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The Naval Treaty 

An unknown thief steals an important naval treaty from a Foreign Office clerk; Sherlock Holmes sets out to find it.


Alan Grint


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
David Gwillim ... Percy Phelps
Gareth Thomas ... Joseph Harrison
Alison Skilbeck Alison Skilbeck ... Annie Harrison
Ronald Russell Ronald Russell ... Lord Holdhurst
Nicholas Geake ... Charles Gorot
Pamela Pitchford Pamela Pitchford ... Mrs Tangey
John Malcolm John Malcolm ... Tangey
David Rodigan David Rodigan ... Inspector Forbes
Eve Matheson Eve Matheson ... Miss Tangey
Rosalie Williams ... Mrs Hudson
John Taylor John Taylor ... Dr Ferrier


An unknown thief steals an important naval treaty from the office of Mr. Percy Phelps, a Foreign Office clerk. Phelps's distress gives him a brain fever that lasts for nine weeks. As he begins to recover, he writes to his old schoolmate, Dr. Watson, begging him to invite Sherlock Holmes to investigate the matter and find the treaty. Otherwise, his honor and happiness are gone forever. Holmes takes up the case with zest, but gives Phelps no false hopes. The mystery is as dark and tangled as any he has known. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

brain fever | See All (1) »


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official site [France]





Release Date:

8 May 1984 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Granada Television See more »
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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This episode makes reference to Holmes's cocaine use. See more »


Dr. John Watson: Come along, Holmes, that bandage tells of adventures. Now what happened?
Sherlock Holmes: After breakfast, my dear Watson. Remember I have breathed thirty miles of Surrey air this morning.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Illustrations by Paget from the original story are seen during the credits. See more »


Version of The Naval Treaty (1922) See more »

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User Reviews

Open Covenants Openly Arrived At
10 October 2009 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Watching The Naval Treaty in The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes my mind wandered to Woodrow Wilson and one of his 14 points which was 'open covenants openly arrived at', something he was trying to get into the Treaty of Versailles. It was against just such things as this, a secret Naval Treaty between the British and the Italians, something the foreign offices of any number of European powers would have loved to have gotten their hands on in those days before World War I.

The document, written in French, because in Europe that was the universal language of diplomacy, is entrusted to David Gwillim, a clerk in the foreign office. Gwillim is in that position because of his uncle is the foreign minister. One night the document is stolen and Gwillim facing personal ruin as well as the potential crisis in foreign relations the United Kingdom could suffer calls on a friend of a friend. Gwillim went to school with David Burke as Dr. John Watson and we know who his friend is. Jeremy Brett is the one man in the country who could untangle this potential crisis and keep it from coming to a head.

Given the limited number of characters in a short story, let alone one of Arthur Conan Doyle's stories about the master sleuth, we only have a limited number of suspects. It was obvious to me who the guilty party was almost from the beginning. Yet Conan Doyle's stories are mind games, the treat in reading and watching a dramatization is to see how Sherlock Holmes's mind works.

We don't have secret treaties any more, not because nations wouldn't like to have them. But in this the day of the internet, such secrets can't be kept for too long. What Wilson couldn't get by treaty, technology has forced upon nations.

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