"the records of your detective have reached us here" [HOUN]
Without a doubt, one of the most influential and memorable portayals of Sherlock Holmes in recent years is Jeremy Brett in the Granada / ITV production.
And it was exactly 35 years ago today — on March 14, 1985 — that The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes made its premiere on American television via PBS.
Michael Cox was the brainchild behind the production, and with the assistance of John Hawkesworth and a number of other writers, brought the series to life in an authentic Victorian era setting. It was lavishly produced and is remembered (at least in the first two or three series) as being very faithful to the original Canon.
Starring Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes and David Burke as a level-headed, intelligent and ready-for-action Watson, the series burned an image of Sherlock Holmes into the minds of an entire generation. The series brought us guest stars that included such notables as Eric Porter, Roger Hammond, Jeremy Kemp, Joss Ackland, Gayle Hunnicut and many more.
And when it played on PBS in the States, it was broadcast on Mystery! (later Masterpiece Mystery), with the inimitable Vincent Price as the host. His introductions were a highlight of the airings.
For a behind the scenes look at how the series came together and the challenges associated with mounting such a serious production, A Study in Celluloid by Michael Cox himself does a wonderful job of getting into the details. [Disclosure: the book is published by Wessex Press, one of the sponsors of our podcast Trifles. Please support them.]
Other excellent books about the Granada series:
Starring Sherlock Holmes: A Century of the Master Detective on Screen by David Stuart Davies
Bending the Willow: Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes
Granada's Greatest Detective: A Guide to the Classic Sherlock Holmes Television Series by Keith Frankel
The Television Sherlock Holmes by Peter Haining
The Granada Companion Number One: A Sherlock Holmes Album by Kenneth Harris
If you'd like to claim the same ambiance as the show while you're reading, then you need to listen along to the soundtrack to the Granada Sherlock Holmes by Patrick Gowers. We remembered him when he passed away five years ago.
If you're in the listening mood, you could also pop in I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere Episode 33: Remembering Edward Hardwicke.
And while you're at it, we'd also suggest that you kick back this evening and celebrate three and a half decades of Granada by watching one of those early episodes. The series is available on a DVD box set, Blu-ray box set, and can be watched streaming on BritBox as well.
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