Peter Cushing is Sherlock Holmes in “Sherlock Holmes” (1968), Episode 15, “A Study in Scarlet”- reviewed by George

In 1964-1965 the BBC broadcast a Sherlock Holmes series consisting of 13 30-minute black-and-white episodes starring Douglas Wilmer and Nigel Stock. The surviving 11 episodes have been reviewed on bickeringcritics and can be read in the July 2017 collection of reviews (select the month in the list on the right).
In 1968 the BBC proposed bringing back the show in a 1-hour color format. According to Charles Prepolac in his article “Peter Cushing and Sherlock Holmes: An Overview”, Wilmer refused to return, due to the short production schedules. The role of Sherlock, after next being offered to John Neville (who had played Holmes in “A Study in Terror”), went to Peter Cushing.
A two-part version of “The Hound of the Baskervilles” was to be the premiere presentation, but the schedulers had clearly omitted consideration of British weather, and the difficulty thus enforced on shooting exteriors. “Baskervilles” was not presented until partway through Season Two. The strain of missing deadlines must have taken its toll on the cast and crew, but it truly does not show on the small screen.
The series consists of 28 episodes (counting “Baskervilles” as two), and only 6 survive (still counting “Baskervilles” as two). Interestingly, all the surviving episodes are from Season Two. I will be reviewing them in order of release to the TV screen. So, first: “A Study in Scarlet”.
A woman lies dead in her coffin and an unseen man removes her wedding ring and leaves.
A man is found dead in an abandoned house in the suburbs. Inspector Gregson (George A. Cooper) and Inspector Lestrade (William Lucas) are busily competing with each other on every case that gets to the Yard, and getting little done, so they call in Holmes (Peter Cushing), and Watson (Nigel Stock) comes along too. The man is unmarked, yet a word has been written on the wall in blood: RACHE. Holmes smells the man’s mouth and has Watson sniff too. Watson confirms, and Holmes announces that the man has been poisoned. Lestrade then goes into a jokey manner and tells Holmes to cherchez la femme, undoubtedly there is a woman in the case and her name is Rachel. And then a wedding ring is found, which confirms Lestrade’s idea, at least to Lestrade. The dead man is later identified as Enoch Drebber (Craig Hunter). In tracking down any relatives or friends, they find Joseph Sanderson (Edward Bishop), apparent partner in crime And then Sanderson is murdered as well, but stabbed, even though a small box containing two pills is found in the room. Again “RACHE” is written on the wall in blood. A Goof: The letters look as if applied with a paintbrush, but the dialogue reveals the writing was done by finger. That’s one fat finger.
At one point in the case Holmes wants to know more about disguises, especially a man dressing as a woman, so he and Watson go to a theater where the star is Joey Daly (Joe Melia), who does a drag act. An entire number is shown, and he is more funny than realistic as a woman in his song and dance act, but he certainly has a lot of energy and gets a lot of laughs (deserved). He tells Holmes and Watson that if he wished to, sure, he could be a convincing woman. And he changes into a tux for the finale.
There is also a mysterious man called Jefferson Hope (Larry Cross), and Mrs. Hudson (Grace Arnold) is present. Plus for the first time in the surviving episodes of the two series we meet the Baker Street Irregulars and their leader Wiggins (Tony McLaren).
The story is well and briskly told, and the sets and costumes and color photography are excellent. The Designer: Stanley Morris; The Costumes: Betty Aldiss; and the Film Cameraman: Charles Parnall.
Dramatized by Hugh Leonard, and Directed by Henri Safran.
NOTE: If you would like to read the Prepolac article, just go to and type in “peter cushing and sherlock holmes an overview”.

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