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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - The Copper Beeches

episode 8

UK 1985
produced by
Michael Cox for Granada Television/ITV
directed by Paul Annett
starring Jeremy Brett, David Burke, Joss Ackland, Natasha Richardson, Lottie Ward, Patience Collier, Angela Browne, Peter Jonfield, Michael Loney, Rachel Ambler, Stuart Shimberg
screenplay by Bill Craig, based on the story by Arthur Conan Doyle, music by Patrick Gowers

Sherlock Holmes, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Gouverness Violet Hunter (Natasha Richardson) gets a great and greatly paid job at Mr Rucastle's (Joss Ackland) country estate ... but only under the condition that she cuts her hair - which she deems off enough to call on Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett) and Dr Watson (David Burke) for advice. Not much advice Holmes can give though as she has already accepted the job, but Rucastle's weird conditions pique his interest, and thus he asks her to telegraph him once things get weird ... which they do a mere week later, when Violet tells him that Rucastle has used her as a sort-of bait for a stranger (Michael Loney) - which of course she wasn't meant to notice -, and there is a wing shut off to her in the manor which seems more tha a little odd.

Well, it's not hard to guess the rest, Rucastle's daughter (Rachel Ambler) is locked in the shut off wing, the stranger wanting to intrude is her fiancé, whom Rucastle doesn't approve of, which is why he has locked his daughter away (otherwise the inheritance of his first wife would fall into her hands instead of into his). Ultimately, Holmes and Watson arrive just when the "stranger" wants to free Rucastle's daughter, and for whatever reason, Rucastle locks Holmes, Watson and Violet away to I don't know what before he releases the hound - on himself. Watson can shoot the hound though and nurse Rucastle back to health or at least a confession. For some reason, he faces no further consequences for imprisoning his daughter for his own sake though ...


I have to admit, a really bad episode of Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and supposedly first and foremost due to a very bad source material: Not only does the story give away its solution way too soon (with the premise - the cut off hair - actually), it also handles the whole situation in a very impersonal way. now some of the story might actually have made sense in Victorian England, but little holds true in the 1980's. And the fact that the episode is a bit too literal in approach and lacks tension and suspense does not help at all here. Well, at least Jeremy Brett gives a good performance, and Joss Ackland is really creepy (maybe too creepy to not give away everything), while the other actors have to fight against the blandness of their roles (yes, even David Burke).

Well, to sum everything up, an utter disappointment (and I know Sherlock Holmes-purists will hate me for this comment, but so what, I think my point is well-argumented, let me hear their arguments).


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD