The Naval Treaty (TV episode 1984)

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
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The Naval Treaty

The Naval Treaty (episode No. 3) is the 3rd episode of season 1 of 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 8 may 1984. 52 min.

The episode is an adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's short story : The Adventure of the Naval Treaty (1893).

The Naval Treaty is quite enthralling thanks to its plot. Two major issues, the fate of the innocent Percy Phelps and a momentous diplomatic secret, are at stakes and depend on Holmes' investigation. Mystery is omnipresent and holds the viewer spellbound: Why did the thief ring Percy's office bell? Why did he not sell the precious document he had robbed? Who tried to break into Percy’s bedroom? Suspense prevails when Holmes lies in wait for the mysterious villain or when he comes back to Baker Street and let it be understood that he has failed, while displaying a cheerful demeanour. But The Naval Treaty owns many other trump cards than a riveting plot. This stunning episode treats us to gorgeous pictures exhibiting, for example, Surrey lovely countryside drenched in sunshine or our handsome heroes wearing becoming summer clothes and strolling around Phelp's magnificent park. It also presents unforgettable scenes of all kinds, such as the charming rose speech delivered by Jeremy Brett with keen sensitivity, Holmes' crushing reply to Inspector Forbes' insolent words, superbly played and filmed, and Phelps' merry dance when he gets the treaty back. All the complexity of Holmes' personality appears in The Naval Treaty, where he proves sharp and thoughtful, amusing and fearsome, icy and helpful, man of action, philosopher and poet. And after all, the mystery of Holmes’ psyche is not less gripping than a well put together detective enigma...




Plot summary (spoiler)

Watson receives a call for help from his former school mate, Percy Phelps. Phelps’ nerves have been shattered by an awful misfortune and he is nursed by his fiancée, Annie Harrisson, and her brother Joseph. Some months ago, Lord Holdhurst, Foreign Secretary, has put Phelps in charge of copying a top secret and lengthy naval treaty, but the young diplomat deserted his work to ask the caretaker for a most needed cup of coffee. Having reached the lodge, he heard the bell of his own office ringing. Panic stricken, Phelps came back up and saw that the treaty was gone! Holmes and Watson have a close look around Phelp's office and meet Lord Holdhurst, who reveals that the treaty has not yet been sold to a foreign country. Then, they both come back to see Percy who, sleeping for the first time without a night nurse, has noticed somebody trying to force his window open. Holmes, suspecting Joseph, asks Annie to spend the entire day in Percy’s bedroom and to lock the door at night while he is off to London with Phelps and Watson to investigate. In fact, Holmes leaves his companions soon after their departure and, at nightfall, returns at Percy’s house. The morning after, at breakfast time, he is back in London, apparently defeated and empty handed. But when Phelps lifts the lid of a dish to serve the wounded detective, he discovers the treaty lying inside! Holmes explains that, hidden in the stable, he saw Joseph entering by the window the room where Percy used to sleep, and caught him with the treaty he had stolen and concealed there. Joseph had not foreseen that Percy would fall ill, and that he would remain in this very room night and day, preventing him to recover his loot. Holmes fought the villain and won back the treaty: all's well that ends well.

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