News Bulletin 286

“You are engaged,” said I, “Perhaps I interrupt you.”*

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the season, as we hurtle at alarming speed towards the “Big Day”, thoughts of what’s on the goggle box over the “Festive Fortnight” may have crossed  your minds. Picking our way through the slush of the schedules, which is no mean feat in itself, the only sign of anything new (this is strictly Holmes talk, not some sort of general viewing guide!) is Elementary. The repeat of new season 5, episode 1 is tonight (18th) at 11.00pm on Sky Living. Episode 2 is this Tuesday (20th) at 9.00pm, repeated Christmas Eve at 9.00pm  and also Christmas Day at 11.00pm.  Talking of Christmas Eve, this is an Elementary feast day as Sky Living is repeating 8 episodes from season 3 in a back-to-back run starting at 1.00pm. Returning to season 5, episode 3 is on Tuesday 27th at 9.00pm.

The rest appear to be all repeats, mostly golden oldies (some of them a touch jaded, perhaps); for instance, on TCM there’s Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce in The Hound of the Baskervilles  and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (both Fox 1939), as well as a smattering of Universal offerings – Sherlock Holmes and the Spider Woman (1944) and Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (1942). The films in the line up are on between Tuesday 20th and Thursday 22nd, some more than once – we leave it to you to investigate.

A more recent production is Sherlock Holmes, the 2009 Warner blockbuster starring Robert Downey Jnr. and Jude Law; it’s on the Action/Adventure channel for the nth time, this Tuesday (20th) at 5.45pm.

For those of you who are restricted to Freeview, there is just one thing; The Sign of Four is a feature length episode from the Granada series – look out for the appearance of John Thaw as Jonathan Small. It is on ITV3 tomorrow (19th) at 11.00pm. An episode from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes series (also Granada) can be seen on ITV Encore (subscribers only) at 4.05pm on the 23rd.

As for radio, it’s all dead air as far as Holmes goes. For you audio fans, perhaps it’s time to make a long arm for those favourite cd’s (and cassettes?) once again (or go online – have a look at the free stuff on our TV & Radio links page).

Have we missed anything?

The Compliments of the Season to all the crew and to Holmesians and Sherlockians everywhere!

Blue Christmas (for those who enjoy a Christmas story without the slush)






News Bulletin 285

‘… it could hardly fail to end in such a situation’*

Sherlock: The Final Problem

At last we have a title for the third episode of the new BBC Sherlock series (this is No.4); it’s ‘The Final Problem’. Is this, finally, the end of the line for this hugely successful series? Or, is it another red herring?

The third episode will also be shown in selected cinemas across the UK/Ireland at the same time as the BBC1 screening (“I expect developments, Watson”).

Radio Times are doing another of their “Free” giveaways of Sherlock Holmes books (starting with issue w/c 31st Dec); T&Cs will apply. The issue will also carry full details of episode 1, ‘The Six Thatchers’, which is set to air on Sun 1 Jan 2017 on BBC1.

Elementary….it’s game on!

Fans of Elementary will be rejoicing in the news that new season 5 (which we all thought had been delayed until the New Year) will now launch this Tue (13th Dec) at 9.00pm on Sky Living (the repeat is on Sat 17th at 10.00pm). More good news: There will be no mid-season break during the entire 24 episode run.

Conan Doyle….the detail is in the retail

Those of you who like to see portrayals of Conan Doyle on screen, and who didn’t catch this one first time round, may wish to check out Mr Selfridge, episode 7/10 (series 1), which is being repeated on ITV3 this Tue (13th) at 10.00pm. Not to worry if you miss it though…you won’t have missed much.



News Bulletin 284

“There is material here. There is scope,” said he.

Crew are reminded that the May Day sails at 3.00pm tomorrow, Sunday, October 30th. Available crew should report for duty by 2.45 so that rations can be dispensed and cargo loaded. Details of this sailing are in the current issue of Mayday Mayday.

