An otherwise perfect week in London contained only two moments of sadness. Twice, I opened a morning paper to read of the death of a person who brought great joy into my life, first, Edward Hardwicke and then, Jeremy Paul. I never met either of them, but feel very much in their debt because among many other achievements they collaborated on what is probably my favorite television show ever, the Granada Sherlock Holmes Series.
Turning Doyle’s stories into consistently good one hour television shows is quite difficult, because they vary widely in quality and in length. Yet Paul never missed a trick, bringing in wonderful little touches to pad the story when needed, condensing action for the longer stories, and helping the cast credibly pull off the sometimes improbable happenings of the original stories while respecting the spirit of the text.
Hardwicke replaced the solid David Burke as Watson after the first season, and did an even better job, projecting some toughness that made his on screen relationship with the outsized Jeremy Brett crackle with energy. It was a welcome change from the Watson-as-buffoon trope that Nigel Bruce started (Funnily enough, Bruce was a friend of Edward’s father, the actor Sir Cedric Hardwicke).
I don’t typically re-watch television shows. Indeed, I do not own a television. But since receiving the DVD boxed sets of the Granada Holmes series as a gift a few years ago, I have just about burned out my disk drive watching and re-watching them. Many people made those shows the great pleasure that they are, but Hardwicke and Paul were among the essential elements, and have earned their place in heaven.
Well done chaps, thank you.