Here is an ambitious early effort by the BBC to bring Holmes to the small screen, in faithful live adaptations of the original stories. The 1964-5 series of thirteen programs starred a surprisingly capable Douglas Wilmer, who reads Holmes as brilliant (of course), lofty, bland, and a trace condescending--it is a well-crafted portrayal. Mr Wilmer seems to have been a Holmes devotee, and picked up several other related shows in his later years, including his last acting appearance as an irate member of the Diogenes club, in 2012. His devotion to this production reportedly included deep uncredited script rewrites--whoever is responsible for these teleplays did a very commendable job.
The 1968 series of sixteen episodes, of which unhappily only five survive, went to Peter Cushing. He provides us a typically brilliant, mercurial, skillful interpretation though with no new personality traits of the character. He is quite a showman, however, and easily captures the camera and propels the stories along. Both these great actors had difficulty with the confines of live, serial British television of the 1960's. The production, while very skillfully made, looks pretty inexpensive and generally lacking in retakes. Clearly rehearsals were hurried as well.
So, recommended for Holmes scholars; most people, fast-forward to the Granada series of the 1980's and 90's.
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