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The Devil's Foot 

While convalescing in Cornwall, a depressive Holmes investigates the apparent death from apoplexy of a local woman and the unexplained sudden dementia of her two brothers.



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




Episode complete credited cast:
Mortimer Tregennis
Michael Aitkens ...
Reverend Roundhay
Mrs Porter
Norman Bowler ...
Owen Tregennis
Peter Shaw ...
George Tregennis
Christine Collins ...
Brenda Tregennis
John Saunders ...
Dr Richards
Frank Moorey ...
Police Inspector


Suffering from depression and nearing a breakdown, Holmes is accompanied by Watson to Cornwall for rest and recuperation as they tour the area's scenic coastal cliffs and Neolithic sites. The tranquility is interrupted by news that an unexplained tragedy has suddenly struck three siblings while playing cards in their home. The sister has apparently died from apoplexy, and her two brothers are suffering from acute dementia with expressions of fear and horror frozen on their faces. Showing great will power, Holmes discards his cocaine hypodermic and scrutinizes those involved in the case: an estranged third brother, the local vicar, and an enigmatic big game hunter and African explorer. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

6 April 1988 (UK)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The scene of Holmes burying his syringe came in reaction to the producers and Brett learning that this Sherlock Holmes was very popular with children, who saw him as a superhero. As such, Brett was troubled that Holmes was setting a bad example to that audience with his cocaine usage. In response, he sought and obtained permission from Arthur Conan Doyle's daughter,Dame Jean Doyle and the Doyle estate for permission to have Holmes overcome and abandon his addiction. See more »


[first lines]
Dr Watson: Almost there.
Sherlock Holmes: What does a Harley Street specialist know about my health?
Dr Watson: Listen, Holmes, Dr Moore Agar insists you have a complete rest if you wish to avoid an absolute breakdown. The sea air will do you the world of good.
See more »


Version of Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Foot (1965) See more »

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User Reviews

A simpler story is refreshingly devoid of a cluttered assortment of characters...
26 May 2009 | by See all my reviews

This is an engrossing episode from "The Return of Sherlock Holmes" series--THE DEVIL'S FOOT. It starts out as possibly being a tale of the supernatural but instead the vacationing Sherlock Holmes uses reason to figure out who did the murders and why.

Brett and Hardwicke are well cast as the sleuth and his doctor friend, vacationing on the Cornish coast after the famous detective has suffered a nervous breakdown. They should have known better than to go this lonely locale expecting to find peace and solitude in the great outdoors far away from Baker Street.

Of course, it doesn't take long before a man turns up at their door with a story about three brothers and a sister enjoying a quiet game of cards, with one brother leaving after a brief quarrel. In the morning, the sister is found dead of apoplexy and the brothers are in a state of acute dementia with their faces frozen in horror. Holmes has to find out what caused the tragic occurrence--and why.

I found it one of the more interesting, if less baffling of the Holmes stories, but effectively produced with the proper atmosphere and settings. The explanations seemed credible and satisfying enough for any mystery fan. Well worth watching.

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