The series, which came out in 1979 and 1980, was overshadowed by the Granada series and, to a lesser extent, the two films starring Ian Richardson. Before this weekend, the only knowledge I had of the series came from the internet and this book, from my collection.
When it came to my attention that the series was to be found on YouTube I couldn't resist.
The series is closely modelled on its 1950s predecessor which starred Ronald Howard and, like that series, was produced by Sheldon Reynolds. As before, each episode is 30 minutes and spends most of the time plodding along quite slowly before wrapping things up rapidly in the last few minutes.
That said, I really enjoyed it. The casting is particularly good for certain roles. Geoffrey Whitehead makes a very cerebral Holmes and Donald Pickering is very good casting as Watson. A point I've made before is that actors who take on the role of Watson tend to either focus on the doctor or the soldier and I think Pickering convinces more as a former soldier than he does a doctor. That said, he is still a fine Watson.
Patrick Newell is a comedy Lestrade and was destined to find his way into the Granada series as Mr Blessington in The Resident Patient. Despite being a comedy Lestrade he was not portrayed as entirely stupid and his bravery is never seriously questioned.
As you watch the series, you see many actors used more than once. Notable amongst them is Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey fame and others who would turn up in British soap operas.
It's a shame that the series does not appear to be available to buy. That needs to be remedied. I believe there would be a market for it.
Written by Alistair DuncanBuy my books here