“I am full of curiosity. I should much prefer to hear now.”
It is difficult to believe that I haven't posted here on Baker Street Babble for almost fourteen months!
Back when Covid first hit, and most of us were confined to our homes for much of the time, my blogging on several subjects (including Sherlock Holmes) really took off. I used a lot of the enforced time at home to indulge myself in my various passions: Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes, Bible collecting, and more. When things began coming back (whenever that was), my free time began to diminish significantly. Blogging about Sherlock Holmes took a back seat to all the things I needed to do. (My Shakespeare blog, willywigglestick.wordpress.com, didn't fare much better!)
Recently, though, as part of the Christmas season, I watched a couple TV adaptations of the popular Holmes story, "The Blue Carbuncle." (Specifically, the Granada adaptation with Jeremy Brett and the 1968 BBC series with Peter Cushing.) That got me thinking, maybe it's time to make a reappearance, just as the great detective did after his hiatus, between "The Final Problem" and "The Empty House." Before I begin regular posting again, I probably need to do some housekeeping around the site. Once again, I see that most of the links to YouTube videos in my series of reviews of the Granada adaptations have died. So I will try to find new links (which will most likely be taken down eventually). Also, I need to look through my Links and Sherls on Film pages. Once I've accomplished that, I can begin considering continuing the Granada reviews, and discovering other Sherlockian topics I can cover.
For anyone who still may be checking in on the blog, feel free to leave a comment, and let me know what you think of the archived blog posts, or what you'd like to see here on Baker Street Babble. Soon, the game will be afoot once more, and the adventures can continue! Thanks for reading.
And I'm back, after a most enjoyable Holy Week and Easter Sunday! Speaking of "resurrection"...
Sherlock Holmes is back for the second series from Granada TV, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, starring Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes and Edward Hardwicke taking over the role of Dr. John Watson from the inimitable David Burke. I'm sure Sherlockians weren't the only viewers who knew what was coming up in this pivotal episode, and adaptation of "The Empty House." There are no surprises here, especially when the series has the word "Return" right in its title!
Other than the slight detail of giving Watson a more active role in the case of the murder of Ronald Adair, the episode follows the original source material very closely. After an opening sequence that is a bit slow, dramatically speaking, we are treated to Holmes's surprise appearance in Watson's office, as he suddenly transforms from the old book seller into the great detective, causing Watson to faint "for the first and the last time in my life," as Watson puts it in the story. For me (and no doubt, for most viewers) this reunion scene was the main source of enjoyment. Much of the story is told in flashbacks, as Holmes relates what really happened at the Reichenbach Falls. Indeed, if one looks very closely, one can see that all the wide shots of Watson searching in vain for his friend are actually shots of David Burke playing the role in the previous season.
There's a very brief but very emotionally stirring moment during the flashback, when Jeremy Brett as Holmes just begins to shout out Watson's name, but immediately stops himself. It's a beautiful little detail that shows the deep fondness Holmes feels for his friend. Indeed, Watson's response to hearing that Holmes has kept the secret of his survival for THREE YEARS is remarkably gentle. It wouldn't be any stain on Watson's character if he had been just a bit angrier. However, Edward Hardwicke does show a bit of sadness, as he tells Holmes that he believes he could have been at least as deserving of Sherlock's confidence as his brother Mycroft.
Concerning Edward Hardwicke, he really did do a fine job at stepping into a role that had been played so capably by David Burke. Perhaps because Brett was already so comfortable in the role of Holmes, Hardwicke was able to make the transition into Watson's role as smoothly as possible. I still prefer Burke just a bit, but it will be interesting to watch the process of Hardwicke bringing his own skill set into the production. Certainly, by the end of the Granada series, Hardwicke was able to play Watson in a far greater number of adventures than his predecessor.
While it wasn't the most exciting episode I've seen thus far, "The Empty House" was a perfectly respectable way to begin the next phase of the Granada productions. And as I've mentioned, the joy of watching the Holmes/Watson duo resume their partnership was definitely worth the time I spent watching. Enjoy watching the YouTube video shared below! Once again, the game is afoot!
I'm a stay-at-home dad, and Director of Music Ministries at a United Methodist Church in Mt. Juliet, TN, and a longtime fan of Mr. Sherlock Holmes.