BBC Radio 4x is having a lot of not-often-broadcast Holmes at the moment, which is a good occasion for any of you who might want to dip your toes in the sea of wonders that is radio drama but never really know where to start! The good thing about beeb radio is that: a. you can tune in no matter where you are in the world and b. programmes are available for some time after they’ve been broadcast.
- This bad boy here is the first surviving UK Holmes from 1945 and is… worth a listen for the historical aspect rather than anything else. Cedric Hardwicke has many other merits beside being Edward's dad, and the script is from the pen of none other than John Dickson Carr, but it’s definitely old-fashioned, slow and basically an audiobook of “The Speckled Band”. Less narrative stretches, more fun times is my formula for a good radio adaptation, but being a product of its time, it’s… well, very serious. Too serious. But still, give it a go!
- D’you know that John Gielgud dude? But did you know he was Holmes a couple of times??? This one is “The Final Problem” from 1954, which people usually know of because it has Orson Welles as a suave Prof. M. BUT, I love the Gielgud Holmes series, and I love Ralph Richardson as Watson. They rank high in my top 10 favourite H&W, because they are sweet and nice to each other which is a nice contrast with all the moody, dark, and serious adaptations made around that time. I like Hobbs and Shelley (the very famous duo of the 50s/60s) but sometimes you need a break, and Gielgud’s giggles are my go-to solution.
- When I hear about Roger Powell, I’m more prompt to start singing “My Incomparable Best” from the Bricusse musical than to think “Oh yeah, yeah, great job on that one story that has a Mormon subplot taking half the book” but A Study in Scarlet is so rarely adapted (for the aforementioned reason) that it’s always good to hear about our nerds’ very first meeting. This one was dramatised by Michael Hardwick (who knows his Holmes) and features that Powell guy not singing contrasted by Dinsdale Landen’s cute voice acting for Watson. (Also have I mentioned that I love Gielgud & Richardson? Because their STUD is just them meeting and then breaking into Milverton’s house. Swoon material I tell you.)
- The Reese/Crawford Hound of the Baskervilles (1988), written by Bert “my fave ever” Coules was the pilot episode for the BBC Complete Holmes (the one with those nerds, love those nerds… so… much… sigh) and is one of the best HOUN ever made. The only others obviously being the radio 1998 one by the same scriptwriter, and the Soviet TV film. Superb use of the music instead of tedious shots of ~the moor~ and a wonderful, wonderful cast with a young-ish duo. Roger Reese once said “If I ever play Holmes on TV, I’ll do it in a wooly hat” and think this quote is as good as any review I could come up with.
- This one here is not a dramatisation but a really lovely documentary (from 2007) about music in the Holmes canon!
Have a nice time falling in love with my OTP ♥