News Bulletin 50

“I shall take nothing for granted until I have the opportunity of looking personally into it.”

A Problem Solved!

Members will be aware that there has been a problem with updating the website (we won’t bore you with the technical details) since Tuesday 8 November 2011.

It is therefore pleasing to report that normal service has now resumed. The website has remained fully accessible to visitors during the period in question.

Interview With Anthony Horowitz.

Alex Kane conducted an interview with Anthony Horowitz, author of the new Sherlock Holmes novel The House of Silk, on 2 November at the Merchant Hotel, Belfast. You can read the interview in full on Alex’s Crow’s Nest page.

A shorter version of this interview appeared in the News Letter on 6 November (it’s a lot less Holmesian). That version can also be read on the newspaper’s website.

Review Of The House of Silk.

Alex’s review of the novel is being published in Mayday Mayday (no.113/November) which will be available to members shortly. It will subsequently be posted on the Crow’s Nest page. The review was originally published in the News Letter on 12 November 2011.

SH 2 Update!

A new special contents trailer for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows can be seen here.

Ahead of its cinema launch on 16 December 2011, Warner Bros are continuing to ramp-up the publicity with the issue of six new film posters.

New Fans For BBC Sherlock.

Roger Johnson has tipped us the wink that’s there’s a new fan site on the go for the BBC’s Sherlock series.

Alex Kane’s Viewer & Listener Update. 

We were unable to publish Alex’s preview of the week’s broadcasting (w/c 11 November) on the website last Friday due to the problem outlined above. However, we did manage to circulate the details to members via e-mail attachment instead. For the record, the article is reproduced below.


Alex. Kane’s Viewer & Listener Guide for November 12th – 18th, 2011.

For those of you who have been listening to Derek Jacobi’s reading of The House of Silk, it continues as Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime (10.45pm) from Monday to Friday.

*If you haven’t read the book, but are planning to, then avoid the radio pages of Radio Times, for every day carries a plot spoiler!

Those of you who have enjoyed Jacobi’s reading of Silk may be interested to know that he has done a series of Holmes stories for BBC Audiobooks—-all of which are available through Amazon.


Dressed to Kill, 1946 (TCM on Sky 317/Virgin 415 at 5.05pm) The last of the Rathbone/Bruce series this one is, frankly, bizarre. Best advice is to suspend your critical faculties and enjoy the inter-play between Holmes and Watson. Shortly after the film was released Rathbone decided not to renew either his film or radio contracts to play Holmes, hoping that he could escape from the character and do ‘other, better work.” Too late: for that generation he was Sherlock Holmes.

SUNDAY 13th:

Dressed to Kill, 1946 (TCM at 9.40am)

MONDAY 14th:

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (ITV 3 on Freeview 10/Freesat 115/Sky 119/Virgin 117 at 7.55pm)

Episode 2, Sixth Series—The Dying Detective (March 14, 1994) It always struck me that this is one of the most difficult episodes to pull off, because it also always struck me as pretty implausible that Watson could hide behind a bed-end for so long! But they get away with it—just.

T.R.Bowen, who wrote the screenplay, was also an occasional actor: so he invented the character of Charles Damant and played it himself. He also invented a role for comedian Roy Hudd. Hudd was to play Holmes for BBC Radio 2 in the 1999 series “The Newly Discovered Casebook of Sherlock Holmes,” with Chris Emmett as Watson and the wonderful June Whitfield as Mrs. Hudson. It was fairy bawdy stuff, but had its moments. Hudd also had a guest appearance in The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, with Clive Merrison as Holmes and Andrew Sachs as Watson. He played James Phillimore in an episode called “The Singular Inheritance of Miss Gloria Wilson.”

Jonathan Hyde had a role in Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking (BBC 2004) and Susannah Harker played Irene St Claire to Charlton Heston’s Holmes in the 1991 film “Crucifer of Blood.”

Sherlock Holmes, 2009 (Sky Crime/Thriller on Sky 307/Virgin437 at 1.35 pm and 9.00pm) While Robert Downey Jnr gives us a Holmes we have never really seen before (and I won’t complain about that) I still think this film is let down by a lousy plot, gorgonzola script and an awful lot of hamming-it-up from a cast who should know better. Guy Ritchie doesn’t seem to have understood that Holmes is a ‘thinking machine’ first and foremost.

