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The Empty House 

Believed dead after his fatal encounter with Professor Moriarity three years earlier, Sherlock Holmes returns to England to foil a plot to murder him by a former Moriarity gang member.



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




Episode complete credited cast:
James Bree ...
Richard Bebb ...
Sir John Hardy
Robert Addie ...
Mr Murray
Naomi Buch ...
The Countess of Maynooth
Paul Lacoux ...
Elizabeth Ritson ...
Roger Rowland ...
John Palmer ...


After Dr. Watson testifies at the inquest of the Honourable Ronald Adair, shot to death after returning home from his gambling club, he is followed back to his office by an eccentric bookseller who reveals himself to be Holmes in disguise. After the initial shock wears off, Holmes explains that he did not die in the fall that killed Professor Moriarity in their famous encounter at Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland three years earlier. Holmes has remained out of England to avoid Colonel Sebastian Moran, a Moriarity associate who witnessed Holmes' escape death and has vowed to kill Holmes in revenge. Holmes will try to foil Moran and solve the Adair murder. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

9 July 1986 (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?


Uses the same music as the episode "The Final Problem." See more »


When we see Colonel Sebastian Moran firing his rifle from the empty house at what he thinks is Sherlock Holmes, the rifle has a traditional flintlock firing mechanism which we see operating at close range, albeit without generating a spark. As the rifle in question is revealed by Holmes to be an air-rifle and is indeed pressurized by Moran beforehand by use of a crank, such a mechanism would be useless. It seems unlikely that Moran, a master marksman, would have the lock on the weapon purely for show as its operation would impair his aim. See more »


[first lines]
Dr. John Watson: [voiceover] In 1891 at the Reichenbach Falls near Meiringen in Switzerland, Sherlock Holmes finally closed his account with Professor Moriarty, the most dangerous criminal of his generation. The two men were alone in that dreadful place, but the outcome of their struggle was obvious to a trained observer. Holmes had achieved the destruction of his arch-enemy only at the cost of his own life.
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Crazy Credits

The sketch of three hands holding champagne flutes over credits. See more »

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User Reviews

Holmes is back as strong as ever!
17 May 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I am a huge fan of the Granada Sherlock Holmes, and The Empty House is a strong return for a series that started with such promise and generally apart from a couple of disappointments later on was of consistent high quality. The Empty House follows on from one of the best and most special episodes of the entire series The Final Problem, the ending of which did leave room for a follow-up. While not quite as good, it is just as excellent an episode. There may be parts in the middle that feel as though the story is a little stretched, however the story overall is exciting and very clever. Three scenes stood out, the scene where Watson sees Holmes for the very first time since he was assumed dead, one of the most reflective and most moving beginnings of any of the adaptations of the series and especially the capture of the murderer, tense to start with and then a faithful and brilliantly delivered speech from Holmes(love the snarl). The production values are truly splendid, as is the typically hauntingly beautiful music, and the screenplay is of the usual thoughtful standard. Jeremy Brett is superb as always, and I do slightly prefer Edward Hardwicke's somewhat wiser and understated Watson to David Burke's. Patrick Allen is good as Moran, but Rosalie Williams and Colin Jeavons' supporting turns as Mrs Hudson and Lestrade fare best. All in all, a fine return for one of the most iconic detectives in fiction. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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