Jump to content
Alice Holmes

Jeremy Brett

Recommended Posts

While the 90 minute format the BBC chose for Sherlock might be a bit of a stretch, I do not find it lacking in flavor.  For me, anyway, it pops, it fizzes joyfully. It never gets old, never gets boring and there is enough of the canon so I can still taste it.

 

Yes, bringing Sherlock Holmes into the 21st Century was a whole lot of a risk taking. Like Cumberbatch has said in one interview, it could have been just a corny rip off. But in light of the brilliant acting, it hit heights not even Moffat and Gatiss ever dreamed of. It's reception world wide is just so positive. It has got people talking "Sherlock Holmes" and that hasn't happened in a good many years.

 

True, there are some weak points in the plot lines. "The Blind Banker" being a case in point.  But even that gets watched over and over and over again.

 

If there is something to be said for a "Sherlock Holmes" watered down and tasteless, for me anyway, it's Elementary.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 (and yes, that's a very good expression in this context).

Thank you for your help.

 

 

 

Bakerstreet Irregular, I think we are talking at cross-purposes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bakerstreet Irregular, I think we are talking at cross-purposes.

Not sure about that, but if we are, we might have to agree to disagree and leave it at that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is probably a good idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But at least we share a deep love and appreciation of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and here we both are in the Forum, so it's all good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, that is quite true.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fox, I believe that Selena's original comment (and definitely my response to it) referred to the Jeremy Brett series, where one single ACD short story would be made into an entire (60-minute?) episode.  That's never really the case with Sherlock (or with Elementary, for that matter). The only single-story episodes that have been aired so far are "A Study in Pink" and "The Hounds of Baskerville," which are based on novels, and "A Scandal in Belgravia," which is based on a single short story, but adds a major sub-plot of its own ("the flight of the dead").

 

So I don't see that you're disagreeing at all, merely talking about two different things.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Carol has a point. Many of the short ACD stories don't even take 60 minutes to read.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Carol has a point. Many of the short ACD stories don't even take 60 minutes to read.

That is true enough. Maybe that's why Moftiss and Co. went with the longer stories for their rewrites and give only passing nods to the shorter ones like "The Adventure of the Black Peter". But then the original format was only supposed to be 60 minutes hence The Unaired Pilot. Was it the BBC who decided they wanted the 90 minute episodes?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to the accounts I've heard, yes, it was the BBC's idea.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm. But they do it excellently, so, I'm not complaining.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Alex and I have finally started watching the Brett series on our Region 1 DVD boxed set.  He happened to notice that the first episode ("A Scandal in Bohemia") has a run time, according to the DVD player's display screen, of 52 minutes.  The program ran in a 60-minute time slot on PBS, and 60 - 52 = 8.  That number sounds awfully familiar!  I'm wondering whether we really have "The Complete Granada Television Series," or merely a truncated PBS broadcast version.

 

Could someone with a Region 2 DVD please check the length of "Scandal" on your DVD player's display screen?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

HA! We've caught them. Eight MUST be their favourite number.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you have the Region 2 DVD, Alice?  I'd be very interested to know what running time your player shows (on whatever display screen it has that shows that sort of thing).  One web site that I consulted said that the regular episodes really are about 50 minutes long, but I have no idea which side of the Atlantic that figure came from.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As mentioned, we recently started watching the Jeremy Brett DVDs.  So far, we've seen nine episodes, of which I had already read seven, and near as I recall, most of them are very faithful to the stories.  However, tonight we watched "The Greek Interpreter," and I was amazed at how far the endings diverged, including a radically different assessment of Sophia by Holmes.

 

Does anyone have any idea why a series that is generally so faithful might have made this particular exception?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  I've often wondered that myself and I certainly don't have an answer for it. They had a couple of writers for that series and I guess they weren't always consistent on their interpretations of Doyle's writings nor with each others works on the show. And then there was Jeremy's increasingly bad health they had to deal with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just finished re-reading "The Illustrious Client" and realized that the Jeremy Bret Holmes series had changed the story quite a lot. Which, I'm not sure why they did that. The solution - the saving of the young woman from a disastrous (and possibly fatal) marriage involved a book kept by the bad guy (the Victorian version of secret sex tapes made by the bad guy with various young women he'd used and ruined) that Holmes finds and shows to the young lady which proves her fiance was an evil cad. In the story a girl that he has ruined also tries to convince the girl that the man is evil only because she wants him to suffer for what he did to her (which is turn her to prostitution and then abandon her we can assume from the subtle hints in the texts). This girl ends up throwing acid on the bad guys face and he ends up a broken man blind and disfigured and unable to ruin anyone ever again.

