Weekly Forum: 2015 #9

This week’s forum asks you to name your favourite character from the Canon in a film or TV series.

henry baker

For instance, Buttons’ all-time TV series favourite character is Mr Henry Baker as played by Frank Middlemass from the Granada Television series “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” starring Jeremy Brett and David Burke in the 1984 production of “The Blue Carbuncle.”  Frank Middlemass (d.2006) was the quintessential British Museum antiquarian, pub tippler, and wearer of a bowler hat. The equanimity with which he meets life’s misfortunes shows his wonderful British resolve and hopeful positiveness or, as Dickens’ irrepressible Wilkins Micawber says, “Something will turn up.”

Who is yours?

6 Replies to “Weekly Forum: 2015 #9”

  1. A favorite pairing—Hillary Brook as an icily-evil Lydia and Henry Daniell as an elegantly-evil Moriarty in “The Woman in Green”

  2. Colin Jeavons as Inspector Lestrade in the Granada series. Whenever I read the canon and Lestrade pops in to the story, Jeavons is the man I picture. Also, the Six Napoleons is one of my favorite episodes in the Granada series thanks to him and his interactions with Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson.

    (I admit, I also like Rupert Graves as ‘DI Greg Lestrade’ and I enjoy the fact that he has a significant presence in the BBC series… but if we are going with Canonical character come to life, Jeavons is such a tough act to follow.)

  3. Ah..Buttons: Yes! When Middlemass (Baker) responds to the land lord’ remark about “we must take care of those we love” and Baker replies: “and even those to whom we are married” it cracks me up everytime. I’ve seen it a zillion times, and it still makes me laugh–his timing is perfection. And the puzzled look when he’s asked about the gas laid on; his “Alas, no” is just so perfect. But, Carla is right too–the first part of the SIXN when Jeavons (Lestrade) is smoking the cigar, and looking like he’s about to burst with the story he is going to tell: that is my picture of 1895 Lestrade, always. The Granada series simply had some brilliant casting; the following come immediately to mind: Moriarty, Roylott, Adler (Gayle Honeycutt was the daintiest thing under a bonnet, and from a recent picture I saw, still is!) and Ruecastle. When I watched them, it always seemed to me that the characters just walked right off the page. When I try to answer your question, it seems impossible to chose.

  4. Very difficult to choose, I agree… but I have a particular fondness for “the daintiest thing freckled like a plover’s egg”, Natasha Richardson as Violet Hunter.
    Also in the Granada series, Jephro Rucastle was exactly the Canon sprung to life. And I may mention John Clay, Jabez Wilson, and Inspector Gregory from SILV.

  5. Alexian Gregory “Darwin” sends this comment:

    “In a recent post to the JHWS website you mention Frank Middlemass. Middlemass has a unique Sherlockian distinction. He appeared in two versions of the Blue Carbuncle playing two different roles. In the Granada series he played Henry Baker to Brett’s Holmes. In the BBC version he played Peterson to Cushing’s Holmes. I don’t believe any other actor appeared in two versions of a single short story playing two different roles!”

    1. That may depend on the medium. For TV only, that may be correct (and that’s quite neat!). If we count other media or across different forms of media, there are some additional surprises out there.

      From my limited knowledge, I know that Clive Merrison performed as Bartholomew Sholto in “The Sign of Four” TV movie in 1983 and then later went on to be Sherlock Holmes in “The Sign of Four” BBC Radio 4 series years later. In just the radio medium, Carleton Hobbs played Dr. Watson in a wartime production of “The Boscombe Valley Mystery” with Arthur Wontner for the radio before taking on the role of Sherlock Holmes in “The Boscombe Valley Mystery” (among many other canonical adaptions) during his long, legendary run on the radio many years later.

      It would be interesting to find out how many actors that have performed the Canon for TV, movies, radio, audiobooks, and on stage have taken on more than one other role in the exact same Canonical story throughout their acting career.

Comments are closed.