The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Season 1, Episode 6

The Speckled Band (29 May 1984)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 369 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 1 critic

A young woman asks for Holmes' help when her ill-tempered stepfather moves her into the same room where her sister died under mysterious circumstances.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Rosalyn Landor ...
Denise Armon ...
John Gill ...
Rosalie Williams ...
Tim Condren ...
Thorne (as Timothy Condren)
Stephen Mallatratt ...


As she fears for her life, Helen Stoner seeks Sherlock Holmes' assistance. She lives with her step-father Dr. Grimesby Roylott, a difficult man who is prone to bouts of temper. She tells Homes that some years previously, her older sister Julia had died in unexpected circumstances. She had asked Helen if she ever heard the sound of a whistle at night. Helen admitted that she had not. Just a few weeks before she was to marry, Julia came tumbling out of her room, screaming; she died within minutes. Now Helen, who is also soon to be married, finds that her step-father has moved her into her late sister's room. During her first night there, she hears the whistle that her sister had asked about. Written by garykmcd

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Crime | Drama | Mystery



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Release Date:

29 May 1984 (UK)  »

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Some scenes are set up so as to recreate Paget's illustrations: the scene on the train, Dr. Roylott's position of death, and Holmes striking at the false bell pull. See more »


[first lines]
Thorne: [chasing a boy] Come here, lad.
Dr. Grimesby Roylott: What are you doing on my property?
Thorne: Come to claim back what's rightfully mine, sir. That thieving young rascal made off with some horseshoes and a bag of nails from my smithy.
Dr. Grimesby Roylott: Where is your proof?
Thorne: The proof is I'll find 'em there. Now, I don't want to be forced to call the police.
Dr. Grimesby Roylott: These people are guests of mine, but you are trespassing, Mister Thorne.
Thorne: I'm not frightened of you, Doctor.
Dr. Grimesby Roylott: Get off my land!
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Crazy Credits

Shows an alternative angle of Holmes and the "speckled band." See more »

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User Reviews

A real belter of an episode
28 October 2008 | by (London) – See all my reviews

This was certainly one the better episodes; containing a beautiful and modest damsel in direst need of male protection from an extraordinary eccentric overbearing brutal villain who is faced up to by Holmes (Jeremy Brett) at his coolest and most urbane. The damsel is, by a mere hair, saved and the villain receives not a hair less than his just desserts. A thrilling, chilling full-blooded and most satisfying rendering of Conan Doyle's story.

But of all the Watsons there have been, from the elderly duffer and comic buffoon (Nigel Bruce in the 1940s' film versions) to younger and smarter ones, I can never reconcile myself to David Burke. A respected actor but as Watson he always gives - or perhaps was asked to give - too broad a performance with an absolute absence of nuance, rather as if in a boistrous stage farce. Holmes was of course a consummate judge of character and that, we must presume, included the person he wished to have as his close companion both at times of highest challenge and at times when he was at his lowest ebb. Holmes was an obsessive and a loner who struggled with his demons. So outstanding were his intellectual powers that he had no need of lesser brains - there were very few indeed he considered his equal - Moriarty, "The Woman" and perhaps in a different way, his brother Mycroft. Foreign royalty, the Prime Minister came to him on questions of ultimate importance. Holmes is under no misapprehension about his own abilities. That is the point of Holmes - at what he does he is the best. David Burke's quirky Watson sometimes tries to outguess Holmes. I do think that Holmes would have found such a Watson both extremely irritating and a liability. Edward Hardwicke in contrast is all those things that Holmes needed: completely predictable, utterly dedicated and loyal, never ever challenging but tactfully doing the decent thing when Holmes' manners and sensitivity to others feelings were lacking. It is in fact a portrayal of a successful marriage where one is brilliant, difficult, histrionic and uncompromising and the other is quiet supportive and understanding. It is the only kind of relationship Holmes would have needed or wanted.

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