Archive for April, 2013

News Bulletin 114

“Hello! Here is something interesting.”

Sherlock Season 3

Looks like John Watson is going to tie the knot in the upcoming new season. Episode 2 will be called ‘The Sign of Three,’ which enthusiasts will take as a signal to the plot of ‘The Sign of Four.’ Having glanced over the Belfast Telegraph article, you may also wish to look here and here. And here’s a summary of the new season to date.

And no prizes for guessing who John’s partner is going to be in his forthcoming nuptials – look no further than Martin Freeman’s long-term girlfriend Amanda Abbington, who it was recently announced is joining the cast. The Daily Mail feature includes a video and if you really, really want more, you can get it here and here.

Sherlock producer Sue Virtue was pleading with fans not to give locations away as filming in London got underway in early April nor to engage in plot spoiling on social media. Filming of episode 1 is now complete and it’s currently in post production, as episode 2 filming starts to roll.

Virtue’s pleas haven’t quite deterred all the happy snappers, who’ve been catching Sherlock jumping off the roof of St. Bart’s Hospital, in what seems to be a re-creation of the end scenes of season 2, episode 3 when the sleuth fell to his supposed death. Mind you, we don’t actually get to see anything all that dramatic in these online versions, from the Sun and the Daily Star. They’d kept those shots for the print editions.

Meanwhile, in another time and another place, Benedict Cumberbatch is preparing to beam-up!


Elementary 2, my dear Watson

On the back of strong viewing figures it’s hardly surprising to hear that CBS has ordered a second season of Elementary. The series continues to top Sky Living’s chart so it looks like we’ll be getting second helpings too, here in the UK and Ireland.

Natalie Dormer, one of the big stars of Game of Thrones (which is filmed in Belfast’s Titanic Studios!) is joining the cast in May and will feature in the 2-part season finale. Her role will be that of Irene Adler, who to Sherlock is always “the woman.”  See Elementary on set here.


First class male

A Royal Mail First Day Cover stamp featuring the late great Peter Cushing has sold out on its first day. That said, there were only eighty copies available, though each was priced at £20.

Not to worry, even if your budget didn’t stretch quite that far you can still get a brand-new set of Great Britons stamps which includes said Peter Cushing for only £6.50. You can’t mistake the reference to 221B on the stamp but we’re not sure if the picture of the actor was taken from one of his many appearances as the Baker Street sleuth or in something completely different.


The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes

The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes at Hoxton Hall is Leslie Bricusse’s revised version of Sherlock Holmes: The Musical. It’s presented by the company called Morphic Grafitti as a Music Hall entertainment. Roger Johnson, who has been to see it says “it’s an entirely appropriate approach, as Hoxton Hall is an almost unique survivor from the early days of the Music Hall, being only four years younger than the larger and more famous Wilton’s. It’s almost worth going just to experience the building,” adds Roger, “but in fact the play is highly entertaining and the production is a knockout.” He also tells us that “It’s exciting, funny and tuneful, with fine singing and invigorating dancing – and how can you resist a show in which Mrs Hudson is sawn in half and reassembled before your very eyes?” The Revenge of Sherlock Holmes is on until 10 May 2013.


Volunteers, my dear Watson!

Portsmouth is looking for volunteers to help bring more of the Conan Doyle Lancelyn Green Bequest archive out of storage and make it accessible to the public.


Is Doctor Who too sexy?

We couldn’t possibly comment, but this article does have a SH reference, which gives you an excuse, if you really need one for reading it.


The game is a footballer

A former Wigan footballer has turned detective. With a commendable degree of restraint, we’ve managed to avoid the obvious puns.


I’m made up for you, Watson!

Sherlock has gone undercover in a new commercial for Benefit cosmetics, proof of continuance in the belief that Sherlock sells. It’s hardly likely to win any advertising awards, though.


Talking to the Babes!

If you want to know what Roger Johnson and Jean Upton have been talking to the Baker Street Babes about, just listen here!


The excitement is building

Could this turn out to be a real blockbuster? Move over Bob!


Over exposure

Here we go, again! It wasn’t exactly Conan Doyle’s finest hour, but there’s still an enduring fascination about those fairies at the bottom of the garden.


Is this the face of the future?

You may want to look into this. 


Top 20 Sherlock Holmes on screen

Whether you agree with this selection or not, it’s still worth a glance over.


Frank Thornton remembered

Actor Frank Thornton who died 16 March 2013, aged 92, will no doubt be best remembered for his role as Captain Peacock in the BBC’s hugely popular comedy series Are You Being Served? Delving deeply into a favourite box set, we spotted that he had donned a deerstalker in the guise of a Scotland Yard detective, in episode 3, ‘The Hold Up.’ That was part of the tenth and final series. Will we be watching this episode at the next Birthday Celebration?

In his dotage, Thornton would play the role of a retired policeman called Herbert ‘Truly’ Truelove in the long-running BBC sitcom Last of the Summer Wine. Yes, it finally did run out (in 2010) of whatever had kept it going although you can still catch the repeats on Gold.

