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The Speckled Band 

A young woman asks for Holmes' help when her ill-tempered stepfather moves her into the same room where her sister died under mysterious circumstances.


John Bruce


John Hawkesworth (developed for television by), Jeremy Paul (dramatised by) | 1 more credit »




Episode complete credited cast:
Jeremy Brett ... Sherlock Holmes
David Burke ... Dr Watson
Jeremy Kemp ... Dr Grimesby Roylott
Rosalyn Landor ... Helen Stoner
Denise Armon Denise Armon ... Julia Stoner
John Gill John Gill ... Driver
Rosalie Williams ... Mrs Hudson
Tim Condren Tim Condren ... Thorne (as Timothy Condren)
Stephen Mallatratt Stephen Mallatratt ... Percy Armitage


As she fears for her life, Helen Stoner seeks Sherlock Holmes' assistance. She lives with her step-father Dr. Grimesby Roylott, a difficult man who is prone to bouts of temper. She tells Homes that some years previously, her older sister Julia had died in unexpected circumstances. She had asked Helen if she ever heard the sound of a whistle at night. Helen admitted that she had not. Just a few weeks before she was to marry, Julia came tumbling out of her room, screaming; she died within minutes. Now Helen, who is also soon to be married, finds that her step-father has moved her into her late sister's room. During her first night there, she hears the whistle that her sister had asked about. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official site [France]





Release Date:

29 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?


Some scenes are set up so as to recreate Paget's illustrations: the scene on the train, Dr. Roylott's position of death, and Holmes striking at the false bell pull. See more »


Dr. Grimesby Roylott bends the poker through a full 180 degrees, so that it forms a U shape with the two ends parallel to each other. When Holmes later picks up the poker, it is not bent nearly as much, the ends being splayed out at a 45-degree angle. See more »


[first lines]
Thorne: [chasing a boy] Come here, lad.
Dr. Grimesby Roylott: What are you doing on my property?
Thorne: Come to claim back what's rightfully mine, sir. That thieving young rascal made off with some horseshoes and a bag of nails from my smithy.
Dr. Grimesby Roylott: Where is your proof?
Thorne: The proof is I'll find 'em there. Now, I don't want to be forced to call the police.
Dr. Grimesby Roylott: These people are guests of mine, but you are trespassing, Mister Thorne.
Thorne: I'm not frightened of you, Doctor.
Dr. Grimesby Roylott: Get off my land!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Shows an alternative angle of Holmes and the "speckled band." See more »

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User Reviews

A real belter of an episode
28 October 2008 | by trimmerb1234See all my reviews

This was certainly one the better episodes; containing a beautiful and modest damsel in direst need of male protection from an extraordinary eccentric overbearing brutal villain who is faced up to by Holmes (Jeremy Brett) at his coolest and most urbane. The damsel is, by a mere hair, saved and the villain receives not a hair less than his just desserts. A thrilling, chilling full-blooded and most satisfying rendering of Conan Doyle's story.

But of all the Watsons there have been, from the elderly duffer and comic buffoon (Nigel Bruce in the 1940s' film versions) to younger and smarter ones, I can never reconcile myself to David Burke. A respected actor but as Watson he always gives - or perhaps was asked to give - too broad a performance with an absolute absence of nuance, rather as if in a boistrous stage farce. Holmes was of course a consummate judge of character and that, we must presume, included the person he wished to have as his close companion both at times of highest challenge and at times when he was at his lowest ebb. Holmes was an obsessive and a loner who struggled with his demons. So outstanding were his intellectual powers that he had no need of lesser brains - there were very few indeed he considered his equal - Moriarty, "The Woman" and perhaps in a different way, his brother Mycroft. Foreign royalty, the Prime Minister came to him on questions of ultimate importance. Holmes is under no misapprehension about his own abilities. That is the point of Holmes - at what he does he is the best. David Burke's quirky Watson sometimes tries to outguess Holmes. I do think that Holmes would have found such a Watson both extremely irritating and a liability. Edward Hardwicke in contrast is all those things that Holmes needed: completely predictable, utterly dedicated and loyal, never ever challenging but tactfully doing the decent thing when Holmes' manners and sensitivity to others feelings were lacking. It is in fact a portrayal of a successful marriage where one is brilliant, difficult, histrionic and uncompromising and the other is quiet supportive and understanding. It is the only kind of relationship Holmes would have needed or wanted.

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