A Scandal in Bohemia (TV episode 1984)

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
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A Scandal in Bohemia

A Scandal in Bohemia (episode No. 1) is the first episode of season 1 of the Granada series: Sherlock Holmes (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes), starring Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes and David Burke as Dr. Watson, aired on ITV on 24 april 1984. 52 min.

The episode is an adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's short story : A Scandal in Bohemia (1891).

A Scandal in Bohemia, first episode of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes to be shown in 1984, was the fourth to be made. Michael Cox writes, in A Study in Celluloïd: I wanted to get the style of the series firmly established before making the episode on which we would be judged by our audience and the critics.

The viewer is delighted to discover David Burke as a young looking, nice and funny Watson, Jeremy Brett, a live Paget drawing blessed with a wonderful voice and beautifully chiseled features and Rosalie Williams, a motherly but self-assured Mrs Hudson.

The flashbacks relating the romantic relationship of the beautiful and daring Irene Adler and the king of Bohemia are magnificent. Holmes' disguises are very good, particularly when he turns into a drunken lout so effectively that Cox himself fell in the trap and did not recognize his leading actor, and his impertinence towards the unintelligent and conceited sovereign brings about many funny sequences.

To add to our enjoyment, the end shows a dreamy and melancholy Holmes, perhaps secretly in love, who plays Irene's aria on his violin. This romantic picture may have fired the imagination of many female viewers.




Plot summary (spoiler)

Returning to Baker Street, Watson dreads the mood he is about to find his friend in. As he enters the sitting-room, he suspects Holmes to have taken drugs and lectures him forcefully, but the detective reveals he has been provided with another stimulant: the letter he has just received from the king of Bohemia.

The monarch asks Holmes for help to get back a compromising photograph where he appears alongside Irene Adler. Left by the king, who is about to marry a Scandinavian princess, the former opera singer has successfully repelled all his attempts to take the photograph back. Holmes finds out that Irene spends a lot of time with a lawyer named Geoffrey Norton. He attends their hurried wedding and is even asked to act best man. The couple, hunted by the king's henchmen, intends to fly abroad as quickly as possible.

Disguised as a wounded clergyman, Holmes succeeds in being welcomed at Irene's house. Alarmed by the fire Holmes has managed to fake with Watson's help, Irene gives away the photograph hiding-place. Holmes thinks he has won the game, but when he reaches Irene's house the day after, the nest is empty. However, she has left a letter in which she promises not to make use of the photograph against her former lover, because she has turned the page of their love story for good.

  • Credits: Monique Claisse (texts), Sarah Fava (photos), Granada.