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The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes 

Arthur Conan Doyle reveals the story behind Sherlock Holmes and his mysteries by telling about Dr. Joseph Bell.







Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Sean Wightman ...
Mortuary Clerk
Elspeth Scott
Sir Henry Carlyle
Ralph Riach ...
The Strand Editor
Aly Bain ...
The Fiddler
Andrew John Tait ...
Eustace Stark
Alan Sinclair ...
Medical Lecturer
Thomas Neill
Tamsin Pike ...
Joel Strachan ...
David Walker ...
Baxter (as David MacDowell)
Sarah Collier ...
Mary Doyle
John Bett ...


In the tumult that follows his killing off his fictional character Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle reflects on the man who influenced and provided the prototype for the great detective, Dr. Joseph Bell. A professor at the University of Edinburgh medical school where Doyle is a student, Bell is unconventional in his quest for knowledge and uses his skills of perception and observation to interpret events. He also believes that crimes can be solved in the same way as disease can be diagnosed if the same techniques are used. Having solved the murder of a young woman, Bell grants Doyle greater access to his research. This is also a time when women are being admitted to the Medical School for the first time and Doyle has become attracted to a fellow student, Elspeth Scott. Not all of the students and staff are as accepting as Doyle and someone is trying to frighten her and perhaps even do her harm. When Elpseth's sister Lady Sarah Carlisle takes ill, Doyle comes to believe that her ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He taught him the finer points...of murder!



Official Sites:




Release Date:

18 May 2000 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(2 parts)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


In Doyle's first conversation with Elspeth, she tells him that she's from South Africa. In real life, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's first published work of fiction, "The Mystery of Sasassa Valley", was set in South Africa. Citation: Owen Dudley Edwards, "Doyle, Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan (1859-1930)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. See more »


When Sir Henry is confronted about the pills that he gave to Lady Sarah, he takes the box of pills from her. In the next moment, from a different camera angle, Dr. Bell takes the box from Inspector Beecher. See more »


Arthur Conan Doyle: I only wish I'd never met you. He kills her and then escapes and you can do nothing? Your method sir, is a pitiful lie!
Dr. Joseph Bell: No, this is the lie! There is no possible reason for it, no gain, no profit - not even wicked pleasure. And if this is the future Doyle, I reject it - utterly and with contempt!
See more »

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User Reviews

Superb Acting, Great Story lines, Very intense, Very suspenseful
30 January 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Wow! What can I say, I'm a big fan of British mystery series. I've watch everything from "Touch of Frost, Prime suspect, Trial & Retribution and Wire in the Blood" to "Cracker, Jericho of Scotland Yard, Touching Evil, Midsummer Murders and Inspector Morse".

And out of all those series I pick this fantastically brilliant 5 movie episode series as the best of the best. Murder Rooms is my favorite British TV mystery of all time.

I was heartbroken to learn that a second season had not being commissioned by the BBC. I can only wonder why in the world not?

If you like Sherlock Holmes, you will love Murder Rooms. If you love Sherlock Holmes, prepare to adore Murder Rooms.

Ian Richardson commands a gigantic presence impossible to ignore in the fantastic portrayal of Dr. Joseph Bell. The relationship between Bell and Doyle in this series is very different than that of Holmes and Watson. Charles Edwards plays a very independent thinking young Arthur Conan Doyle. An almost equal character to Dr. Bell. Far from a sidekick. As a fan of 19th era this series wasn't hard to get into for me.

My number 1 favorite SERIES of all time is MURDER ROOMS.

By Dedoshucos.

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