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This Casebook should have remained Unopened!
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.