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on 5 July 2011
Thanks to the bbc for making this available. Firstly it's worth knowing before you buy that this was first broadcast in the mid 90s on the old radio 5. This as i remember well was a station which did a lot of stuff for kids and teenagers. I was such when i first heard them and i remember them fondly for that reason. So although some of these stories are quite gory and verging on the sensational they were possibly meant more for the young adventure seeker rather than the seasoned holmes fan. From a nustalgic view i would give it 5 stars but the holmes lover in me has to restrain myself. The plots are a little inconsistent and definitely relying on the thriller aspect rather than the deduction. However theres some jems here and some great actors. Watson particularly is well done. The exchanges between him and holmes are true to the original. Holmes' cutting whit and sarcasm along with his regard for watson, along with Watson's bafflement, irritation but ultimate strength of character and fondness for his friend. I think it's unfair to compare the stories with the Bert Coules creations as A. these are half hour rather than 45 minute stories and B, these are more aimed at a younger market. Not the best of the "non Doyle" stories admitedly but worth a listen especially if you've got kids. Certainly better than the infamous "Petry Wine" jobs. However it does seem to suggest on both the amazone and audible site that these are by Doyle which is a little misleading if you don't know. Please listen with an open mind and a light heart. Hope this helps.
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on 14 December 2009
I will admit it ... I've been spoiled by listeninfg to previous BBC Sherlock Holmes radio series (most notably starring Sir John Gielgud/Sir Ralph Richardson, Carleton Hobbs/Norman Shelley and Clive Merrison/Michael Williams). I will go a step further ... I have no objections to pastiches of the Sherlock Holmes stories (I happen to believe that the Bert Coules stories starring Clive Merrison and Andrew Sachs are brilliant and capture the flavour of A.C. Doyle perfectly). However, I have to voice my strong objection to the pastiches presented in this BBC series. While they claim to be "inspired by the original stories of Arthur Conan Doyle", there is nothing I can find of the Doyle style; the six stories written by John Taylor race by at break-neck speed with almost no time for any serious attempt at deduction by Holmes, each story seems to rely on sensationalism rather than a serious crime and each story ends with a completely ridiculous denouement/explanation provided by Holmes ... which brings me to the main characters. I've stated previously and confessed to being spoiled by previous combinations of Holmes and Watson, but even trying to be completely objective I cannot find very much to commend the team of Simon Callow as Holmes and Nicky Henson as Watson.` Mr. Callow's Holmes comes across audibly as a bit too "Lah-di-dah" for my taste, while it is hard to find in Mr. Henson's portrayal of Watson the good doctor's intelligence; indeed, there are annoying traces of Nigel Bruce's over-sentimental portrayal from the 1940's. I'm certain that Mr. Callow and Mr. Henson did the best they could with the material they were given, which does not commend the writing of John Taylor.

I wish I could provide a better review of these audio dramas, but if you're looking for continuations of the Sherlock Holmes canon from the BBC, stick with THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES written by Bert Coules and leave this UNOPENED CASEBOOK unopened.
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on 10 July 2008
I've lost count of how many times I've tried to start this review. These stories are just so BAD!

They are reputedly inspired by the original Conan Doyle characters, but aside from sharing the same names, who'd know it. Clearly written for a 30 min audio slot, each story contains none of the mystery, awe-inspiring wit, powers of description, or simple entertainment value of the originals; they are shallow, repetitive, and so transparent that by the time Watson finishes his first sentence, it is obvious who the villain of the piece is going to prove to be.

It's not just that they're not written by ACD; they simply contain none of the atmosphere that one might expect from a good Holmes and Watson story. In fact I've seen cleverer plots in Morecambe and Wise sketches. It's a hugely tall order to expect someone to follow in the footsteps of such an acclaimed writer and characters that have practically become historical figures, and I'm sorry but I don't think John Taylor is up to the job.

Really, really don't bother with these if you're a serious whodunnit fan, or even if you're just looking for a bit of light entertainment. I can't even say that they're particularly well acted. Most of the participants are voices I've known and loved for many years; these cds seriously let them down. The sad thing is that I can't really explain why I think them so bad without giving away not one but at least 4 plots in one sentence.

My advice - don't buy this one.
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on 16 October 2009
I listened to these stories after borrowing them from my local library and I was left deeply unimpressed. They fail to match the same standard of the original stories whilst the characterisation and acting is poor in comparison with the Clive Merrison/David Williams adaptations. Watson is once again represented as a bumbling fool and Holmes' portrayal doesn't reflect his wild mood changes and tormented genius. Plus events such as Dr Watson being tortured with electricity in the first episode and the detective duo chasing a bear around a park in Central London are unintentionally hilarious. Those seeking a better pastiche should listen to the `Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' which were written by Bert Coules (who adapted the complete cannon for Radio 4) also available to buy on CD.
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on 15 January 2010
While the writing does not match the dizzy heights of Bert Coules' Holmes stories and Simon Callow's portrayal of Holmes, though excellent in its way could never aspire to the comic genius of Clive Merrison's performance, I found these stories to be highly entertaining and atmospheric. I might add that (much as it may pain some Holmes aficionados to admit it) some of Conan Doyle's stories were themselves a trifle lacklustre and have not stood the test of time which may explain why recent additions from modern authors have played for laughs to a large extent. These accounts by John Taylor are inventive and rather fun and convince the listener of the period without being staid. I hope Mr Taylor will 'open' further casebooks.
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on 14 January 2014
I bought this on the strength of my love for the Conan Doyle stories and admiration for Simon Callow's voice and delivery.
Callow does not disappoint. His rich tones do bring the dialogue to life. However, some of the dialogue is over the top. I mean, melodramatic without the inspired mania of "footsteps of a gigantic hound" sort of thing. Then there's the disappointment that I could usually guess the plot twist, not just who had done it, but why and how.
We played these in the car on a long family drive, and they were excellent for passing the time.
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on 15 August 2008
A review by Christina Hardyment from The SATURDAY TIMES of May 31st 2008
"No detective can equal Sherlock Holmes for sheer quantity of mysteries solved, but if you like the idea of a subtly conceived pastiche the try THE UNOPENED CASEBOOK OF SHERLOCK HOLMESwritten by John Taylor and presented as six dramatised episodes. They have been kept secret up to now, Watson explains at the start, out of respect for the privacy of those concerned. Simon Callow, a familiar reader of the genuine Conan Doyle stories, makes a superior and aloof Holmes, and Nicky Henson is one of the best Dr Watsons I have heard - gallant, manly and constantly bamboozled."
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on 15 August 2008
This review by Karen Robinson appeared in the Times on 8th May 2008:
AUDIO BOOK OF THE WEEK - THE UNOPENED CASEBOOK OF SHERLOCK HOLMES by John Taylor performed by Simon Callow and cast
Do you remember the time Sherlock Holmes led Dr Watson into mortal peril with an animal-loving librarian in a dark and mysterious wood? Or solved a baffling murder that involved a newfangled Otis lift? Of course you don't, as they are among the stories created by John Taylor for this collection of six half-hour plays first broadcast on Radio 5. The scenarios he has invented for the great fictional detective and his sidekick involve a higher proportion of deadly females than usually invaded the pair's clubby Victorian world, but they are still reassuringly reliant on a working knowledge of Britain's railway timetables. This affectionate and respectful not-quite pastiche should delight rather than outrage fans. Although the casting of beefy Simon Callow as Holmes could work only on radio, Nicky Henson makes a fine Watson, his trusting nature a bluff counterpoint to his cerebral companion
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