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Another high quality BBC-TV film about the Dr. who became the basis for the Sherlock Holmes character
on May 28, 2011
As I learned from a little research after viewing this new 2011 DVD release, the 117 minute film was produced by the BBC in 2000 as the pilot for TV series titled Murder Rooms. There were four subsequent hour-long episodes that were released on DVD (but not this pilot). This film - like most "pilots" stands on its own, though I might want to seek out the others - based on the high production values of the film.
The subject here is how author Arthur Conan Doyle created his character, Sherlock Holmes. Because of a restriction on Doyle's personal papers, there is not a lot of evidence of Doyle's early life. So the script is based on an "idea", rather than fact. But as a "mystery" this film is highly recommended. Ian Richardson, as Dr. Bell - for whom Doyle (allegedly) was a clerk while in medical college - is superb. And the much lesser known Robin Laing (as Doyle) is nearly as good. The cleverness of Bell's deductions which help find the serial killer are what keep you interested. And, since this is a "period piece", the film - at least in this transfer - doesn't appear dated.
There is the requisite "romantic angle" to the story but this is carried out without destroying the mystery.
The BFS release adds a few "special features" including "text on screen" Production Notes, Actor bios and - as a DVD-ROM bonus, the full text of the novel The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
I enjoyed this and any Holmes fan - or lover of high quality BBC-TV dramas - should as well.