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The Boscombe Valley Mystery 

When William McCarthy is found dead, the son with whom he had just quarreled is charged with murder.


June Howson


Arthur Conan Doyle (by) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), John Hawkesworth (dramatised by)


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Episode complete credited cast:
Jeremy Brett ... Sherlock Holmes
Edward Hardwicke ... Dr. Watson
Peter Vaughan ... John Turner
Jonathan Barlow Jonathan Barlow ... Inspector Summerby
Joanna Roth Joanna Roth ... Alice Turner
Leslie Schofield ... William McCarthy
James Purefoy ... James McCarthy
Cliff Howells Cliff Howells ... Crowder the Gamekeeper
Makala Saunders Makala Saunders ... Patience Crowder
Mark Jordon ... George
Will Tacey Will Tacey ... Coroner


When Sherlock Holmes receives an urgent plea for help from a young woman, Alice Turner, he interrupts Dr. Watson's holiday and they set off. Alice wants Holmes to exonerate her childhood friend James McCarthy, whom she loves dearly and who has been charged with murdering his father, William McCarthy. She is convinced of his innocence and believes the murder charge is due in part to his refusal to reveal what he and his father were arguing about the day the elder McCarthy was killed. They were in fact arguing about James' refusal to marry her. After interviewing him, Holmes also believes him to be innocent. The solution to the crime is to be found in events that began long ago when the elder McCarthy and Alice's father, John Turner, both lived in Australia. Written by garykmcd

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TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

14 March 1991 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Granada Television See more »
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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


[first lines]
James McCarthy: Look father, we have been through all this before...
William McCarthy: Do as I tell you, boy. You damned disobedient little bastard! Give me the gun!
James McCarthy: It's *my* life, and I'm going to run it the way I like!
William McCarthy: Get off out of it!
See more »


Version of Sherlock Holmes: The Boscombe Valley Mystery (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

A pleasant adaptation - but some missing clues!
11 March 2014 | by maxandriaSee all my reviews

I enjoyed this episode more than I was expecting to, based on some of the other reviews here. The reviews are incorrect however - this story is from EARLY in The Canon (1891), not late - so it came as no surprise that the conclusion of the reviews was well, a matter of opinion. The fact that Granada chose to mix and match stories from 'The Adventures..' into 'The case-book..' was odd, but does not change the order in which the author wrote the originals!

The episode featured the usual remarkable performance from Jeremy Brett and an excellent supporting cast. Peter Vaughan was wonderful as Turner. The silent exchange of glances between him and Holmes was glorious, moving and superbly executed by both actors, even if not quite true to the original (where Holmes 'reads' Turners weary look, rather than having an 'eyes only' conversation with him!).

Odd that a screenplay so faithful to the original should omit both the coooeee and the 'grey cloth' clues. Why? It made no sense! I'm sure Holmes himself would struggle to explain THAT decision....especially as it robbed him of the 2 of the strongest links in his chain of events.

Still, the wonderful acting, superb sets and still generally excellent production values (notwithstanding the above) were enough to make this episode worth watching and nearly as good as the earlier ones, despite dear Jeremy's failing health.

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