Contemporary short fiction, poetry and more

Sherlock: The Hounds of Baskerville

Another thrilling episode which had Jared hiding under a blanket but not as good as the last one.


The idea of a secret military establishment which was rumoured to have created giant, genetically-modified animals was a good one, but the bits about H.O.U.N.D. (being an acronym of five researchers’ names) was lame, having neither plausibility nor, in my opinion, rich possibilities for drama. 

Holmes’s nicotine withdrawal near the beginning, and his anxiety attack in the Cross Keys were both acted superbly by the faultless Benedict Cumberbatch.  If he has not done so already, I think he will this year overtake Winton Marsalis as The Coolest Man On Planet Earth.  If I were his insurer, I would be doubling the premium on his cheekbones, and possibly certain other parts of his body. 

Martin Freeman also continues to excel as Watson.  This portrayal of Watson makes good use of the character’s military background.  Like all good Watsons, he is an independent character and takes every opportunity to point out Holmes’s faults.  The sequence when he was hiding in the lab and thought the hound was after him was brilliantly acted.


Henry Knight (Russell Tovey) was a character who was a product of this adaptation, not the original story, but he was convincing and engaging.  If I had been in fear of my life because I thought I was about to be stalked and eaten by a gigantic, luminous hound, I would not have chosen a downstairs room with the largest picture window in Western Europe as a place in which to brood about my plight.  Nevertheless, this made for superb drama. 

If this adaptation had been an Open University creative writing assignment, it would have lost a few marks over the plaster cast of the huge pawprint.  Presumably that was just a fake, but this was left as a loose end.  Holmes’s method of getting information by pretending to have a bet with Watson was borrowed from another story (one about geese and a stolen gem – I forget the title of it). 

I leave you with a question to test your powers of observation and imagination: what particular branded personal item do this Sherlock Holmes and I both possess? 

Anybody who enjoyed this episode and has also begun reading ‘The Companion’ (the novel I am posting on this blog) may be interested to know that chapter 5 and a few subsequent ones will contain a character who is a genetically-modified rabbit.


9 responses to “Sherlock: The Hounds of Baskerville

  1. SoililquyApe January 9, 2012 at 2:10 am

    I haven’t seen any of this series but will try and catch it on iplayer. I have booked tickets for a stage production of ‘Hound of the Baskerville’ which will be interesting to compare to the film version I have previously seen. I will be re-reading the book before I watch it.

  2. emma johnson January 9, 2012 at 11:52 am

    A revolver.

    (I realise that’s not a branded item, but it’s more fun than an Apple).

  3. wthirskgaskill January 9, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Fortunately, that is the wrong answer.

    My late father had a Smith and Wesson thirty-eight which he had been issued with while serving in the RAF during WW2, but he handed it and the ammunition in to the local police station during a post-war gun amnesty. I don’t think I ever for forgave him for that.

    An Apple is also incorrect. I have an iPhone and three iPods but I don’t have an Apple computer.

  4. Joanna Crosby January 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Henry Knight is certainly in the original – where he is Sir Henry Baskerville, the young baronet with a spot of domestic and dog trouble (hence this one’s surname…). Agree with you about the picture window. Just been to Dr Watson’s blog, which is very badly written and does not sound like the character of Watson at all – sounds as if it was written by an excitable teenage girl.

  5. wthirskgaskill January 9, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Yes, but this was not Sir Henry Baskerville, nor anybody resembling him. The ancestral element had been broken: hence we had Baskerville experimental facility, not Baskerville Hall. Henry Baskerville is a typical unimaginative Briton (albeit who happens to come from Canada). Henry Knight is prostrated by anxiety and haunted visions, resulting in a suicide attempt. Apart from being the “hound’s” intended victim, and a having some kind of troubled legacy, I saw no other resemblances.

    I have just realised that we, as quasi-Holmeses, should have made an inference about the hound near the beginning. No boots or other articles of clothing or footwear were stolen from Henry Knight, implying that the murderer did not need them to obtain the victim’s scent.

  6. Joanna Crosby January 10, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Hmm well I accepted Knight as a replacement for the Baronet – who does get quite traumatised in the original. Esp as Knight was, as Watson delicately put it ‘rich.’ And it was all done to the same intent – they were trying to drive Baskerville mad. The character missing was girlfriend of Baskerville, and all of that side of it. And I didn’t like the teaser at the beginning that Watson was to go to Dartmoor on his own and then he didn’t – I wanted the whole ‘Holmes in disguise’ bit.

  7. wthirskgaskill January 10, 2012 at 10:44 am

    I agree with you about the unfortunate omission of Holmes in disguise. I would have liked to have seen was this Holmes would have made of hiding out in a Bronze-age stone hut for a few days. The original story speaks of Holmes’s “cat-like love of cleanliness”.

    I also wanted the prisoner who escaped from Dartmoor. They would have had a choice to have some shadowy and savage figure from either the real Dartmoor, or from the adaptation’s own Baskerville experimental station.

  8. wthirskgaskill January 11, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I have had no takers for the question. I’ll give you a clue: BLUEBELL.

  9. wthirskgaskill January 11, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Other than Emma’s revolver, of course.

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