Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Series 1- The Naval Treaty

"Help yourself to tobacco from the Persian slipper!"


Apparent diplomatic intrigue as a treaty is stolen, seemingly by an agent of the French or the Russians; there's even a red herring with a French-sounding name. But the real culprit is, of course, obvious; he's played by the most famous actor, which tends to be a dead giveaway, in this case the sometime star of Blake's 7.

There's a lot here to remind us of just how weird late Victorian times were, though. Percy Phelps is what they used to call "highly strung", a condition not much seen nowadays. But he's posh, well-connected, and has managed to get himself a much sought-after job in the foreign office as an... office dogsbody. Yes, this posh bloke does the late Victorian equivalent of the photocopying for a living.

The tale is well told, bookended by amusing scenes of Holmes doing chemistry with a proper chemistry set complete with various weirdly-shaped glass vessels and bubbling liquids. Holmes, contemplating a beautiful flower, reveals his belief in a superior being. And we have the first of many resentful and contrary inspectors, in contrast to The Dancing Men's fawning example. And that's two superb episodes in a row.

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