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Murder Rooms - The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes (2000)

Ian Richardson , Charles Edwards , Paul Marcus , Simon Langton  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ian Richardson, Charles Edwards, Crispin Bonham-Carter, Ben Macleod, Mossie Smith
  • Directors: Paul Marcus, Simon Langton, Tim Fywell
  • Writers: Daniel Boyle, David Pirie, Paul Billing, Stephen Gallagher
  • Producers: Alison Jackson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Mpi Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 27, 2006
  • Run Time: 360 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,770 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Murder Rooms - The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Four episodes on two discs: The Patient's Eyes, The Photographer's Chair, The Kingdom of Bones, The White Knight Strategem

Editorial Reviews

Murder Rooms: The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes tells the story of the relationship between the young Arthur Conan Doyle (Charles Edwards, Batman Begins) and his real-life mentor and a noted forensics scientist, Dr. Joseph Bell (Ian Richardson, From Hell), as they unite to solve the most baffling murder cases in Edinburgh in the late 1800s. The 2-disc set includes four episodes: The Patient’s Eyes – A beautiful young woman is haunted by a masked cyclist who pursues her through the woods. To Doyle’s surprise, the pursuer is real. And so are the hideous murders connected to a gruesome incident in the Boer War. The Photographer’s Chair – Doyle and Bell investigate a serial killer’s victims, all of whom bare unusual markings. Doyle looks to a spiritualist for answers and is cautioned about his investigation from beyond the grave. Little does he know about the murderer’s plans for his victims in the afterlife. The Kingdom of Bones – When an ancient Egyptian mummy is unwrapped in public, a recently murdered Englishman is found, involving Doyle and Bell in a bombing conspiracy. The White Knight Strategem – Two men with knowledge of a woman’s suicide are murdered, setting off a heated disagreement between Bell and an old police rival. At the risk of alienating Bell, Doyle sides with the policeman, but both men prove only partly correct.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
121 of 123 people found the following review helpful
By jammer
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
"Murder Rooms" consists of five episodes, starring Ian Richardson as Dr. Joseph Bell, the historical personage on whom Arthur Conan Doyle allegedly based Sherlock Holmes; with Dr. Watson based on Doyle himself. The 116-minute first episode ("Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle, The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes") was a BBC series pilot released in January 2000. In "Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle...," Robin Laing starred as the young Doyle in medical school. This pilot has been available in NTSC for two years (see Amazon's listing) and IS NOT INCLUDED IN THIS PACKAGE. In the remaining four 90-minute episodes comprising this set (on BBC in September-October 2001), episode chronology begins three years later, Charles Edwards assuming Laing's role as the young, idealistic but adult Doyle with his own medical practice. Information on source books, author David Pirie, screen credits, histories, plot synopses and cast are available at

