Sherlock Holmes

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stuartfanning
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by stuartfanning »

ctraynor wrote:
Did anyone ever see the Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson series made in Poland with Geoffrey Whitehead and Donald Pickering? I'd like to catch some of those.
A number of these episodes with Geoffrey Whitehead are on YouTube (see link below).The only place this series has got an official release is Italy,but it is dubbed in Italian.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_q ... O6z60hJd3g

Bodie
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Bodie »

mikew wrote:I thought after that it would be virtually impossible for anyone else to convince me as Holmes but the Clive Merrison radio series managed it. Works beautifully as a take on the entire canon. They even manage to make one of their best episodes out of The Lion's Mane.
Thanks for pointing out this episode, Mike. Having enjoyed Bert Coules "Further Adventures" I bought the box set some time ago to listen to in the car but couldn't settle into the earlier stories. I've dug out The Lion's Mane and having listened to it, enjoyed it a great deal. Merrison and Williams are a strong pairing and Mr. Coules has done another great job - references to the Gillette plays, the "head Llama" and the Twilight Zone, I think it was. Also, Watson is added to the story nicely and gets to do the detective work.

I think it was Jeremy Brett who was keen on doing everything as written. I wonder what he'd make of it.

Please feel free to recommend any other episodes.

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Tilt Araiza
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Tilt Araiza »

Bodie wrote:
mikew wrote:references to the Gillette plays, the "head Llama" and the Twilight Zone
I missed the Twilight Zone reference. Coules also once confirmed that there are nods to The Shadow, Batman and The Man From UNCLE, there's also a Star Trek reference that I've never been able to pick up.

Bodie
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Bodie »

In that particular episode, or the series in general?

I must correct myself as the reference I picked up was from The Shadow, not the Twilight Zone (Holmes asks, "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?").

mikew
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by mikew »

Glad you enjoyed The Lion's Mane Bodie. I think the reason I like it so much is not just for the fact that it's entertaining in its own right but also because it encapsulates what Coules does with the series as a whole. They do include everything Doyle wrote *but* cleverly treat that as Watson's "published" version: they don't change Doyle, they add to it by carefully extrapolating from what's in there. Even the little joke about the "head llama" reflects that perfectly: the two characters treating the (inaccurately) published Strand stories as an artefact within their own story - which of course, Doyle himself does.

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Tilt Araiza
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Tilt Araiza »

Bodie wrote:In that particular episode, or the series in general?
That particular episode. When Watson's helping Holmes move some bees between hives (I think that's what they're doing) he tells Watson to "open channel D". At another point Watson says "criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot" (actually, I think he misquotes it, but Coules confirmed on a newsgroup post that these were all deliberate references).

Colin Cutler
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Colin Cutler »

[/quote]

I can't believe the BBC made the models specially. As I remember it was a proper Metropolitan loco like the one in the LT museum. I wonder where they came from?
[/quote]

This doesn't really answer your question Andrew, but according to the BBC overseas sales documentation, the transport authorities of the era had told producer David Goddard that a "Victorian London Underground coach of the type described by Conan Doyle" was still in running order, although apparently it was located in Spain! Apparently Goddard drew the line at sending the film unit on a working holiday :-)

And it could well be hyperbole, but allegedly when a 'savage Old English mastiff' was needed for 'The Copper Beeches', a search revealed there were only around "six left in the country"; accurate or not, apparently Nigel Stock had to hang bits of steak around his neck to encourage the dog to leap up at him for the climatic scene. What is it they say about never working with animals?

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Paul Hayes
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Paul Hayes »

Can anyone recommend any particularly good reference books / sources for researching the production of Granada's Jeremy Brett series?

The reason I ask is that I am currently in the early stages of planning a documentary for BBC Radio Norfolk about the connections between Sherlock Holmes and the county of Norfolk. I thought that as part of this it might be interesting to at least briefly cover the filming of Sherlock Holmes adaptations in the county, and I know that the Granada series did some filming in West Norfolk.

It's my understanding that at least part of the boat chase sequence in The Sign of Four was done in King's Lynn, and I believe that some of The Man With the Twisted Lip was also shot in that part of the world? But I'd be interested if anyone has any sources they could point me to which might have more detail.

As is the way of things, however, I don't believe they came to Norfolk at all when they made The Dancing Men, which is actually set here! (And they never did the other Norfolk-set tale, The Gloria Scott).

Anyway, any advice for any good sources on the production of the Brett series would be greatly appreciated, thank you!

mikew
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by mikew »

A Study in Celluloid by Michael Cox is worth a read if you can get hold of it. Not consistent on the amount of detail it gives, but an enjoyable read. It says 'The Dacing Men' was filmed in Lancashire - and described on screen as being set in Derbyshire rather than Norfolk. 'The Man With the Twisted Lip' was indeed filmed partly in King's Lynn but there's no more detail than that while 'The Sign of Four' was seemingly all filmed (very carefully!) in London.

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Paul Hayes
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Paul Hayes »

Thanks Mike. Just had a look at some second-hand sites online for the Michael Cox book, and it seems to be going for extortionate rates! Will have to see if I can borrow a copy from the library.