Frank Thornton also made a small contribution to our world in Billy Wilder’s classic The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) where he played a one-armed porter at the Diogenes Club, left in a state of angst by the refusal of Holmes and Watson to sign the visitors’ book.

A small but appreciative audience turned out for a somewhat late night showing of this homage to Baker Street at the QFT in Belfast on 18 April 2013, as part of the 13th Belfast Film Festival. An informative talk by writer Jonathan Coe served as a very credible introduction, but it was a pity he didn’t make time to mention the local angle. The late Colin Blakely, a son of Bangor in the County of Down was hugely enjoyable in the role of Dr. Watson.


Another coincidence

In our last Bulletin attention was drawn to the remarkable coincidence of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes having last been shown in Belfast ten year ago to the month of its latest appearance, and at the same venue. Looking through our annals, another coincidence has been detected exactly ten years prior to the earlier screening.

The Crucifer of Blood, which took its inspiration from The Sign of Four, stopped off in Belfast for a 5-day run at the Grand Opera House (Tuesday 6 – Saturday 10 April 1993). The play, which was on a nationwide tour, starred Mark Greenstreet, Susan Penhaligon, Michael Cashman and Michael Percival.

Writing in the Belfast Telegraph (7 April 1993), Grania McFadden concluded her review as follows: ‘Under Peter William’s direction this Victorian thriller treads perilously near the line marked ‘farce’, but just manages to keep its balance.’

Our indispensable webmaster Maurice aka ‘Spike’ Milligan, back in 1993 edited The Captain’s Log (a trim but short-lived little newsletter), in which he urged the crew to “grab the opportunity to indulge ourselves” as this was the first time in decades that a Holmes play had been staged in Belfast. Alex Kane arranged a special sailing and a party of crew turned up on the first night, and if memory serves us right, we all thoroughly “indulged ourselves.”


Archived at the British Library

Our website, which continues to be a work in progress, is now archived at the British Library.


Sailing Schedule




News Bulletin 113

“One of the more liberal and, at times, most mischievous interpretations of both the Canon and the leading characters” [Alex. Kane]


Classic Holmes Film For Belfast

Billy Wilder’s The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is being screened at the QFT Belfast on Thursday 18 April 2013 at 9.30pm as part of the 13th Belfast Film Festival.

Novelist Jonathan Coe, who says this 1970 cult classic is one of his favourites, will be introducing the film. The programme starts at 9.30, and with the film lasting 125 minutes, don’t expect to be leaving the cinema until around midnight. We aren’t organising a special outing, just leaving it up to members to make their own arrangements.



You can book online at Belfast Film Festival or at QFT. The price per person is £7.

You can also book in person at the Belfast Welcome Centre, 47 Donegall Place, Belfast, BT1 5AD. The Festival is a ticketless event so you’ll be given a receipt. Other events in what is a very impressive Festival line-up can also be booked there.

Alternatively you can just turn-up on the night at the QFT (from half an hour before the programme starts). However, to avoid possible disappointment, booking is the option we’d recommend.


Festival Programme

You can download a PDF of the entire programme brochure at Belfast Film Festival.

You can get a hard copy of this brochure (it’s free) from the Belfast Central Library, other Public Libraries in the Belfast area and also the Belfast Welcome Centre (see above). The QFT April brochure lists the film but doesn’t have anything else to say about it.


Down Memory Lane

For those who revel in this sort of thing, we can tell you that The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes had its Belfast premiere at the Avenue cinema (a Rank Odeon house) in Royal Avenue on Monday 22 February 1971. The building disappeared when the Castle Court shopping centre was built in the 1980s. The Avenue (previously the Regent, originally the Picture House) was directly opposite Garfield Street (still there).

The film ran at the Avenue for 6 days before moving out to the suburbs, for a 3-day run on Thursday 18 March at the Strand on the Holywood Road and also at the Majestic on the Lisburn Road. Both these cinemas were part of the ABC circuit, which also included “Ulster’s super cinema,” the Ritz in Fisherwick Place.

Further suburban sightings were also noted at the Stadium (Shankill Road) and the Broadway (Falls Road) the following month. Again, these were for 3-days runs (a normal feature in cinemas back then, particularly the suburban and provincial ones). Sadly almost all these picture palaces are now but a distant memory, the one exception being the Strand in the east of the city, now a 4-screen and still battling on in what is a fiercely contested market.

The Belfast Film Festival screening is not, as it turns out, the first time that the film has been shown in Belfast since the seventies. Ten years ago to the month (how’s that for a coincidence?) members of the Crew attended a public showing of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. The exact date was Friday 25 April 2003 and the venue was the same one as now – the QFT.

The screening of the film, under the banner of the cinema’s “Desert Island Movie” series had been arranged by our own Alex Kane, and the following month he wrote this capsule review for Chronicler (no.4, May 2003).

“Those of us, who gathered to watch The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes at the QFT, enjoyed one of the more liberal and, at times, most mischievous interpretations of both the Canon and the leading characters. Fortunately, as with many of the parodies, the audience left the cinema with their memories enriched and their understanding of Holmes and Watson deepened.”