08th May, No Comments
By John Watson
In Part 2 we start in 1983 with a humorous series of six programmes entitled “The Second Holmes” (no jokes about MPs’ expenses please!). This starred Peter Egan as Stamford Holmes – supposedly Sherlock’s grandson – and Jeremy Nicholas as my grandson! I have located a source for recordings of these shows and so will reserve my judgement until I have listened to them.
Another one-off programme followed in 1986 with Tim Piggot-Smith (Holmes) and Andrew Hilton (Watson) in The Valley of Fear.
In 1987 a series of twenty four adaptations from the Canon were produced which were intended to be heard by passengers on British Airways long-haul flights. These starred Roy Marsden as Holmes and John Moffatt in my role. Although not intended for the radio, six of the shows were aired on the BBC World Service so they are included here for completeness. So far I have been unable to track down recordings of these shows.
Then, in 1988, the BBC aired a one-off production of The Hound of the Baskervilles in two one-hour episodes with Roger Rees as Holmes and Crawford Logan as Watson. So began Bert Coules long association with Sherlock Holmes.
The programmes were such a great success that it was decided to do two more novels [STUD, SIGN] but with a new cast as Roger Rees was not available. Clive Merrison took the part of Holmes and Michael Williams in what is, in my opinion, the best portrayal of myself on the radio.
Again these were succcessful and the fifty-six short stories were dramatised in five series following the order of the stories as they usually appear in the collections – The Adventures, The Memoirs, The Return, His Last Bow and The Case-Book. Finally the two remaining novels [VALL, HOUN] were produced, the latter with the new leading players making Merrison and Williams the only actors to have played Holmes and Watson across the complete Canon of sixty stories.
This series ended in 1998 but the stories are regularly broadcast on BBC7 and are available as a boxed set or separately in eighteen volumes.
Whilst this series was running, a series of six non-canonical tales were broadcast in 1993 on BBC Radio 5. The Unopened Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, written by John Taylor, has a slightly humorous and bizarre slant to it with Simon Callow as Holmes and Nicky Henson as me. A book of the stories is available as are recordings of the programmes. I have also heard that towards the end of November this year there will be four new adventures entitled “The Rediscovered Railway Mysteries”.
Then in 1999 there were six episodes of The Newly Discovered Casebook of Sherlock Holmes. When I tell you that the last episode concerned a gas-powered pornography ring and Holmes is played by Roy Hudd you will, I hope, understand that this is a comedy series! As far as I know, there are no commercially available recordings but they were played on BBC 7 late last year and again recently.
He also appeared in The Singular Inheritance of Miss Gloria Wilson which presents a pleasing explanation to the strange disappearance of Mr. James Philimore (played by an unusually restrained Roy Hudd) as mentioned in Thor Bridge and is one of The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes which Bert Coules wrote and produced based on some of the other cases that I mentioned that Holmes was involved in but, for one reason or another, I have never put into print.
So, without further adieu we now begin to look across the Atlantic to Holmes on American Radio. Tune in next time for more exciting adventures!
Posted in Radio