The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (TV Mini-Series 1994) Poster

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Will make you want to track down those splendid antiques used as props and backdrop.
Deusvolt7 July 2005
These comments apply to all the Sherlock Holmes series and episodes produced by Granada and starring Jeremy Brett as Holmes and either Burke or Hardwicke as Watson.

Brett certainly gave the most definitive portrayal of Holmes. One must remember that Holmes, although a decent and upright gentleman had his dark side -- his conceit, impatience with people of lesser intelligence and, as a product of imperial Victorian England, he displayed traces of jingoism, racism, sexism and hypocrisy. Note that episode where he remarks on the French surname of a suspect (The Red Headed League) or in the cavalier manner he uses pejoratives to refer to peoples of Asiatic origin. In another episode he tells Watson that his nemesis the Countess of Pernambuco is "but a woman." Expecting high moral standards of others, he was nevertheless a drug addict (cocaine in the original stories by Doyle and also absinthe in the Granada series). He also smoked opium occasionally when in disguise to track down suspects or missing persons. In one episode he was caught red-handed by Watson (the one portrayed by Hardwicke) with a syringe although it is not certain what drug it was supposed to contain, probably morphine as I doubt if heroin had already been extracted from opium at that time. His proclivity to use such drugs make his attachment to pipe tobacco seem trivial.

These flaws viewed in the context of the era and of the peculiar circumstances of Holmes, instead of casting him as an ogre, make him all the more human and believable. On the whole, however, Brett's Holmes is exceedingly kind, self sacrificing and high minded. He could also be quite droll and able to take jokes at his expense as when a phrenologist remarked that he would very much like to take a cast of the cranium of the very intelligent Holmes "until the original should become available" for the latter's collection. Holmes feigned anger and laughingly shooed the scientist away. Note that he rarely collects fees and places life and limb on the line for his clients. No wonder the sophisticatedly discerning French have a Jeremy Brett society.

Between Burke and Hardwicke as Watson, one is likely to vote for Burke as he is funnier, younger and good looking. But Hardwicke better displays the character of a retired officer of the Indian (Imperial British) Army by his physical courage and readiness to use his firearm. His portrayal also highlights the difficult side of Holmes as in the episodes showing Holmes' disregard for his own health and his drug addiction. It was to Hardwicke's Watson that Holmes unusually expresses (in a letter in The Hound of the Baskervilles) deep concern and affection with such words as "there is nothing that I desire more than to have you safely back in our Baker st. lodgings." Finally, if you have seen all the episodes, watch them again and keep your eyes peeled for those delicious antiques -- porcelain washbowls, iron stoves, 19th century lamps, brass door knockers, handsome hansoms and carriages, even a pristine horse drawn red and brass fire engine with immaculate white hoses. And were those mansions, manor houses and country cottages merely sets or genuine locations? I suspect the latter. I would suggest to the English that they revise their Sherlock Holmes tours to include visits to places where Granada shot the series.
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Farewell
Ephraim Gadsby23 September 2003
Here we say a fond fare-well to the finest Holmes on film. And not a minute too soon. Though the series was cut short by the tragic and untimely death of Jeremy Brett, the series should've died before this. The earlier "Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" and "The Return of Sherlock Holmes" (with David Burke and Edward Hardwicke, respectively, as Watson) were superb visual retellings of the Doyle stories. They even had moments of humor (cf. "The Red Headed League", when Holmes and Watson hear about the artificial kneecaps; or "The Solitary Cyclist", when Holmes is interrupted in his experiments -- no spoilers, though!) Holmes might be oddly whimsical (as in "The Naval Treaty"). But at some point melancholy fell over the stories. Certainly the lengthening of stories into artificial movies in "The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes" didn't better the series. Instead of telling the stories in a straightforward way, stories begin to be blended into one another. Bizarre elements found their way into the tales. In one disastrous episode in the "Case Book" days, "The Sussex Vampire", the makers diverged from Doyle altogether for a totally whacked-out story that ought never have been told. "Memoirs" suffers from story blending -- part of that is Doyle's fault, since some of his Holmes stories are paper thin and could barely sustain an hour. But melancholy had claimed the series for her own. There were too many close-ups, the make up is weird in cases, and at some points hindsight makes you worry about Jeremy Brett's health. Naturally in the eerily title "The Dying Detective" he looks bad. But he looks pretty bad in the rest of them, too. Though I'm sorry they couldn't have finished all the stories in the canon, they came close; and the way they were mucking about with stories and camera work and make up and overarching sadness in "Memoirs" makes one wish they hadn't gone this far. The loss of Jeremy Brett to the acting world casts a further pall over the proceedings. This is not the place to start for Brett's finely limned Holmes, and truly is for someone who obsessively has to own every episode.
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10/10
An unfortunate ending to the series
MartinHafer30 March 2008
Thank goodness for the wonderful folks at Granada Television. In the mid 1980s, they created the absolute best Sherlock Holmes ever to make it to the big or small screen. Unlike all the previous versions, which LIBERALLY deviated from the Conan Doyle stories, the Granada films tried to be perfect in every detail.

