When a notorious retired builder is found dead, his recently-named heir is the prime suspect.



(short story "The Adventure of the Norwood Builder" from volume "The Return of Sherlock Holmes") (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), (developer) | 1 more credit »




Episode complete credited cast:
Rosalie Crutchley ...
Mrs Lexington
Matthew Solon ...
Mrs McFarlane
Anthony Langdon ...
Ted Carroll ...
Seafaring Tramp


Knowing that he is about to be arrested for murder, John Hector McFarlane asks for Sherlock Holmes' assistance in establishing his innocence. McFarlane is a solicitor who was visited the previous day by Jonas Oldacre who wanted to draw up a will. McFarlane was astonished to learn that Oldacre was naming him as the beneficiary of his fortune. McFarlane had never met the man who claimed to have known his parents long ago and having no issue of his own, wanted to leave everything to him. McFarlane drew up the papers and called at Oldacre's home that evening to have everything signed but sometime in the night the man was killed and the body burned beyond all recognition. Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard thinks he has an open and shut case but after Holmes interviews McFarlane's mother, he thinks there is something else afoot. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery




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Release Date:

8 September 1985 (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?


Most of the episode is set at Oldacre's home. One property was used extensively for filming: the interior, exterior, garden, driveway and road outside. It was Beech Mount, Bowdon Road, Altrincham, Greater Manchester. See more »


When Holmes is explaining the murder of the old sailor he produces what he calls a Great White shark tooth as evidence. The tooth actually belongs to a Sperm whale. See more »


[first lines]
Dr. John Watson: Thank you, George.
Sherlock Holmes: From the point of view of the criminal expert, London has become a singularly uninteresting city.
Dr. John Watson: Well, I hardly think you'll find many decent citizens to agree with you.
Sherlock Holmes: Well, well, well, one must not be selfish. The community's the gainer and no-one the loser, save the poor unfortunate specialist whose occupation has gone.
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Version of The Norwood Builder (1922) See more »

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User Reviews

One of the best of this series
3 June 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I am a big fan of the Granada Sherlock Holmes adaptations, and The Norwood Builder is no exception. In fact, it is one of my favourites of this particular series along with The Crooked Man and The Speckled Band.

The story this is adapted from is wonderful, very intriguing to say the least. This is a wonderful adaptation, with strong, thoughtful writing, a thrilling story and interesting characters, especially the narrow-minded and inept Inspector Lestrade.

The direction is never too low-key or over-the-top, and the adaptation never feels rushed or pedestrian. The production values as is consistently the case with this series, even in the weaker adaptations such as The Eligible Bachelor(part of Casebook), are top notch, with evocative recreation of the period and excellent photography. The music again is both beautiful and haunting.

The acting is as good as can be. Jeremy Brett is note perfect as Holmes, David Burke, as thoughtful and as composed as ever, gives one of his better performances as Dr Watson(I prefer Edward Hardwicke, but Burke is good too) and Colin Jeavons is a sheer delight as Lestrade.

Overall, a wonderful adaptation and one of the best of this particular series. 10/10 Bethany Cox

5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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