I'm sure I read a local newspaper report from the time that detailed the shooting of The Sign of Four in King's Lynn when I was researching another programme a few years ago, but I shall have to check my sources on that.

I had forgotten that they changed the setting for The Dancing Men. I wonder why...? Perhaps, as it was one of their earlier ones, to keep it within budget range of their Manchester base? They might have considered Broadland difficult to replicate within reasonable shooting distance?

mikew
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by mikew »

Cox says they changed it to Derbyshire partly to make clearer the time it would take Cubitt to get to and from London and partly to match the architecture and landscape of the location they'd chosen. I think you're right about saving on travel costs! The amount of use they make of Manchester Town Hall is quite telling in that respect!

Mothy
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Mothy »

I don't know if it would be of any value to you, but 'The Television Sherlock Holmes' by Peter Haining, 1991, covers the Brett series in extensive detail, including interviews.

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Simon Coward
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Simon Coward »

Paul Hayes wrote:Thanks Mike. Just had a look at some second-hand sites online for the Michael Cox book, and it seems to be going for extortionate rates! Will have to see if I can borrow a copy from the library
It's been re-printed in the US: http://www.wessexpress.com/html/studyincelluloid.html. It's not cheap as chips, but it is rather more reasonably priced.
We all have to eat a peck of dirt before we die.

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Paul Hayes
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Paul Hayes »

Ah, thank you Simon!

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Paul Hayes
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Paul Hayes »

I've ordered the US version of the Cox book - should be interesting.

I've found the notes for the show I was researching back in February 2008 which dug up the "Sign of Four" in Norfolk fact. This is in my words, but taken from information in a Norwich Evening News from February 1987.

I'd mis-remembered which side of the county it was, but they do seem to have come here:
Granada Television also brought their cameras to Norfolk this week in 1987, taking to the Broads at Breydon Water, near Burgh Castle. The location was standing in for the River Thames in the year 1887. They were bringing to life crime fiction’s first ever police pursuit scene, the famous boat chase sequence from the end of Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel The Sign of Four. The lavish adaptation was part of their Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series starring Jeremy Brett, and Brett was pictured enjoying life on the broads on the way to filming. The production had also been shooting at Reedham – did you see them at work, or perhaps you even took part? Edward Hardwicke co-starred as Doctor Watson, with John Thaw as the villain of the piece. Did you meet them?

ctraynor
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by ctraynor »

Alan Barnes's book Sherlock Holmes on Screen, which covers TV and film versions from around the world, has good sections on the Jeremy Brett stuff, including some production background, plots, cast and crew lists, and original tx dates, plus lots of opinion! Everything in the book is in alphabetical order, rather than chronological, so you'll get The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, followed some time later by another Brett one, perhaps Memoirs of... following that and Return of... after that etc.

I remember the section on Brett's The Sign of Four going into some detail on the location work, especially for the river chase.

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Paul Hayes
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Paul Hayes »

ctraynor wrote:Alan Barnes's book Sherlock Holmes on Screen, which covers TV and film versions from around the world, has good sections on the Jeremy Brett stuff, including some production background, plots, cast and crew lists, and original tx dates, plus lots of opinion! Everything in the book is in alphabetical order, rather than chronological, so you'll get The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, followed some time later by another Brett one, perhaps Memoirs of... following that and Return of... after that etc.

I remember the section on Brett's The Sign of Four going into some detail on the location work, especially for the river chase.
Thank you, that sounds as if it could be very useful.

The Norwich Evening News of February 1987 seemed to state that was what they were doing at Breydon Water, but it would be odd if Cox's book makes no mention of it.

I need more data, Watson!

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Paul Hayes
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Paul Hayes »

Thanks again for the recommendation of Barnes's book.

While it doesn't go into great detail on the shooting of the river chase sequence, it does confirm that some work on it was done in Norfolk. Investigating an online Norfolk Broads-related forum, I've found an old discussion there where they talk about the Reedham swing bridge being visible on the "Thames" in the finished episode.

But what's also interesting about the book is that, flicking through, I notice that the 1968 BBC Cushing version of The Dancing Men had location material shot in and around Oxburgh Hall (or "Oxborough Hall", as Barnes calls it). So that could be something else to try and feature in the programme, if I can find anyone who remembers it.

ctraynor
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by ctraynor »

All the best on that. Did you know (Barnes says anyway in the book) that The Dancing Men is one of the lost episodes?

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Paul Hayes
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Paul Hayes »

Yes, I already knew it wasn't one of the six survivors, sadly.

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Paul Hayes
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Paul Hayes »

I was over in King's Lynn today recording an interview for my documentary and doing some on-location links. While I was there, I took the opportunity to try and take a few comparison shots with screen grabs from Granada's version of "The Man with the Twisted Lip." I thought I'd put the link here, in case it was of any interest:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set ... 47f188bac7

Bodie
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Bodie »

Tilt Araiza wrote:
Bodie wrote:
mikew wrote:references to the Gillette plays, the "head Llama" and the Twilight Zone
Coules also once confirmed that there are nods to The Shadow, Batman and The Man From UNCLE, there's also a Star Trek reference that I've never been able to pick up.
I listened to "The Illustrious Client" the other day and Holmes met up with Shinwell Johnson in Totters Lane!