The Tales of Max Carrados (BBC Radio 4 Extra on Freeview 708/Freesat 708/Sky 0131/Virgin 910 at 6.30am and repeated 1.30pm, 8.30pm and 1.30am) Max Carrados is the blind detective hero of a series of mystery stories and books by Ernest Bramah, beginning in 1914. The Carrados cases appeared alongside Sherlock Holmes in the Strand Magazine, in which they often had top billing, and frequently outsold his eminent contemporary at the time, even if they failed to achieve the longevity of Holmes. The story is read by Arthur Darvill—best known as Rory Williams, Amy Pond’s (the best ever companion!) husband in the wonderfully revived Doctor Who. This is the last episode of the present series.


The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (ITV 3 at 4.05pm)

Episode 1, Second Series—The Copper Beeches (August 25, 1985) It’s hard to believe, but apart from an uncredited role in “The Charge of the Light Brigade” in 1968, when she was only five; and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it turn in the 1984 television series “Oxford Blues,” this was Natasha Richardson’s first major role. And she is very good as Violet Hunter, one of my favourite characters from the Canon.

Great work, too, from the ever reliable Joss Ackland, as Jephro Rucastle. He had roles in “The Strange Case of the End of Civilisation As We Know It” (a rarely seen 1977 comedy with John Cleese as Holmes and Arthur Lowe as Watson) and Sherlock Holmes and the Incident at Victoria Falls ( a shouldn’t be seen 1991 film with Christopher Holmes and Patrick Macnee as possible the worst Holmes/Watson ever). (This should have read – ‘a shouldn’t be seen 1991 film with Christopher Lee and Patrick Macnee as possibly the worst Holmes/Watson ever.’ Crew advised by e-mail.)

The Return of Sherlock Holmes (Radio 4 Extra at 6.00am, 1.00pm, 8.00pm and 1.00am)

Episode 1—-The Empty House (February 24, 1993) Always good to hear this series again: and worth remembering that Clive Merrison and Michael Williams remain the only two actors to have completed the Canon.

Knowing Me, Knowing You, With Alan Partridge (Radio 4 Extra at 11.00pm) The radio talk show host Alan Partridge was a huge comic triumph for Steve Coogan. This first episode features Partridge’s interview with the entirely fictional author Lawrence Camley and

includes (almost at the start of the programme) a marvellous surreal dialogue between them about Sherlock Holmes and Conan Doyle. Very, very funny stuff.


The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (ITV 3 at 4.10pm)

Episode 2, Second Series—The Greek Interpreter (September 1, 1985) Charles Gray had been a very good Mycroft Holmes in the 1976 film “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution” (one of my favourite Holmes films), so it was always a pleasure to see him reprise the role in the Granada series.

My one major concern is with the screenplay, because I don’t think that Derek Marlowe has captured either the soul or sound of Holmes.

The Return of Sherlock Holmes (Radio 4 Extra at 6.00am, 1.00pm, 8.00pm and 1.00am)

Episode 2—The Norwood Builder (March 3, 1993) Another excellent dramatisation from Bert Coules is let down by the casting of Peter Sallis as Jonas Oldacre. The voice is always that of “Last of the Summer Wine” and “Wallace and Gromit” and it just grates on my ear! And you really should hear his portrayal of Hercule Poirot!!!!


The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (ITV 3 at 4.05pm)

Episode 3, Second Series—The Norwood Builder (September 8, 1985) A rare chance to watch a televised version of the story after the radio version the previous day.

I wouldn’t disagree with Michael Cox’s view that Colin Jeavons was “the best Lestrade of his generation.”

The Return of Sherlock Holmes (Radio 4 Extra at 6.00am, 1.00pm, 8.00pm and 1.00am)

Episode 3—The Dancing Men (March 10, 1993).

FRIDAY 18th:

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (ITV 3 at 4.05pm)

Episode 4, Second Series—The Resident Patient (September 15, 1985) Nicholas Clay, who plays Dr. Trevelyan, had played Stapleton in “The Hound of the Baskervilles” in 1983, with Ian Richardson as Holmes. Patrick Newell, who plays Blessington, appeared in “A Study In Terror (1965), “Young Sherlock Holmes” (1985) and also played Lestrade in a 1980 Holmes series for Polish television. Sadly, though, this is just a so-so adaptation of what is, admittedly, not one of Doyle’s best stories.

The Return of Sherlock Holmes (Radio 4 Extra at 6.00am, 1.00pm, 8.00pm and 1.00am)

Episode 4—The Solitary Cyclist (March 17, 1993) I have already mentioned Susannah Harker—who plays Violet Smith—in my comments about “The Dying Detective.” Denis Quilley, playing Bob Carruthers, had played Leon Sterndale in “The Devil’s Foot” with Jeremy Brett in 1988.