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Friday, March 30, 2012

An Old Dream: The Saga of Sherlock Holmes

A couple of decades ago, not knowing that someone would eventually dramatize the entire Canon on radio, I had a dream of creating a series of radio plays that would tell the story of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson chronologically.

In essence, The Saga of Sherlock Holmes, as I called it, was an anthology of stories I considered to be necessarily the best -- my favorite canonical novel isn't even included -- but, rather, the most significant in terms of the Holmes biography.

I didn't envision that they would be actually broadcast. The short stories would be half-hour dramas packaged together, two to a cassette, and the novels would be done in one tape of an hour or an hour and a half. Here are stories that would be included and a brief description of why:

Volume One

"The Adventure of 'The Gloria Scott'"  -- Holmes's first unofficial case
"The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual" -- Holmes's third official case

Volume Two

A Study in Scarlet -- Holmes meets Watson

Volume Three

The Sign of Four -- Watson weds

Volume Four

"A Scandal in Bohemia"  -- Enter the woman
"The Greek Interpreter" -- Enter the Lion (Mycroft)

Volume Five

"The Final Problem" -- The death of Sherlock Holmes
"The Adventure of the Empty House" -- The resurrection

Volume Six

"The Adventure of the Bruce-Parington Plans" -- Mycroft redux
"The Adventure of the Soldier" -- Holmes alone

Volume Seven

(Introduce with Watson's intrdoction to His Last Bow)

"The Lion's Mane" -- Holmes in retirement
"His Last Bow" -- An epilogue of Sherlock Holmes

I don't know in what year I wrote this outline, but here's a clue about the general time-frame: The copy in my files was printed out on a dot matrix printer.

So how did I do? Is there any story that you consider essential to the saga of Sherlock Holmes -- not just a good story, but an important part of his life's story -- that I left out?


  1. On a somewhat related note, one of the finest radio adaptations of the Holmes Canon (and my personal favorite) is of course Clive Merrison as Sherlock Holmes & Michael Williams as Dr. John Watson in the BBC 'Complete Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes'.

    Along with being fine interpretations, the scripts added in bits of non-canonical dialogue/plot that truly enhance the plot. In particular (your Volume 7 comment about Watson's intro to LAST) the introduction to The Last Bow is excellent portraying Watson at a Barts reunion giving a talk on his time with Holmes but then being asked by young (now very old) Stamford what Holmes has been up to, to which Watson replies (in a heartbreaking scene) he hasn't really seen Holmes for years....obviously, the call from Holmes comes soon after and then the events of LAST begin. Wonderful!!

    1. Sounds wonderful. I would love to hear that. The series must have had a wonderful script writer who understood that sometimes a dramatic production needs to depart from the source material a little in order to be true to the spirit of the original in a different medium.