FOR BEST APPRECIATION, ONE MUST TREAT THIS SERIES AS AN INTEGRATED FIVE-PART, EIGHT-HOUR MINISERIES, beginning with the pilot "Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle..." setting the backdrop against which the other four, described IN ORDER below, play out. Missing "Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle...," this reviewer STRONGLY RECOMMENDS you purchase this set now and set it aside until that pilot can be seen. In "The Patient's Eyes," a black-shrouded cyclist repeatedly stalks a lady patient cycling to Dr. Doyle eye appointments through eerie wooded terrain, leading to a mysterious abandoned house, love-interest conflicts, betrayal, and murder. (There are striking scene similarities to "The Solitary Cyclist.
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97 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for any mystery lover's collection March 16, 2004
By jammer
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
American viewers may not realize that this offering is but the first in a series (the only one available in NTSC format so far, the rest being in PAL) called the "Murder Rooms" series. Subsequent titles include "The Photographer's Chair", "The White Knight Stratagem", "The Kingdom of Bones", "The Patient's Eyes", and perhaps more (?), starring the inimitable Ian Richardson. For those who like David Suchet's Poirot series, and Jeremy Brett's Holmes series, this series is absolutely stunning and mandatory!! Any good DVD mystery library is severely deficient without these episodes! This reviewer has finally thrown in the towel and purchased complete PAL-compatible equipment since there are so many such riches in the British PAL/DVD world that are simply unattainable in the USA. This matter could be the subject of a truly wild rant by this reviewer, the NTSC available-title crap-factor index being so high while so much other great material on both sides of the pond goes begging!
This episode deals with the young Arthur Conan Doyle (Robin Laing) as a medical student, who must perforce, with considerable trepidation, take a mandatory course from a certain Dr. Joseph Bell (Ian Richardson). It seems Dr. Bell has a notorious reputation amongst the medical students as a quite idiosyncratic, difficult and perhaps too challenging tutor and instructor. In this opening sequence, several of Dr. Bell's students are mystified by what they perceive as his strange nocturnal disappearances. One of them, the young Doyle and protagonist of this episode, surreptitiously follows Bell one night on such an errand. The result is that Bell catches the young Doyle in the act and subsequently "drafts" him as his "clerk" into these night-time escapades.
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71 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not by Conan Doyle, but excellent... September 27, 2003
Aurthur Conan Doyle, the author who "created" Sherlocke Holmes was a Scotsman who studied at the Medical College in Edinburgh in the late 19th Century, and became a physician in real life (was he Watson?). Ian Richardson plays a top professor at the college. Some speculate that the Richardson character was the basis for Sherlock Holmes.
The professor (Richardson) is called to help the police when foul play is suspected in a murder investigation. Several good tales are told in this series involving the death of a woman student at the medical college, the betrayal of a married woman, and seances with a medium.
I found the tales as fascinating if not more fascinating than the "original" Holmes tales because they provide some insight into the forensics of the period. This forensic detail is much more than you'd find in a Holmes story...but just what would have been available in 19th Century Scotland when people were beginning to think about the application of science to crime solving.
Several interesting actors populate the stories including Richardson who starred in the trilogy "to play the king...the final cut" about the Prime Minister of the UK.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The game's afoot December 21, 2003
By Bill
I bought this DVD primarily because of Ian Richardson, who was so excellent in the House of Cards Trilogy: The Original UK Series Remastered [Blu-ray] trilogy. Although this subsequent effort doesn't provide Richardson with as delightfully colorful a role, it's quite interesting in its own right.

The film -- which is directed by Paul Seed, who helmed the first two "House of Card" installments -- takes the facts of Arthur Conan Doyle's early life and adds a bit of conjecture to forge a convincing mystery. It's very well done, and the viewer is expertly manipulated into jumping to wrong conclusions in order to stay surprised at the end.

What gives the film added depth is the sense of period it gives, as well as the historical perspective on forensic investigation. And Doyle fans will enjoy seeing the parallels between Dr. Bell and Sherlock Holmes.

Anyone with an interest in any of the above will find this DVD worth getting.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great!!!! A must for a Holmsian collector.
Published 24 days ago by Wendy Yates
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 3 months ago by Oscar T Priem
4.0 out of 5 stars Great program
I loved this when I saw it on the abc, thrilled to see it available on DVD. Shame it's such a short series.
Published 4 months ago by Terry Whittingham
5.0 out of 5 stars Sherlock
very nice indeed
but then I love Sherlock Holmes - the show blends the two characters into one making it all the more enjoyable
Published 8 months ago by Annette Vannostrand
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - see my review of Dark Beginning of Sherlock Holmes - Dr....
This is the second installment to DBofSH - Dr. Bell & Mr. Doyle, which contains one beginning episode. Read more
Published 10 months ago by The Lilac Poet
5.0 out of 5 stars The Game's afoot
Gather around and you shall enjoy great yarns of Sherlock Holmes. From youth to maturity the yarns spin you in with the endless stories from Watson's view. Read more
Published 14 months ago by halh
Published 15 months ago by stephen 1
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff for Holmes fans
Semi-biographical series featuring Dr. Doyle and his real-life model for Holmes, Dr. Joseph Bell. Beautifully photographed with accurate costumes and real Scottish actors and... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Mr. Grim
5.0 out of 5 stars Again a must see
The completion of the Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle set. Dr. Bell, Sir Doyle's mentor and model for Sherlock Holmes explains how Sir Doyle Knew of forensics and deduction so far advanced... Read more
Published 17 months ago by D. West
5.0 out of 5 stars Great flick
Loved this movie. Off the beaten path, and a well made historical fiction brought to film. See it if you can.
Published 18 months ago by Deborah K. Martin
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Topic From this Discussion
English Subtitles or Closed Caption?
Have you heard whether "Murder Rooms" DVD has closed captions? I too would like to know before I purchase. Thanks
Jan 30, 2010 by James W. Mclaughlin |  See all 3 posts
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