Unlike the caricature of Holmes that you see in previous films where he wears a deerstalker hat, smokes a curved pipe and spouts "elementary, my dear Watson", this Holmes is true to the original character. Additionally, Dr. Watson is not the bumbling idiot as portrayed by Nigel Bruce (Bruce should burn in Hell for how he ruined this character).

All four Granada Television series were exceptional and up to the same great standards. However, unfortunately, this would be the last as Jeremy Brett died from a heart attack after only about 2/3 of the original stories could be filmed. What a shame.

Intelligently written and wonderful throughout. You can't do much better than these shows.
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9/10
The Last Of Jeremy Brett, Sadly.
AaronCapenBanner19 August 2013
Though not intended as such, this outing of "Memoirs" proved to be the last bow of this superb, masterful, and outstanding series of adaptations with Jeremy Brett as the legendary Sherlock Holmes, and Edward Hardwicke as his loyal, capable best friend John Watson M.D.

Though not as fresh as either "Adventures" and "Return", this was still an improvement over "Casebook", since there were no more short stories expanded into feature length, but the normal adaptations, which were highly entertaining. The last we see of this Holmes & Watson is at the end of 'The Cardboard Box', where they ponder the nature of crime and humanity in a mysterious universe.

A perfect coda for them, yet I dearly wish Brett had lived to finish the canon! Still, I'm grateful he gave us what he did, which will be enjoyed forever.
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10/10
The end of an era.........
peter-faizey5 March 2009
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes marks the end of the Granada Sherlock Holmes series starring the unsurpassed Jeremy Brett. Collectively the series ran for ten years and in its time picked up a huge following from devoted Doyleans to the general public seeking a good evening drama to pass an hour with. The performances of Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes and Edward Hardwicke as Dr. Watson (who took over the role from David Burke in The Return of Sherlock Holmes) were and are widely celebrated as the best Holmes and Watson, Brett mastering the darkness of Holmes, as well as his warmth for his friend Dr. Watson, his astute deduction and extraordinary charisma. Edward Hardwicke (my personal favourite Watson) ably followed on from David Burke's previous characterisation, making the character intelligent, observant and loyal to his best friend Sherlock. The Granada series was the most faithful, most detailed Sherlock Holmes production ever made, almost without exception Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories were respected to the letter. The Memoirs series however was beset with problems during its production, and had the misfortune to directly follow on from a shaky era in the Granada franchise. Following the previous series 'The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes', Granada departed from the usual fifty minute episode format for the programme and instead were commissioned to produce three two hour feature length episodes from the material that was left of the original Doyle stories. Although 'The Master Blackmailer' was widely celebrated by fans of the series, as it remained generally faithful to the original, the following two feature episodes 'The Last Vampyre' and 'The Eligible Bachelor' based on two more of Doyle's weakest short stories received harsh reviews from the critics and Holmes devotees alike, due to its general abandonment of Doyle's original text. This damaged the reputation of the Granada series and it was only due to a gap in the schedules that producer June Wyndham Davies was able to go ahead with a new six part series, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, which much to the delight of Jeremy Brett, who began to dislike the two hour adaptations, returned the series to its original fifty minute format. Brett had also ensured that the series went back to maintaining its faithfulness to Doyle's stories due to his insistence that he would never play the role again unless the programme was loyal to Doyle's writings. The return to the original