Sherlock Holmes CD Review

Sherlock Holmes Specials

Many thanks to Random House who have sent me this boxset of four feature-length Sherlock Holmes audio dramas, originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Clive Merrison star as Holmes and the late Michael Williams stars as Dr. Watson. I’d heard about these dramas, but had never listened to them before.

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Story number 1 is ‘A Study in Scarlet’, from 1989. This is where Holmes meets Watson, and they end up finding accommodation together at the infamous 221B Baker Street. I love the scene where Holmes displays his skills to Watson, by describing Watson through and through, just by looking at him.
Story number 2 is ‘The Sign of the Four’ featuring a fantastic guest appearance from Brian Blessed. Merrison really comes into the role during this story – there’s also a love interest for Dr Watson during this two part adventure. At the start of the story we also hear Dr Watson warning Holmes about the use of cocaine, a powerful scene – showing Holmes’s character when he didn’t have a case to solve.

 

Story number 3 is ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ which features appearances from Judi Dench as Mrs Hudson and also the late, great Donald Sinden too.  Great cast, brilliantly dramatised, and I was hooked throughout.  I believe this was the last Merrison/Williams production – Merrison went on to work with Andrew Sachs in further adventures after Williams’s death, but this production made sure all of Conan Doyle’s novels and stories had been created.

 

Story number 4 is ‘The Valley of Fear’, again a great production – brilliant story, which interlinked events on both sides of the Atlantic.  It’s left me wanting to hear more!  Now, I’ll have to track down the shorter stories which were dramatised and are also available to purchase on CD too.
The production values are excellent, and performances from both Merrison and Williams are superb.  The Conan Doyle works are treated with real respect here.

 

All of Conan Doyle’s stories were recreated for BBC Radio 4 by Merrison and Williams between 1989 and 1998. My favourite portrayal of Holmes has always been Jeremy Brett in the Granada Television adaptation, but the Radio 4 version adds a whole new light to the characters.
8 CD’s in this boxset, hours of entertainment and I’ve been enjoying them thoroughly during my commutes to work.  A must have.  Chris

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