The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1984)

Season 1 Episode 6

The Speckled Band

Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM May 29, 1984 on ITV

Episode Fan Reviews (3)

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  • One of the best Holmes stories is one of the better episodes of the Brett-starred series....

    .... Sometimes Sherlock Holmes is considered a rather emotionless fellow; but Doyle's "Speckled Band" story disproves that misconception, exposing the character's sense of humor, contempt for all that is evil and even his caring side. Naturally, Brett portrayal Sherlock Holmes extremely well on all counts and David Burke shows why he is one of the all-time best screen incarnations of Dr. Watson. The members of the supporting cast are hit and miss: the otherwise dependable Jeremy Kemp overplays his role of Dr. Roylott while the gorgeous Rosalyn Landor is wonderfully cast as the frightened delicate flower Helen Stoner.

    As is the case with the majority of the Granada Holmes series, "The Speckled Band" is faithful to the original story. The largely introverted original story is well adapted for the screen as far as dialogue is concerned; however, it does lack the same energy of Doyle's printed tale. The episode is very well filmed with very good cinematography and camera work - still, Freddie Young spoiled us with his brilliant black-and-white photography seen in the 1931 Raymond Massey-starred "The Speckled Band."

    This adaptation of "The Speckled Band" does the story justice and is easily one of the better episodes of the Granada Sherlock Holmes series.
  • This episode did not have much investigating in it but it emphasized nicely the friendly relationship between Holmes and Watson.

    Although there were no questioning about who was guilty at any point, the episode kept my interest very well. There were no too slow points in it and the build up of tension towards the conclusion was very exciting. I was slightly disappointed with the very quick, final ending. With an as good build up as this episode had, I would have expected something more in the end. The death of the doctor was be expected so it was no shocking surprise to find out about it.

    The relationship between Holmes and Watson was emphasized in this episode, which I found interesting as usually they are so involved in their cases that there is no room for casual chit-chat between them. It brought certain familiarity and happiness into the episode - feelings that cannot be found very often. The outcome is good: Brett and and Burke work very well together indeed. It created a fascinating contrast to the dead-serious (literally) nature of the case. On a certain level, I wished that Watson had had a slightly bigger part in the investigation of this case as I found that he did not really have any purpose to be there apart from creating the nice humorous undertone (well, maybe that could count as a purpose). Overall a very good episode although on an adventurous and intelligent level, it did get behind when compared to other episodes in the series.
  • A difficult story to translate to the screen.

    The original work by Sir Arthur (which S.H. fan club members voted the favorite of all) has a lot of Watson's thoughts, and Helen Stoner's recollections. With such a cerebral work it must have been a great challenge to put into a screenplay, and here they did a remarkable job. Without relying too much on the flashback sequences - when she was remembering her dead sister, and with very little of Watson's wonderment, the episode moved along very nicely.
    There is not a lot of mystery here - we already know the story, and besides Holmes came up with most of the solution early on - so the emphasis is in how the actors portray their roles. Jeremy Brett is brilliant in this one ('these are deep waters, Watson'), and the villain is suitably despicable. Helen Stoner is rather stupid in the story, but then in the Victorian era women did not get much latitude for original thinking. My only gripe is why didn't the fiance take initiative and get involved, but again, we are sticking closely to the original work, and must allow for the time period to explain some of the behavior. A tricky challenge, and well handled by all.