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.



(developed for television by), (dramatised by)


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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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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 The Copper Beeches (1921) See more »

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User Reviews

A Hidden Secret
5 February 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Money seemed to talk pretty well in this day. Several of the Holmes stories involved men or women who would normally have said no but who were offered substantial financial incentives. "The Red Headed League" and "The Solitary Cyclist" come immediately to mind. In this one, however, the young woman is asked to do some pretty bizarre things, one being to cut her hair a certain way. She also works for a couple of pretty weird folk and their incorrigible child. She is also asked to sit a certain way near an open window and to wear clothing chosen by her employers. This odd arrangement finally is laid at the feet of Sherlock Holmes. There is something even stranger going on in this house and that's where the mystery lies. This offering in the Granada series works quite well. I learned a lesson a while back in an American history course I was taking. One must separate current mores and motivations from the historical setting. The more of these stories one reads, we can see the effects of the class system in England near the turn of the Nineteenth Century. Stay with this. It is quite well done.

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