For those who haven’t seen the official trailer for the BBC Sherlock Series 4, watch it below. Episode 1 will air on New Year’s Day.

News Bulletin 283

“After a month of trivialities and stagnation, the wheels move once more”

Ever since our last post back in May, the blinds at the shipping office have been half-drawn (and the shutters down) as we’ve been otherwise pre-occupied with non-Sherlockian matters. Having said all that, these encumbrances haven’t hindered the production of a 16 page Mayday Mayday which members will have received at the start of last week. This explains, at least in part, why we decided to go to ground over the summer (what summer?) period and keep stum.

That’s all behind us now as we cry “Heap it on, stokers!” and board our beloved ship, the S.S. May Day, for another season of playing the grand game.  The first scheduled sailing is Sunday 25 September, departing from Canary Wharf, and we’ll be weighing anchor at 3.00pm sharp.

Our case for investigation is ‘The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge’ (Wist) – so get reading! We’ll also be embarking on a new Jeremy Brett film season (Hoorah!) – JB6, commencing with ‘The Red-headed League’.

News Bulletin 282

“I am glad of all details whether they seem to be relevant or not”

Annual Outing Sailing/Reel Back 3

The final sailing of the year is this coming Sunday (29 May). We still have one or two places left to fill so the booking deadline has therefore been extended to tomorrow, Tuesday (24th), closing at midnight.


Sherlock 3: Action at last

Just when it looked as if it was going nowhere fast (actually, slow), we now hear that filming of Sherlock Holmes 3 may/will start this Fall.


Toby Jones for  BBC Sherlock villain 

Meanwhile, Toby Jones, who was marvellous in the 2014 TV Movie Marvellous but not quite so marvellous in the 2016 Dad’s Army Movie, is being cast as a villain in the fourth Sherlock series (to air January 2017?). Expect to see him in episode 2. The question of the moment is this: Which villain will he play?







News Bulletin 281

Douglas Wilmer 1920-2016

“I play the game for the game’s own sake,” said he.

Thursday 31 March 2016 had been already clouded by the news that the comedy legend Ronnie Corbett had passed away earlier in the day. Then in the afternoon more sad news started coming down the wire; Douglas Wilmer had also died.

There’s a tribute to “an incomparable actor”  on the Sherlock Holmes Society of London website. Douglas was an Honorary Member of that Society; he was a true Holmesian gentleman.

The sad news about Douglas has come too late for us to cover it adequately in our next newsletter (No. 138, due mid April). Already completed, bar the inevitable proof read, we didn’t want to disturb it at this stage so will pay our due respects in the May issue (mid month). In the meantime, this short Bulletin must suffice.

As for the newsletter itself, contributions (short, long or in between) re Douglas Wilmer (and anything else) are invited. These must reach the office by 20 April to be considered for inclusion.

There’ll also be an opportunity for those present at the next RSS (Sunday 24 April) to talk about the great actor, after we’ve watched the last episode in our current Douglas Wilmer Season – The Devil’s Foot.

We aren’t aware of any direct links between Ronnie Corbett and Sherlock Holmes but his wife Anne Hart was the Music Hall singer in The Illustrious Client, the first episode in the Douglas Wilmer Sherlock Holmes 1964-5 series. By a quirk of fate, the crew watched this at the last sailing.

We’ve included a nice picture of Douglas Wilmer on our Home page.



News Bulletin 280

“You are engaged,” said I; “perhaps I interrupt you”*

Houdini & Doyle for ITV

Access to Houdini & Doyle will not be limited to ITV Encore viewers after all. Episode 1 of this new series will premiere on both ITV and ITV Encore on Sunday 13 March 2016 at 10.15pm. The trailer is here.

The series will then continue on ITV Encore only (Sky & Now TV) from Thursday 17 March at 9.00pm each week. It will also air on Fox in the US from 2 May.