Irongiant
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Irongiant »

Paul Hayes wrote:I was over in King's Lynn today recording an interview for my documentary and doing some on-location links. While I was there, I took the opportunity to try and take a few comparison shots with screen grabs from Granada's version of "The Man with the Twisted Lip." I thought I'd put the link here, in case it was of any interest:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set ... 47f188bac7
Very interesting indeed, many thanks. :-)

ctraynor
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by ctraynor »

Bodie wrote: Coules also once confirmed that there are nods to The Shadow, Batman and The Man From UNCLE, there's also a Star Trek reference that I've never been able to pick up.
I listened to "The Illustrious Client" the other day and Holmes met up with Shinwell Johnson in Totters Lane![/quote]

Suppose there wasn't a police box. They weren't around as long ago as that, alas.

Charles Norton
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Charles Norton »

The only two Brett episodes that I found beyond redemption were the two 'original' films that they did. I'm referring to 'The Elligible Bachelor' and 'The Last Vampyre'. I think they both went out in 1993. For some reason, the producers just seemed to go a bit nuts that year. Instead of having a full series or a one-off special, we got these two oddly bloated films. Neither of them were adaptations, but essentially original stories. They borrowed a few bits from Conan Doyle, but were, to all intents and purposes, new scripts. Why do that? All the other episodes were adaptations.

I mean, the whole idea behind the Granada series was that they were making a point of making these adaptations as faithful as was practically possible. When they did alter things in the stories, it was often for unavoidable reasons. They perhaps needed to expand one of the shorter stories (The Dying Detective) to fill out their broadcast slot. Or maybe an actor was unavailable (The Golden Pince Nez) or ill (The Mazarin Stone). Perhaps a location was too expensive to film (The Dancing Men). However, they always did the best they could.

This attention to detail was the programme's unique selling point. It's what they were all about. However, the two 1993 mysteries (The Last Vampyre and The Elligible Bachelor) were completely different. Suddenly they did a Rathbone, just took a few Conan Doyle plot points and made something new up. That sort of thing is fine, of course. But it was just so out of character for the Granada series. It didn't help that neither 'Last Vampyre' nor 'Elligible' are very good.

Whatever was going on, clearly it was a bit of a blip, as the following year they went back to doing more faithful adaptations again and it was so much better as a result.

The thing is though, people still talk about the series going slowly down hill and taking more and more liberties as time went on. I don't think that's true. I think that it's more simply just a case that these two 1993 episodes came quite late on in the run, had nothing to do with Conan Doyle. Perhaps that's sort of skewed people's perception of the series as a whole. It's a shame, because actually, that last run from about 1995, is pretty good at times and almost all of the liberties that were taken with the source material, happened for unavoidable reasons beyond the production's control e.g. Jeremy Brett being rushed to hospital prior to shooting on 'The Mazarin Stone/The Three Garidebs'.

Does anybody know what the reason was behind 1993's oddness and why those two original movies were made?

mikew
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by mikew »

There were three movies - you're forgetting The Master Blackmailer. Like the other two it was essentially one of the lesser Conan Doyle stories filled out with a whole load of new material which the plot simply doesn't bear.

As to why they went down this route I think it was something to do with trying to mimic the format of Inspector Morse but whatever the case, someone clearly had the wit to realise it simply didn't work and, as you say, undermined the major appeal of the series: Holmes as Doyle intended.

Charles Norton
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Charles Norton »

No, 'The Master Blackmailer' is still an adaptation, despite the title change. Yes, it was massively expanded, but all of the original Conan Doyle stuff is still essentially there intact. In fact, I'm not sure why they even felt the need to retitle it. It went out the year before Vampyre and Bachelor and, I'd argue, is a very different beast altogether. Obviously, 'Charles Augustus Milverton' didn't need the kind of running time it got from Granada. However, I think they get away with it this one time. The big difference with what followed is that 'The Master Blackmailer' is a Conan Doyle story that's been expanded and extrapolated. The two 1993 films however, are essentially original works, merely inspired by Conan Doyle. They don't even pretend to be adaptaions, to be fair.

andrew baker
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by andrew baker »

Weren't the feature length ones done to please Japanese buyers? I might be wrong,

The Master Blackmailer is certainly a good one. It's fascinating how in some later episodes the story is padded out enormously but based on odd comments and details in the original story.

Charles Norton
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Charles Norton »

Japan. That's interesting. I hadn't heard that before. Is longer-form drama more popular over there then?

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Paul Hayes
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Re: Sherlock Holmes

Post by Paul Hayes »

andrew baker wrote:Weren't the feature length ones done to please Japanese buyers? I might be wrong.
Michael Cox's book doesn't make any mention of it being done to please overseas buyers, although of course he'd gone by this stage. He claims it was because the 90-minute episodes of Inspector Morse had been such a success for ITV.

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