Sherlock Holmes (Granada)

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Name: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Sign of Four, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes
Creator: Granada Television
Date(s): 1984-1994
Medium: television show, made-for-tv movies
Country of Origin: U.K.
External Links: IMDB
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Sherlock Holmes is a 1984 to 1994 television series based on Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. It was produced by Granada Television and is therefore commonly known as the Granada series.

Unlike many previous filmed versions of Sherlock Holmes, which often radically departed from the original stories, this television series represents a more or less faithful adaptation of the Holmes canon. The show features an iconic Holmes performance by Jeremy Brett and a Watson characterization closer to the original stories than the buffoon archetype popularized by Nigel Bruce in the Basil Rathbone films.

Influence on Holmes Fandom and Fanon

The Granada version was hugely influential on Holmes fandom and on the general body of Holmes fan lore both within fanworks-producing fandom and among fans of Sherlock Holmes in general.

Granada Holmes

Granada Holmes lacks the pipe and hat popularized by Rathbone. In many respects he is much closer to the Holmes of the stories, and Jeremy Brett was physically quite similar to the Holmes of the Sidney Paget illustrations. On the other hand, some fans see Granada Holmes as being more offputting and socially awkward than the canonical Holmes.

Granada Watson

Two actors portrayed Watson in the Granada Holmes: David Burke for the first two series, which ended with The Final Problem, and Edward Hardwicke for the remainder. Both played him as a competent, intelligent man more in line with the character from the books than with the common movie versions. However, depending on one's view of the stories, both actors were still older than Watson is supposed to be, further reinforcing the idea of Watson as a kindly grandfather instead of a young-ish ex-military man and athlete.[1] So while the Granada Watson is usually seen as being closer to book Watson than many earlier portrayals, not all fans see him as a faithful rendition of the original.

Poor reception of subsequent adaptations

Sherlock Holmes adaptations differ widely in how faithful they are to the original stories and in how they interpret those stories even when they are trying to be faithful. The Granada version seems to be the standard by which many Holmes fans judged other Holmes adaptations and pastiches during the 1990s and 2000s. Some of the more notable examples that are often compared to the Granada series include:

  • 1994 - The Beekeeper's Apprentice: The Mary Russell books give Holmes a love life and depict Watson as being somewhat foolish. They are often contrasted with the Granada version (in addition to the canon and various other adaptations).
  • 2002 - The Hound of the Baskervilles: Richard Roxburgh is often seen as a less ideal physical casting for Holmes than Brett was. Some fans, however, prefer Ian Hart's Watson to Hardwicke's.
  • 2004 - Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking: In addition to being an original story (often unpopular with Holmes fans), Rupert Everett portrayed a relatively sensual Holmes with a penchant for drugs. This version also drew fire from homophobic losers (surprise, surprise).
  • 2009 - Sherlock Holmes: The Guy Ritchie movie adaptation is disliked by many Granada fans. (Though given its high profile, it seems destined to become a new standard by which a whole new generation of fans judges Holmes adaptations.)

Example Fanworks


Many Sherlock Holmes fanvids use footage from this show.


Zine cover art:

Links & Resources


  1. ^ If one accepts that Watson was around 30 when he met Holmes (which is common among Holmes scholars though not universally accepted), going by this Sherlock Holmes timeline, for example, Watson should have been in his early 40s around the time of the Final Problem and the return. Burke was 50 when the series started; Hardwicke was 54 when he took over the role.