Sherlock Holmes on Radio4 Extra

BBC Radio4 Extra is currently running The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series, starring Clive Merrison and Michael Williams. Episode 6, ‘The Man with the Twisted Lip’ (details here), is this Monday (7 March) at 11.15am, with further episodes daily from Tuesday through to Friday at the same time.

To catch up on the series to date, click here.

The BBC Complete Audio Sherlock Holmes

Episode Guide


Next Sailing

Crew intending to sail at the next RSS are reminded that it is the third Sunday of the month. The scheduled date is 20 March, departing from Canary Wharf at 3.00pm. Brief details are here. The current issue of Mayday Mayday (No.137) carries additional details.






News Bulletin 279

‘I was seized with a keen desire to see Holmes again’*

Back onboard!

Following our short midwinter break, sailings will resume on Sunday 28 February at 3.00pm (sharp). Our captain of the day is David Houston; our point of departure is Osborne Quay. Our study and study quiz is on Abbe and we’ll be watching the first instalment in our new film series, The Douglas Wilmer Season.

Members will find full details of this sailing (as well as March) in the next issue of Mayday Mayday (No.137). It will be emailed out on 14 February.

The March sailing has been brought forward by one week, to Sunday 20th, because the fourth Sunday of the month (27th) is Easter Sunday.

You can always find brief details of the Sailing Schedules online.


Talking about Conan Doyle in Belfast (again)

I’ll be giving an extended version (almost 50 minutes long, the original one at the Ulster Hall last May was 20 minutes) of my talk, ‘Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in Belfast: The 1925 Visit’ on Thursday 11 February at Belmont Tower, 82 Belmont Church Road, Belfast, BT4 3FG.

Please note that this event, which is one in a series of monthly meetings held under the auspices of the East Belfast Historical Society, starts at 7.30pm sharp (doors open 7.00) – it will finish by 9.00pm. There is a visitor charge of £3.


Moriarty – the Irish connections

Why did Conan Doyle choose the name Moriarty for Holmes’ nemesis? Radio Kerry asked me to talk about this on the Jerry O’Sullivan Show on 20 January 2016. The Podcast lasts c.10 minutes – you can listen to it here.          


NI Science Festival: Sherlock Holmes, CSI & Geology

Unfortunately it’s too late for this one (Sold out!).


And finally

Scott Monty has been paying tribute to Frank Finlay, who has passed away at the age of 89. His multitude of roles, across cinema, TV and stage, included Inspector Lestrade in both A Study in Terror and Murder by Decree.


Edited by Oscar Ross             *Scan161

News Bulletin 278

“and then you can judge if you will listen to the details”*

Listening post

BBC Radio4 Extra, Thursday 7 January and Friday 8 January 2016 at 6.00am, 8.00pm and 1.00am.  James Nickerson reads from the ‘Devil’s Foot’ (published in 1910 and set in 1897), in which Holmes is recuperating in deepest Cornwall when death strikes a local family. The reading is split into two parts.

We are sailing

Following tonight’s Birthday Celebration (Many happy returns to both Sherlock and Margaret!), the next scheduled departure is the RSS on Sunday 28 February. Details of this and the rest of the upcoming voyages for the remainder of the 2015/2016 season are here.

Mayday Mayday

The next issue (No.237) will be mid February, pushed back from mid January (as announced a few days ago) to allow for additional coverage of the Sherlock special. Feedback on the episode is still welcome, from members and non-members alike. The copy deadline is 15 January.



News Bulletin 277

“There is just one thing” (again)

It’s Sherlock night!

As if you could have forgotten, the special Sherlock episode is on BBC One  and RTÉ2 tonight at 9.00pm. It’s repeated on BBC Three tomorrow at 9.10pm. It’s also being shown simultaneously in selected cinemas across the UK/Ireland. The only NI venue is the Odeon Victoria Square. Info/booking re all cinemas is here.