 

In the series, the "prostitute" has been disfigured by acid and she does likewise to him. The wealthy young lady ends up taking care of the fiance and presumably marrying him, and Holmes burns the book - I don't remember if he showed it to the girl and she refused to look at it or what - but the results are very different.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  I've often wondered that myself and I certainly don't have an answer for it. They had a couple of writers for that series and I guess they weren't always consistent on their interpretations of Doyle's writings nor with each others works on the show. And then there was Jeremy's increasingly bad health they had to deal with.

 

"The Greek Interpreter" is just the ninth episode, though, aired in '85 -- so Brett was still in relatively good health.

 

OK, lemme check the writers' credits -- TGI was dramatized by Derek Marlowe, who did only one other episode, "The Resident Patient," which we have not yet watched.  It'll be interesting to see whether he "improved" upon that story as well!

 

Added:  I see why the 52-minute episode length -- this was originally broadcast on ITV, not the BBC, so the other eight minutes were of course for commercials.  Can't blame PBS for this one!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just finished re-reading "The Illustrious Client" and realized that the Jeremy Bret Holmes series had changed the story quite a lot. Which, I'm not sure why they did that....

 

Hey, wildwoodflower, nice to see a new post from you!  I haven't watched that episode yet, nor have I read the story.  I'll try to remember to compare the two when we get to the episode.

 

But it does appear that the Brett series wasn't always as faithful to the original stories as it's reputed to be.  I wonder what the other exceptions might be?  And why?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was just discussing this with Alex, and he suggests that the changes may be due to the television rule that the bad guys can't get away with it.  I suppose this applies to "The Greek Interpreter" in the sense that in the original story, Sophia ends up apparently taking the law into her own hands -- though it could just as well be termed self-defense, I should think.

 

Wildwoodflower, how well do you think that rule might explain the changes to "The Illustrious Client"?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Carol--

 

I'm not sure about the Region 2 DVD thing, I'm not sure if I even know what that is... I'm assuming you mean British versus American DVDs? Perhaps? I'm not very learned about the inner workings of DVDs, sorry. I do know the earth goes round the sun, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do know the earth goes round the sun, though.

 

Good show, Alice!  You're more knowledgeable than Sherlock Holmes!

 

I do think I've gotten it figured out, though -- the show was aired in the UK on ITV, so it would've had commercial breaks all along, not just for PBS.  And yes, Region 1 includes the US, and Region 2 includes the UK.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was just discussing this with Alex, and he suggests that the changes may be due to the television rule that the bad guys can't get away with it.  I suppose this applies to "The Greek Interpreter" in the sense that in the original story, Sophia ends up apparently taking the law into her own hands -- though it could just as well be termed self-defense, I should think.

 

Wildwoodflower, how well do you think that rule might explain the changes to "The Illustrious Client"?

Well he does seem to get away with it though.  Although he's horribly disfigured, the wealthy young woman he was engaged to doesn't leave him (see may never have seen the book) and instead decides to dedicate her life to taking care of him (or something like that) and Holmes burns the book in the stove or fireplace rather than having given it over to the young lady so she'd know what kind of a man she intended to marry. It's the fact that the 'prostitute' had herself been disfigured in the show - that may have been intended so that her act of throwing acid in his face seemed justified. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, I've looked up something Alex mentioned to me the other day (and what I had posted about it before was so mixed up that I've just deleted that part).  This sheds a bit of light on the modifications (and implies that the later episodes may be more accurate):

 

 


(On deciding he wanted to play Holmes, after rereading the entire canon) "And I discovered all sorts of things that I could do if I had had the opportunity to do it. So I said 'yes!', with enormous temerity, and a certain amount of fear, and an element of excitement. We approached the scripts. I said, 'But you've asked me to do Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. These aren't Sherlock Holmes - Doyle's stories.' I mean, the adapters had gone so far away. And the script editor said, 'Jeremy, you're here to act. Just get on with it'. And I tipped the table over and my Dover sole landed in his lap. And that was the beginning of the tousle. I used to take the whole canon with me to...the beginning of each film, and fight for Doyle. After about a year and a half I said, 'Listen, if you don't start taking care of me I may lose interest', because it was such a tussle. But than Granada Studios stepped in and were so remarkable and wonderful and gave me two weeks rehearsal instead of the one. So the first week I could fight for Doyle and the second week I could work with my fellow actors. And that's basically how it's been ever since. (November 1991 interview)

 

(That's from Brett's IMDb biography.)

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, ha, thanks Carol! I've only ever known that American and British DVDs were different.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of UseWe have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.Privacy PolicyGuidelines.