format helped the programme get back on track, but sadly the writers were still stuck with the barrel scrapings of the short stories. What the production team produced with this material is, in my view, nothing short of inspiring, the Granada Sherlock Holmes series as a whole is of such outstanding quality that it is difficult to imagine a better television drama, let alone a better adaptation of a cultural icon. Memoirs however does suffer slightly from the production problems that occurred which producer June Wyndham Davies fought so hard to deal with during the course of the series. The first episode produced 'The Golden Pince Nez' had to be made without Edward Hardwicke as Watson, he was unavailable as he was working on a feature film at the time so he was replaced by the wonderful Charles Gray as Mycroft Holmes, a role he had played twice before in the Granada series. This was a minor hurdle, but worse was to come. Jeremy Brett's health had greatly declined after The Casebook series and during Memoirs he was very unwell. A sufferer of manic depression and a heart condition, during 'The Three Gables' he collapsed on set and his hospitalisation delayed filming for some time. He later became even more unwell after 'The Dying Detective' so for the adaptation of 'The Mazarin Stone' (which due to shortage of material includes material from another short story 'The Three Garridebs') Charles Gray returned to the series as Mycroft Holmes, Mycroft's part filling in entirely for Sherlock as Brett was once again hospitalised. Jeremy Brett returned to the role for 'The Cardboard Box' the finale of the series, which is arguably the finest episode of the production. Unsurprisingly this would mark Jeremy Brett's final appearance as Sherlock Holmes. Despite its production problem's The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes continues the high standards that we would expect from a Granada production. The visuals are stunning, with the excellent directors Peter Hammond and Sarah Hellings chosen to helm the series. 'The Mazarin Stone' despite its affected production looks marvellous on screen, the final sequence in which Mycroft closes in on Count Sylvius is beautifully shot, the final ethereal presence of Jeremy Brett's Holmes in a dark night mist provides an excellent conclusion to an uneven narrative of cobbled together short stories. Crucially also, the series is generally faithful to the original text, something which had been lacking in the previous two feature length episodes. I give this series ten out of ten for overcoming all odds and maintaining a high level of quality as fantastic television drama. I'd recommend the series to all Holmesians and fans of good television, every episode has something to offer. Despite his illness Jeremy Brett gives another superb performance as Sherlock Holmes, a part which he made his own, and arguably brought to life better than any other actor. Edward Hardwicke is equally brilliant as Dr. Watson and one feels sad that no more episodes were made. But perhaps, with the best material gone, it was for the best. What we have left is truly special. The Granada Sherlock Holmes series, is, in my view, one of the finest television drama series ever made. With such a brilliant series still shining vibrantly in our memories, one wonders why so much of todays television is so shockingly poor. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes marks the end of a wonderful era for Sherlock Holmes, that may never be bettered.
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10/10
The end of a superb era, that is commemorated in a reflective final series
TheLittleSongbird21 October 2009
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes signalled the end of a superb era. Overall, it is a reflective final series, with a couple of tear jerkers and beautiful moments. The final episode in particular was full of both. The series is precisely detailed and superbly acted, and while not quite as good as its three predecessors, it is still a truly wonderful series.

The camera work is very fine, and the period detail as to be expected is precise and beautifully done. The music is beautiful, not only haunting but even brings a sense of poignancy. Also superb were the scripts, reflective and sombre, there was some fine writing.

