A gentleman is baffled when the childish drawings of little dancing men terrify his American wife. Sherlock Holmes soon discovers why.



(by) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), (developed for television by) | 1 more credit »




Episode complete credited cast:
Tenniel Evans ...
Betsy Brantley ...
David Ross ...
Wendy Jane Walker ...
Paul Jaynes ...
Bernard Atha ...
Tommy Brierley ...


Hilton Cubitt seeks Sherlock Holmes' assistance in determining why a series of hieroglyphs - little pictures of dancing men - has so terrified his American wife Elsie. He knows little of his wife's background having met her in London during the Queen's Golden Jubilee but has now been very happily married for three years. The problems started a few months before when she received a letter from Chicago and more recently, when the drawings of the dancing men had been chalked on a garden wall. Holmes realizes that the symbols are a code of some sort and Mrs. Cubitt continues to receive similar messages. He also knows however that to unravel the mystery, he will have to learn more about the woman's past and her history in America. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »


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Release Date:

1 May 1984 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In 1903, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stayed briefly at Hill House Hotel at Happisburgh, near Norwich. Asked to sign an autograph book, he saw in it a signature and address written in "dancing men" by G. J. Cubitt, the proprietor's son, who was then about seven years old. Conan Doyle then and there set to work upon "The Adventure of the Dancing Men," using not only the cipher, but the name Cubitt for the central character in this tale. See more »


At the conclusion of the story, during Dr. Watson's epilogue, modern vehicle traffic is passing on the road in the background behind the manor house in the upper left hand corner. See more »


[first lines]
Hilton Cubitt: Elsie, what's the matter? Elsie!
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Crazy Credits

There are Paget drawings from the story during the credits. See more »


Version of Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1942) See more »

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User Reviews

One of the standouts of Adventures
10 May 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I have always loved the Granada Sherlock Holmes adaptations, because they are so well-made and always interesting story-wise. Not to mention Jeremy Brett as my favourite Holmes(and I do have a lot of fondness for Basil Rathbone). Of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series, I do consider The Dancing Men one of the standouts of the series alongside The Final Problem, The Crooked Man, The Blue Carbuncle, The Speckled Band and The Norwood Builder. Once again it is incredibly well-made, with the atmosphere as meticulous as you'd expect and the costumes and sets authentic and looking absolutely splendid. The music is of the hauntingly beautiful kind, the story is as clever and compelling as ever and the script thought-provoking and sophisticated. Jeremy Brett as always gives a commanding performance as Holmes(I just love how methodical he was at the crime scene), and while I just prefer Edward Hardwicke as Watson David Burke is still a composed contrast. Tenniel Evans, Betsy Brantley, Eugene Lipinski and David Ross match them just as effectively. All in all, a superb episode and adaptation and one of the standouts of Adventures. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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