“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”—Kurt Vonnegut (via ratsoff)
Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes. This alone should be incentive for you. The man is a wonder to watch, especially if you’ve never seen his portrayal before. At the time when the Granada series originally aired Basil Rathbone was universally regarded as the ultimate Sherlock Holmes, but that title would soon fall by the wayside once Jeremy breathed new life into the character. His Holmes became more than just a caricature. He became a fully fleshed and emotionally complex human being. Whilst battling mental illness and a heart condition that would eventually claim his life, Jeremy left us with a performance that a generation would identify as the one, the only, the definitive Sherlock Holmes.
David Burke as John Watson. Not only was David incredibly handsome but he possessed a youthful vigor and naiveté about him that was perfect for Watson pre-Reichenbach Falls. He also played the good doctor just as Doyle had written him; as a competent man of action with medical knowledge, and who was fiercely loyal to his friend. Honestly you couldn’t ask for a better companion to Jeremy’s Holmes during those early years. David was brilliant throughout his run, and his closing monologue in “The Final Problem” was both a heart-wrenching moment for his character and a bittersweet farewell to the actor himself.
Edward Hardwicke as John Watson. Normally replacing a lead actor spells certain doom for a series but the opposite is true with Granada and Edward was a worthy successor. He still played Watson as the man of action but also a wiser man, possibly due to his friend’s deception. Additionally Edward strongly believed that humor was the key to Holmes and Watson’s relationship, and this transcends beautifully on screen with the two men often behaving like an old married couple. The two actors may have also complimented one another so well because there was a real necessity for Edward to play Watson to his friend and co-star off camera as well as on.
The supporting cast. Namely Colin Jeavons as Inspector G. Lestrade, Charles Gray as Mycroft Holmes, and Rosalie Williams as the beloved and long-suffering landlady Mrs. Hudson. Notable guest stars include Gayle Hunnicutt as Irene Adler, the late Miranda Richardson as Violet Hunter, Anthony Valentine as Baron Adelbert Gruner, and Robert Hardy as Charles Augustus Milverton.
The 221B Baker Street set. This is how I imagined Holmes and Watson’s dwellings as a child and is probably my favourite interpretation of any adaptation.
The costumes. Victorian fashion galore. Top hats. Pinstripe trousers. Cravats. Naturally no Sherlock Holmes adaptation is complete without the famous deerstalker, and a surprise cameo by a fez is merely a bonus treat! What more can you ask for?
The locations. From grand English manors to quaint and quiet countrysides, the cobblestones of Baker Street to the desolate moors of Dartmour, the Granada production spared no expense in bringing authenticity of the Victorian era to life. The production even went so far as to travel to Switzerland to film “The Final Problem” against the backdrop of the Swiss Alps and the infamous death duel between Holmes and Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls.
The soundtrack. Composed by Patrick Gowers everything about this score feels exquisitely Holmesian. Available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon, you can also listen to the complete soundtrack here.
If your only exposure to Sherlock Holmes has been one of the three most recent adaptations (Guy Ritchie’s films, BBC Sherlock, and CBS’ Elementary), this is an unmissable opportunity for you to begin exploring the character’s long and varied film history, and the Granada production is a wonderful place to start. I’ve personally recommended this series to many new Sherlockians and none of them have walked away disappointed.
There’s a reason why the Granada series continues to have such a large and loyal fanbase today and that’s because it remains one of the most faithful undertakings of Doyle’s works ever attempted. Now I regret to say there isn’t a working masterpost on Tumblr at the present time, and sadly Netflix has pulled the series from their collection, but don’t lose hope just yet! The complete series is available for purchase from Amazon, and you’ll find it for even cheaper on Amazon U.K. but you’ll have to check that your Blu Ray/DVD player is compatible with Region 2 DVDs (my advice: treat yourself to an All Region player). Finally you can watch the complete series here on youtube. :)
ALL. OF. THIS.
The Granada Holmes and Watson were among my first heroes. I discovered them when I was 9 or 10 and am so very thankful my parents let me stay up late each week when Mystery! was on.
My number 11 to the list, something I’m glad I picked up on as a child when in that formative looking-for-male-role-models phase, is all the little kindnesses and platonic affection Holmes and Watson display towards each other and their clients. These were smart and good men, and above all, kind, even if they had their quirks and moments.
"So prepare for the coup of the century. Be prepared for the murkiest scam. Meticulous planning, tenacity spanning, decades of denial is simply why I’ll be king undisputed, respected, saluted and seen for the wonder that I am. Yes, my teeth and ambitions are bared, be prepared!"
“One of the great evils with which our own nation is menaced at the present time is the wonderful growth of wealth in the hands of a comparatively few individuals.”—The First Presidency,The Proclamation on the Economy (1875)