On This Day 9th July

OTD 1986 The Return of Sherlock Holmes:The Empty House. Season 2 Episode 1 first aired.

The Empty House (episode No. 14) is the 1st episode of season 3 of the Granada series: Sherlock Holmes (The Return of Sherlock Holmes), starring Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes and Edward Hardwicke as Dr. Watson, aired on Granada TV on 9 july 1986. 51 min.

The episode is an adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle‘s short story : The Adventure of the Empty House (1903).

When Conan Doyle threw his hero into the depths of Reichenbach falls, it was with the firm intention to leave him there for ever. But when he changed his mind, he had to explain why Holmes had, in fact, pretended to be dead. This enterprise was a tricky one, for what was the use of feigning his death, since Colonel Moran, Moriarty’s closest friend, knew the detective had survived the fight? Yet, Patrick Allen’s interpretation conveys such impressive strength and fierce hatred, that it gives Holmes’ decision to vanish into thin air some plausibility. But what makes this episode credible and moving is, above all, Brett’s and Hardwicke’s shrewd and sensitive acting. Hardwicke suggests with accuracy and naturalness a forlorn and nostalgic Watson, living with the memory of his friend and their happy days gone by. And when he shines with happiness and laughs for joy at Holmes’ reappearance, he is utterly convincing and wins the viewer’s sympathy. As to Brett, his change from a repulsive and grumpy old bookseller into a handsome and radiant Holmes is worthy of the fantastic transformation which ends Beauty and the Beast. But above all, Brett did his best to convey Holmes’ calculating coldness while letting us catch a glimpse of the suppressed sensitivity the actor thought concealed deep in the apparently detached detective’s heart. When his Holmes, for instance, explains Watson would not have been able to write so convincing an account of his death if he had not been convinced it was true, he looks satisfied with his trick and unaware of his cynicism. But at Reichenbach falls, while hidden by a rock he listened to Watson’s desperate cries, he nearly ruined his plan by answering him: a revealing scene devised by Brett, which doesn’t appear in the script. Colin Jeavons, here a friendly Lestrade, comically vain or flabbergasted, and Rosalie Williams, motherly Mrs Hudson and unexpected woman of action, contribute to the benign humour and the warm atmosphere which add their appeal to the pleasant sight of Holmes and Watson, at last reunited, sharing a new adventure and triumphing together over a dangerous and horrible villain.



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