HomeTVRevisiting the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes series in hi-def

Revisiting the Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes series in hi-def

Sherlock Holmes looks stunning in high-definition

Sherlock Holmes
Credit: Granada Television

For those fans who, like me, enjoy a physical product and don’t like to rely on the perpetual availability of favourite series on streaming services, I recommend the upgrade from DVD to Blu-ray. The German discs look great, though obviously you have to set the language to English (it defaults to German) and all of the text on the discs and menus is in German. It was fun asking my husband, who speaks German, to translate the episode titles! The picture quality is a massive step up, and you can see gorgeous details in an impressively well-crafted series that you may previously have missed. What I always took to be a random shot of a butler’s shoes in ‘The Greek Interpreter’ reveals that his footwear is covered with felt – to make his tread quieter in The Diogenes Club, where a rule of silence is imposed! I couldn’t help but give a Watson-like exclamation, “But of course!” However, the sharpness of the picture is a mixed blessing. Some special effects, such as St Paul’s Cathedral painted into the background of a location shot in ‘The Red-Headed League’ looks rather creaky, especially when the top of Jabez Wilson’s head disappears as he walks beneath! I could spot too the fake strips of roll-up ‘cobbles’ in the gutters hiding double-yellow lines, the make-up on actors’ faces in close-ups, fingermarks on polished surfaces and, worst of all, the wires holding the stuntmen in the incredible death fall sequence in ‘The Final Problem’ – all of which are totally invisible on DVD. Despite that, for the added crispness and richness of detail, I’d say high-definition is more of a blessing than a curse.

Greg Jameson
Greg Jameson
Book editor, with an interest in cult TV.

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