Adaptations of mystery stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle's contemporary rivals in the genre.

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1973   1971  
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Series cast summary:
 Martin Hewitt (2 episodes, 1971)
 Horace Dorrington (2 episodes, 1971)
Douglas Wilmer ...
 Prof. Van Dusen (2 episodes, 1973)
Ronald Hines ...
 Jonathan Pryde (2 episodes, 1971)
Cyd Hayman ...
 Laura Stanley / ... (2 episodes, 1971-1973)
Derek Smith ...
 Henry Jacobs / ... (2 episodes, 1971-1973)
 Farrish (2 episodes, 1971)
Petronella Barker ...
 Miss Parrot (2 episodes, 1971)
 Admiral Christador / ... (2 episodes, 1971-1973)
Charles Lloyd Pack ...
 Judge / ... (2 episodes, 1971-1973)
James Cairncross ...
 Briggs / ... (2 episodes, 1971-1973)
Paul Whitsun-Jones ...
 Fat man / ... (2 episodes, 1971-1973)
Robert Hartley ...
 Doctor / ... (2 episodes, 1971-1973)
Edward Dentith ...
 Sir Edward Markham / ... (2 episodes, 1971-1973)
Clifford Parrish ...
 Dr. Ewing / ... (2 episodes, 1971-1973)
Michael Cashman ...
 Asst. Purser Robbins / ... (2 episodes, 1971-1973)
John Dawson ...
 Insp. Fullalove / ... (2 episodes, 1971-1973)
 Jeweller / ... (2 episodes, 1971-1973)
Barry Ashton ...
 Buller's bank clerk / ... (2 episodes, 1971-1973)
Joe Dunlop ...
 P.C. Oates / ... (2 episodes, 1971-1973)
Maurice Quick ...
 The Magistrate / ... (2 episodes, 1971-1973)
 Mr. Drew / ... (2 episodes, 1971-1973)
Susanna East ...
 Girl (2 episodes, 1971-1973)


This British TV series, shot almost entirely on videotape, dramatized short mystery fiction by authors who were contemporaries of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Many of these authors were virtually unknown to modern audiences, although all of the detectives portrayed had appeared in popular ongoing series of short stories or novels. "Rivals" featured the only dramatizations to date of such period characters as Jacques Futrelle's "The Thinking Machine" and W. H. Hodgson's "Carnacki The Ghost Finder". Production values were high, although the limitations of early '70's video technology are painfully obvious. The casts included the cream of British television's character actors, featuring a few faces that will be recognizable to American audiences. Written by Doug Ferrar <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

20 September 1971 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Los rivales de Sherlock Holmes  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(26 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This series gave rise to a spinoff book of the same title, a collection of some of the short stories which had been adapted. The book was edited by Hugh Greene, the series creator, a former Director General of the BBC and the brother of Graham Greene. See more »

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User Reviews

Another Lost Jewel
22 February 2003 | by (Atlantic Coast, USA) – See all my reviews

I discovered this series on '70s American public television by accident while channel-surfing (or whatever we called it back in the days when you twisted a knob and then had to fine-tune the receiver). I felt like it was almost my personal secret then, something like Jean Shepherd's Ralphie feels before he decodes Annie's message. Except, this doesn't turn out to be a disappointment. The stories were intelligent, accessible, and timeless. This is TV doing what it should, before everything was about teen angst. (You know, I was a teen once and I don't remember having any angst. Maybe that was partly because my TV entertained me without suggesting I had to be glum to be cool. Maybe not.)

I've never seen it since and I've often wondered why not. It seems like the kind of thing that modern mystery fans would love to have, even if that meant buying it on DVD.

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