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The Dancing Men 

A gentleman is baffled when the childish drawings of little dancing men terrify his American wife. Sherlock Holmes soon discovers why.


John Bruce


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




Episode complete credited cast:
Jeremy Brett ... Sherlock Holmes
David Burke ... Dr Watson
Tenniel Evans ... Hilton Cubitt
Betsy Brantley Betsy Brantley ... Elsie Cubitt
David Ross David Ross ... Inspector Martin
Eugene Lipinski ... Abe Slaney
Lorraine Peters ... Mrs King
Wendy Jane Walker Wendy Jane Walker ... Saunders
Paul Jaynes Paul Jaynes ... Walker
Bernard Atha Bernard Atha ... Dr Carthew
Tommy Brierley Tommy Brierley ... Cabbie


Hilton Cubitt seeks Sherlock Holmes' assistance in determining why a series of hieroglyphs - little pictures of dancing men - has so terrified his American wife Elsie. He knows little of his wife's background having met her in London during the Queen's Golden Jubilee but has now been very happily married for three years. The problems started a few months before when she received a letter from Chicago and more recently, when the drawings of the dancing men had been chalked on a garden wall. Holmes realizes that the symbols are a code of some sort and Mrs. Cubitt continues to receive similar messages. He also knows however that to unravel the mystery, he will have to learn more about the woman's past and her history in America. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official site [France]





Release Date:

1 May 1984 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Granada Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The British heritage of the actor playing Abe Slaney can be heard in his pronunciation of Chicago, with the hard "tch" sound as opposed to the soft "sh" used by an American English speaker. See more »


At the conclusion of the story, during Dr. Watson's epilogue, modern vehicle traffic is passing on the road in the background behind the manor house in the upper left hand corner. See more »


[first lines]
Hilton Cubitt: Elsie, what's the matter? Elsie!
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are Paget drawings from the story during the credits. See more »


Version of The Mystery of the Dancing Men (1923) See more »

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User Reviews

One of the standouts of Adventures
10 May 2012 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

I have always loved the Granada Sherlock Holmes adaptations, because they are so well-made and always interesting story-wise. Not to mention Jeremy Brett as my favourite Holmes(and I do have a lot of fondness for Basil Rathbone). Of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series, I do consider The Dancing Men one of the standouts of the series alongside The Final Problem, The Crooked Man, The Blue Carbuncle, The Speckled Band and The Norwood Builder. Once again it is incredibly well-made, with the atmosphere as meticulous as you'd expect and the costumes and sets authentic and looking absolutely splendid. The music is of the hauntingly beautiful kind, the story is as clever and compelling as ever and the script thought-provoking and sophisticated. Jeremy Brett as always gives a commanding performance as Holmes(I just love how methodical he was at the crime scene), and while I just prefer Edward Hardwicke as Watson David Burke is still a composed contrast. Tenniel Evans, Betsy Brantley, Eugene Lipinski and David Ross match them just as effectively. All in all, a superb episode and adaptation and one of the standouts of Adventures. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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