The Priory School (TV episode 1986)

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The Priory School

The Priory School (episode No. 15) is the 2nd episode of season 3 of the Granada series: Sherlock Holmes (The Return of Sherlock Holmes), starring Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes and Edward Hardwicke as Dr. Watson, aired on Granada TV on 16 july 1986. 52 min.

The episode is an adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's short story : The Adventure of the Priory School (1904).

The plot being complex, Michael Cox regretted that the primordial explanation of the kidnapper's trick to hide his tracks was revealed in a hurry. But John Madden's images and camera movements are magnificent, whether he shows us the magnificent "Cathedral" with its flaming torches or follows Holmes' gaze measuring the proud facade of Holdernesse Hall. As for Patrick Gowers' wonderful Libera Me, it embellishes and ennobles the whole episode. Incarnated by Alan Howard, the Duke lost his original grotesque appearance and Trevor Bowen, by giving him nobility, character and sensitivity, made him an opponent worthy of Holmes and whose misfortunes evoked sympathy. The episode is not a social satire, yet the cheerfulness of the teachers, when Watson recalls the Holdernesse's sulphurous past, underlines their need for revenge for an overwhelming ducal power. But perhaps the most engaging aspect of this dynamic and rhythmic adaptation is the way in which the actors reflect the distance and proximity between Holmes and Watson. During their break on the mound, Holmes, frustrated and worried, paid no attention to Watson's need to eat. Silent, eyes in the dark, Jeremy Brett suggests Holmes' irritation with barely perceptible signs: a slight pout, a head movement, a sketched sigh and symbolically, Edward Hardwicke sits back. When Watson risks a joke, Holmes slowly turns a hostile look towards him. Wounded by his silence, the doctor gets up, but does not resolve to leave him without trying to attract his attention one last time. Holmes then suddenly comes to and makes amends by enthusiastically proposing to join the inn indicated on the map. A fine, discreet, funny and therefore perfectly seductive, acting game.




Plot summary (spoiler)

Doctor Huxtable, director of the Priory School, came to beg Holmes for help: Lord Arthur Saltire, son of the Duke of Holdernesse, had disappeared! Also missing is the German teacher, Heidegger, and his bicycle. Holmes succeeded in disarming the Duke's mistrust, despite the efforts of his secretary, Wilder, to have him sent back to London. At dinner, Watson reveals that the Holdernesses once stole cattle. Holmes then showed Huxtable that Heidegger, far from kidnapping Arthur, saw him escape and pursued him by bicycle. The child had to be lured by a letter offering to meet his mother, who had returned to live in Italy. The next day, Holmes discovered on the moor the tracks of Heidegger's Palmer bicycle tires and Dunlop tires, cow tracks, all in the barn, and no horse tracks! During a stop at the Fighting Cock, Watson noticed that the boss, Hayes, had scratches on his neck. Holmes, on the other hand, notices that one of the innkeeper's horses carries old irons but new nails and soon realizes that, to cover his tracks, Arthur's kidnapper used irons with fake cow's hooves that the Holdernesse used to use. Soon after, Holmes discovered Heiddeger's remains. While struggling, he scratched the innkeeper, his murderer. Holmes and Watson are running to the Fighting Cock, but Hayes is running away. Wilder, on his bicycle equipped with Dunlop tires, has already taken Arthur. While Watson chased them, Holmes rushed to the castle, where the Duke finally admitted Wilder's guilt. As the natural son of Holdernesse and devoured by jealousy, he pursued his father and Arthur with his hatred. Perched in the cave where the stolen cattle were hidden, Wilder, who refused to return the child, slipped and fell to his death. Arthur saved, Holmes receives a royal cheque from the grateful Duke.

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