Archive for November, 2014

Holmes Christmas List 2014

It is that time of the year when I look at what might be a welcome gift at Christmas who devotees of the Great Detective.

This year the list is quite short because, although there is a lot of Holmes material about, it is not all of good quality.

221 BBC

221BBC newBack in 1989, the BBC launched a project to record the complete canon with same principal actors, Clive Merrison as Holmes and Michael Williams played my part .

Nine years later they achieved it and, though Williams sadly died in 2001, 16 “Further Adventures” recalling some of my undocumented cases were broadcast with Andrew Sachs taking Williams place.

Bert Coules, the series originator and head writer, has updated his book “221 BBC” chronicling the series.

I have reviewed the book in detail here.

Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

91shhRTkNFL._SX522_Sadly, this complete set of the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes is so far only available in the USA (but it is “region free” so should be viewable in the UK)  and these are just the same transfers as on the DVD but this time they are in High Definition. All the bonus content is exactly the same as on the DVD set including the booklet authored by Richard Valley.

The packaging is very poor, though with a thin cardboard sleeve holding the stack of “digipacs” each holding two discs.

A Sherlock Holmes Monopoly

Monopoly-Cover-LR927It has often been said that London is one of the main characters in my stories about Holmes and this unique book to accompany the standard Monopoly game guides you through the idiosyncrasies of the Monopoly board and explains how the chosen properties relate to the adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

There is a Sherlock Holmes Monopoly Treasure Hunt that you can play by actually visiting the sites featured on the Monopoly board, solving clues as you go. Besides the excitement of buying and selling, the game is a wonderfully entertaining way of exploring London in the footsteps of the master detective.

The Man Who Never Lived and Will Never Die

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The Museum of London has a new exhibition, form now until next April delving into “the mind of the world’s most famous detective”. I have not yet been to the exhibition but when I do I will be reporting on it here.

In the meantime, this is the official book of the exhibition and it uses the Museum’s collection to highlight the features of the London that Holmes and I inhabit in particular its fogs, Hansom cabs, criminal underworld, famous landmarks and streets.

Sherlock: Chronicles

91cBIh-qAyL._SL1500_With the next series of the BBC Sherlock still at least a year away (there are some rumours that it might be even longer) this book helps to fill the gap.

It’s a comprehensive guide to the BBC series. It contains previously unseen material, interviews with the cast and crew.

It covers each episode in detail and has hundreds of illustrations of  the artwork, photographs, costume and set designs.

 

Elementary – Season Two

elementary-season-2-dvd-cover-49Now into its third season it still seems to me to be a matter of quantity over quality whereas the BBC Sherlock is the opposite but at least we don’t have to wait so long for another story!

Nevertheless it seems to be doing for New York what my original stories did for London and it’s no surprise that it’s very popular in the USA.

Here are the 24 episodes from the second season.

So that’s this year’s Christmas list and it just remains for me to wish all my readers a Very Merry Christmas!

JHW Signature

221 BBC

As those of you who know your radio Holmes and Watson or have read an earlier article of mine on Bert Coules, this is the title of the book Coules wrote about the “world’s only complete dramatised canon and beyond”.

221BBC originalIt has been been out of print for some time having been originally written for the Northern Musgraves, an English Sherlock Holmes group. This original, Musgrave Monograph No.9 was published in 1998 and ran to about 76 pages. The BBC included a revised version as part of their boxed set of the audiocassettes of the complete original broadcast canon. But these eventually ran out.

Towards the end of 2011 Coules was approached by the Wessex Press to produce an updated version for their Sherlock Holmes publications (Gasogene Books) and this has now been published.

Anyone who might not have heard of Coules can listen to two podcasts from I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere (Episode 68 and 69) where his knowledge of Holmes and Watson and especially of their history on radio even manages to put the knowledgeable hosts of the show right on a couple of points. Another interesting point that Coules makes is that he sees my stories as “stories about a detective and not detective stories”, exactly the same view as that held by Gatiss and Moffat, the creators of the BBC Sherlock series.

221BBC newThe new, revised and expanded 221 BBC book now runs to nearly 300 pages.

Following a foreword by Clive Merrison, who played Holmes throughout the series and an introduction to the new edition from Bert Coules, it starts off with a wonderfully detailed history of Holmes and Watson on the radio and weaves into this how Coules became involved at the BBC.

He then takes us through the casting and production of The Hound of the Baskervilles with Roger Rees as Holmes and Crawford Logan as me which was broadcast in two hour-long episodes in May and June 1988.

Following the success of this production the BBC decided to produce the whole Canon but with new leads. Clive Merrison was to be Holmes and Michael Williams was to take on my role.  A Study In Scarlet and The Sign of the Four (note the “correct” title) were also broadcast each in two hour-long episodes in November and December 1989.

The books takes us through The Adventures, The Memoirs, The Return, His Last Bow, The Casebook and The Valley of Fear before re-recording The Hound of the Baskervilles using a new script with Merrison and Williams.

Interesting in the script for The Lion’s Mane that Coules has come up with an explanation of the incorrect spelling of “lama” in The Empty House. I could write a book myself on the problems Arthur and I had with The Strand.

The idea of writing radio plays around some of the cases I had mentioned but not detailed as part of the Canon had occurred to Coules before the Canon was completed but by the time it became a reality, Michael Williams had sadly died. Andrew Sachs picked up my role from there and 16 Further Adventures were produced. The book covers these before rounding off with the script of The Abergavenny Murder (a case I mentioned in The Priory School) and cast and broadcast details of all the broadcasts.

The podcasts from I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere mentioned above add to the information in the book and the presenters praise Coules for the way he handled the individual stories adding material where it was necessary to support radio broadcasts. Coules has a stage play based on The Lion’s Mane and would love to produce a television series setting my stories back in their original Victorian setting.

Meanwhile, the complete Sherlock Holmes Radio Collection and the Further Adventures are available on Amazon in the UK and USA but mainly as the separate series – the complete sets are now difficult to find.

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