The acting from both Jeremy Brett and Edward Hardwicke is nothing short of superb. I have said many times already that Brett was the definitive Holmes, and his ultimely death in 1995 was a true loss in the acting world. He was perfect as the complex fictional detective, no matter how many actors have played the character, Brett WAS Holmes, no doubt about it. Hardwicke's Watson is for me the truest of all the Watsons, with David Burke close behind. He gave a sense of authority and intelligence that was admirable.

In conclusion, a fitting end to a superb era of Sherlock Holmes. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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7/10
A sad end to a groundbreaking series
Enoch Sneed3 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
When Jeremy Brett first appeared as Sherlock Holmes in the mid 1980's he came as a breath of fresh air. Since the 1940's Basil Rathbone had been the "definitive" Holmes (even though he only appeared in two period adventures, and only one of those a Doyle original - 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'). Jeremy Brett's Holmes was a revelation: energetic, theatrical and cerebral. The screenplays were generally faithful to the source material and the production values very handsome.

In this final series those virtues have been lost. What were originally two separate stories are clumsily welded together for one episode. In 'The Mazarin Stone' (which has 'The Three Garridebs' thrown in) Sherlock barely appears (was Jeremy Brett too ill to perform?) and is replaced by his brother Mycroft. Worse still, Mycroft acts completely out of character and becomes far too energetically involved in the case.

The quality of the production is also down to the level of a standard period detective series. Compare 'The Cardboard Box' with earlier episodes such as 'Silver Blaze' with its glorious location work and you will see the difference. The supporting casts are equally colourless. There is no-one with the magnificent malevolence of Eric Porter's Moriarty. John Hallam in the 'The Red Circle' is a pantomime villain by comparison and totally fails to convince us he is a vicious Italian gangster.

It seems almost cruel to add that Jeremy Brett was now too ill to summon up the energy and dynamism that made his first outings as Holmes so wonderful, but unfortunately it is the truth. It would have wiser, and kinder, on the part of the producers to have left us with a Holmes at the peak of his powers.
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A masterful return to form
ListerUK200116 September 2001
After some painfully uninteresting and dull feature length episodes, this great series returns to its high standards. The episodes have a shorter running time and are far more enjoyable for it. With less padding and greater concentration on the mystery and Holmes' method of investigation, "Memoirs" is first class entertainment. Jeremy Brett plays his part with awesome ability. In my opinion, no other actor (not even the legendary Basil Rathbone) has been Holmes' so completely.
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7/10
A Blighted End to the Series
TigerShark 9030 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
While this final Sherlock Holmes volume from Granada has its moments, it generally doesn't have much to offer and ended much too soon with Jeremy Brett's death. The glory days of Granada adaptations were over. The stories that were left to film were generally not strong and Brett's sick, ghastly appearance did not help.

The episodes are very much a mixed bag. "The Golden-Pince Nez" is enjoyable even though it deviates from the original story as the role of Watson is switched with Mycroft. "The Three Gables" is overwrought melodrama despite having some good elements. "The Red Circle" is a fine and complex crime story by Doyle. "The Dying Detective" is a clever if rather thin episode. "The Mazarin Stone" is the worst as the role of Holmes is replaced by Mycroft as it tries to add " The Adventure of the Three Garriebs" to pad out its plot. However, the makers save the best for last as "The Cardboard Box" is a beautifully done adaptation and a satisfying end to the series.

While Edward Hardwicke is as good as ever as Watson, Jeremy Brett is ill throughout all of this series (in fact in "The Cardboard Box" he is almost lethargic) yet he still manages to stay in character as Sherlock Holmes. His performances in this series are solid even if it is sad to see him in the condition he's in. One has to really admire Brett for playing the role as long as he did and that he was able to perform so well given his illness.

Although, "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes" is the weakest volume in the Granada series it marks the end of a great era. Jeremy Brett will be remembered as perhaps the greatest actor to ever play Sherlock Holmes with a portrayal that has yet to be surpassed. In fact the entire series by Granada in general deserves to go down as one of the best television shows ever crafted (at least in my book). It makes most of the run-of-the mill television shows we see today pale in comparison. Both Brett and this celebrated series will be missed.
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