Mr. Rucastle's odd requirements for governess Violet Hunter, such as cutting her hair and wearing certain dresses, alarm her so she seeks Holmes' advice.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Lottie Ward ...
Mrs Rucastle
Patience Collier ...
Miss Stoper
Angela Browne ...
Peter Jonfield ...
Michael Loney ...
Rachel Ambler ...
Stewart Shimberg ...


Sherlock Holmes is approached by a pretty young woman with a bizarre tale. Violet Hunter is a governess by profession and she has recently been offered a position by Jephro Rucastle to act in that capacity at his country home, the Copper Beeches. Apart from offering an enormous salary, Mr. Rucastle also has a number of odd requests. It would be necessary for Violet to cut her hair short and from time to time she would have to sit with them in the parlor wearing a particular electric blue dress. Homes doesn't have much to offer by way of advice but after taking up her appointment, Violet urgently requests his assistance when she discovers that someone may be locked away in a far corner of the house. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »


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Release Date:

25 August 1985 (UK)  »

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The lecture about Watson's "creative liberties" with writing up cases is from the orginal "The Copper Beeches" short story. See more »


[first lines]
Dr Watson: Something wrong?
Sherlock Holmes: To the man who loves art for its own sake, it is frequently in its least important and lowliest manifestations that the keenest pleasure is to be derived.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Paget illustrations from the story are seen during credits. See more »


Version of Sherlock Holmes: The Copper Beeches (1965) See more »

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User Reviews

Plenty of mystery in this bizarre tale.
7 October 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

When Sherlock Holmes is visited by Violet Hunter the game is on when she reveals a strange story where she has just been employed as a governess. Miss Hunter tells the story of a man, Mr Rucastle, that lives in a wealthy estate well outside of London asking her to do some bizarre things for her employment.

After cutting her long red hair as part of her getting the job, Miss Hunter, at times, has to wear a blue dress and sit by the window. And once was told to turn around and wave a young man, that was standing at the gate, away from the house.

Even with the strange direction given her, Miss Hunter feels like she is being paid well for her service. It is not until she stumbles upon stairs leading to the attic that all of the sudden her feeling change. There a shadow coming from the room at the top of the stairs. Sherlock has a good idea of what is afoot in the manor outside of town.

The climax of the story was not the highlight of this episode. In fact the ending was rather bland by regular standards. But it was the odd requests, the bizarre feeling and the outright sinister job that made the story entertaining. A well written script performed well by the actors. And with that, the conclusion of the episode ends with Holmes and Dr Watson discussing the case. The look of Sherlock Holmes at the fade-out is priceless.

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