 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.

In addition to Brett, Burke and Hardwicke, other regular cast members included Rosalie Williams as housekeeper Mrs. Hudson and Colin Jeavons as Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard. Also appearing in several episodes was Charles Gray as Holmes' brother Mycroft Holmes (having played the same character in the 1976 film "The Seven-Per-Cent Solution"), while Eric Porter portrayed Holmes' nemesis Professor Moriarty in the second series of "Adventures". The role of the servant Joe Barnes who impersonates Lady Beatrice in the 1991 episode "The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place" was played by a pre-fame Jude Law.

In all, forty-one out of the sixty Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were adapted in the TV series, across thirty-six one-hour episodes and five feature-length specials. The series came to an end due to the death of Brett at the age of sixty-one from a heart attack in 1995. It has, however, been reported that by that stage he had already decided not to play the role of Holmes again — he had been gravely ill during the making of the final run of the series, "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes", and even collapsed on set during the making of one episode.

The series possibly presents the most faithful screen adaptations of many of the Holmes stories, although liberties were taken with some plotlines and characters, particularly later in the run during the 1990s episodes. A big change was Holmes quitting his cocaine habit in the episode "The Devil's Foot," which was done at the approval of Conan Doyle's granddaughter when it was discovered that the series had a considerable child audience. Nonetheless, the series has been highly praised for its star, its adherence to Doyle's original concept in the characterisation of Watson, its high production values and close attention to period detail.

As well as being broadcast by ITV in the UK, the series was popular overseas, particularly in the United States, where the episodes initially ran on PBS stations there in the "Mystery!" strand. Later series gained co-production funding from Boston PBS broadcaster WGBH. The shows have also been transmitted on cable television stations Disney Channel and A&E Network in the US, and on CBC in Canada. In the UK, the series has often been repeated on Granada Plus, ITV3 and even sold to rival broadcaster BBC Two, who ran the complete series on Saturday afternoons from 2003 to 2005. This makes the series one of the very few major in-house ITV series ever to have been subsequently shown on the BBC. In March 2006, the series returned to its original channel, now renamed ITV1, for the first time in over a decade, as part of the daytime television line-up on weekday afternoons.

The complete series has also been released on VHS and on DVD, twice on the latter medium, with the most recent 2005 release taking advantage of the digitally remastered film prints originally prepared for the BBC Two repeat run.


Note: although all of the series bear the titles of Conan Doyle short story collections, the adaptations shown in the series do not always correspond to the stories featured in those print anthologies. The dates shown refer to the original UK airdates on the ITV network.

* "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes"

#"A Scandal in Bohemia" — April 24 1984.
#"The Dancing Men" — May 1 1984.
#"The Naval Treaty" — May 8 1984.
#"The Solitary Cyclist" — May 15 1984.
#"The Crooked Man" — May 22 1984.
#"The Speckled Band" — May 29 1984.
#"The Blue Carbuncle" — June 5 1984.

#"The Copper Beeches" — August 25 1985.
#"The Greek Interpreter" — September 1 1985.
#"The Norwood Builder" — September 8 1985.
#"The Resident Patient" — September 15 1985.
#"The Red-Headed League" — September 22 1985.
#"The Final Problem" — September 29 1985.

* "The Return of Sherlock Holmes"

#"The Empty House" — July 9 1986.
#"The Abbey Grange" — July 16 1986.
#"The Musgrave Ritual" — July 23 1986.
#"The Second Stain" — July 30 1986.
#"The Man with the Twisted Lip" — August 6 1986.
#"The Priory School" — August 13 1986.
#"The Six Napoleons" — August 20 1986.

#"The Sign of Four" — December 29 1987. (Feature-length episode).

#"The Devil's Foot" — April 6 1988.
#"Silver Blaze" — April 13 1988.
#"Wisteria Lodge" — April 20 1988.
#"The Bruce-Partington Plans" — April 27 1988.
#"The Hound of the Baskervilles" — August 31 1988. (Feature-length episode).

*"The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes"

#"The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax" — February 21 1991.
#"Thor Bridge" — February 28 1991.
#"Shoscombe Old Place" — March 7 1991.
#"The Boscombe Valley Mystery" — March 14 1991.
#"The Illustrious Client" — March 21 1991.
#"The Creeping Man" — March 28 1991.

#"The Master Blackmailer" — January 2 1992. (Feature-length episode; based on the short story "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton").

#"The Last Vampyre" — January 27 1993. (Feature-length episode; based on the short story "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire").
#"The Eligible Bachelor" — February 3 1993. (Feature-length episode; based on the short story "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor").

*"The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes"

#"The Three Gables" — March 7 1994.
#"The Dying Detective" — March 14 1994.
#"The Golden Pince-Nez" — March 21 1994. (Does not feature Edward Hardwicke as Watson, as he was busy completing work on the film "Shadowlands". Instead, Charles Gray appears as Mycroft Holmes, filling Watson's role in the story).
#"The Red Circle" — March 28 1994.
#"The Mazarin Stone" — April 4 1994. (Also includes storyline material from "The Adventure of the Three Garridebs". Jeremy Brett only appears in a cameo role as Holmes due to ill-health. In his place, Charles Gray appears again as Mycroft Holmes).
#"The Cardboard Box" — April 11 1994.

Other productions

During 1988-89, Brett and Hardwicke appeared in the West End in the play "The Secret of Sherlock Holmes", a two-hander written especially for them by the television series scriptwriter Jeremy Paul. In 1992, the pair appeared in a short mini-episode as part of "The Four Oaks Mystery", shown as part of the ITV network's "Telethon 92" charity telethon. This episode formed one 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 per night across one weekend. The other shows which produced mini-episodes for the special were "Taggart", "Van der Valk" and "Inspector Wexford".

External links

*Screenonline TV title|id=888944|name=The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
*imdb title|id=0086661|title=The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
* [ "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes"] at
* [ Interview with producer June Wyndham Davies]

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