Sherlock Holmes: Season 1, Episode 23

The Case of the Christmas Pudding (4 Apr. 1955)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 39 users  
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When a serial killer is sentenced to death, he issues a threat that he will kill Sherlock Holmes before he himself is executed.



(original screenplay), (original screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Case of the Christmas Pudding (04 Apr 1955)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Ronald Howard ...
Sherlock Holmes
Howard Marion-Crawford ...
Dr. John H. Watson (as H. Marion Crawford)
Eugene Deckers ...
John Norton
June Rodney ...
Bess Norton
Richard Watson ...


Just before the Christmas holiday, John Norton is convicted of murder and is sentenced to death. In the courtroom, Norton threatens Sherlock Holmes, and swears to kill the detective before the execution takes place. Although Norton has murdered five wives, his sixth wife still believes in his innocence. Shortly after she delivers Norton a Christmas pudding at his request, the convict escapes, despite the many precautions that prison authorities had taken. In the middle of the night, Holmes is informed of the escape, and he knows that he must take action at once. Written by Snow Leopard

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Crime | Drama | Mystery




Release Date:

4 April 1955 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Gift for viewers
27 December 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Since I've been watching this very good 1950s Sherlock Holmes TV series, I've found "The Christmas Pudding" to be one of the finer episodes, even though it is rather atypical and its strangeness are not all the same as those of the other episodes.

The episode unusually begins in media res, with Holmes and Watson already attending the trial of a criminal, and this deviation in a series that has mainly followed the tradition of beginning with the two in the Baker Street rooms works very well. In fact, this entire episode is not much of a whodunit and more of a how-will-he-do-it, with John Norton the criminal threatening to escape and kill Holmes. We can guess pretty easily that his wife has slipped him something in the titular Christmas pudding as we are familiar enough with that trope, but it doesn't detract from the suspense.

Strangely for a Christmas episode, this one features little of the humor that characterizes these incarnations of Holmes and Watson. Instead it is played very straight and for suspense, which it gets. Even Eugene Deckers, which has been hilarious in some previous episodes, is instead very threatening here.

It is strange to see Sherlock Holmes falling pray to irrational fears, but somehow Howard and Crawford pull it off. Holmes' deception to get Watson to clear out of 221B so that he will be out of danger is actually rather touching. Interesting to note that this is also unusual because, strangely in this series, Inspector Lestrade does not appear.

This is a very well done episode, and good viewing for those who like a little murder and jailbreak at Yuletide.

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

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