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A very poor UK release of a fine series - seek out the Region 1 set instead
on 12 March 2012
The followup series to David Pirie's excellent two-part Christmas special speculating on the origins of Sherlock Holmes in the young Arthur Conan Doyle's increasingly Watson-like relationship with the real life Dr Joseph Bell (superbly played by Ian Richardson, a former small screen Holmes), a brilliant physician with a keen sense of deductive reasoning, Murder Rooms had a sadly brief run: four episodes, two of them excellent, two less so. Never given much of a push by the BBC despite strong ratings for the original `pilot' story, it was never picked up for a second series, and this repackaged UK DVD release is something of a botched job with all four episodes only available in cropped transfers with curious layer changes seemingly every 15 minutes or so (though it fared better than the first special, which was heavily cut for its UK DVD release and is only available uncut in the USA under the title Dr Bell and Mr Doyle). Luckily, the US Region 1 NTSC DVD release of the series from MPI is a distinct improvement - decent transfers of all four 90-minute episodes in their original widescreen ratio on two discs. There are no extras on the US set - the UK reissue has a TV documentary about Holmes hosted by Patrickl MacNee - but the series is definitely well worth seeing, and the US edition is definitely the best way to see it.