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Edward Hardwicke (7 August, 1932 - 16 May, 2011) is the late British actor who played John Watson in the Granada Television series of Sherlock Holmes. The role was originally portrayed by David Burke during the first two series, but Hardwicke would portray Watson for the remainder of the series.


Edward Hardwicke portrayed Dr. Watson from 1986, for the majority of the series' run, including in all five feature-length episodes.

Personal life and career[]

Edward Hardwicke was born in London, to well-known actors Cedric Hardwicke (future Sir Cedric Hardwicke) and Helena Pickard. Part of Edward's childhood was spent overseas in the US, where his family worked in Hollywood for a number of years. During this time and shortly after their return to the UK, the Hardwickes often met with Nigel Bruce, a friend of Edward's father. Back in England, Hardwicke studied at Stowe School and later became a pilot officer of the Royal Air Force during his time in national service. Hardwicke was married twice, to Prim Cotton and to Anne Iddon had two daughters and a step-daughter. Some of Hardwicke's close friends in the acting business included Ronnie Corbett, Albert Finney, Anthony Hopkins and Peter O'Toole. Hardwicke died in May 2011 in Chichester.

A veteran of British theatre and television, Hardwicke's career spanned many decades. His earliest role was that of young English boy George in the 1943 film A Guy Named Joe (starring Spencer Tracy), but it would take a decade more for Hardwicke to enter the world of early television drama. During these post-war years, he attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). Between 1954 and 1957, he acted at the Old Vic. Later, from 1964 to 1971, he was a member of Laurence Olivier's National Theatre.

Since the 1950s, he amassed a large number of roles in various television productions, including several anthology series. Some of Hardwicke's notable television roles include The Visitors, Colditz, Crown Court, My Old Man, ITV Playhouse, Tycoon, Oppenheimer, The Bagthorpe Saga, The Bell, Play for Today, Strangers and Brothers, Drummonds, Peak Practice, David Copperfield (2000 version), and non-Holmes detective and crime series such as Ruth Rendell Mysteries and Agatha Christie's Poirot

His feature film roles include Shadowlands, Richard III (1995 version), Elizabeth, Love Actually and Oliver Twist (2005 version). In his later years, Hardwicke also provided voiceover work for various television programmes, Sherlock Holmes audio books, and even for video games (e.g. Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary, Napoleon: Total War, Fable III).

Notably, Hardwicke also appeared in other Sherlock Holmes adaptations before he landed the part of Dr. Watson in the 1980s-1990s Granada series. Back in 1968, he appeared as a guest star in the second series of the BBC's Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, portraying Davenport in the episode "The Greek Interpreter". (Unfortunately, this is one of the lost, missing episodes from the second series.) Some three decades later, Hardwicke even portrayed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself, in the 1997 film Photographing Fairies, which dealt with Doyle's involvement in the famous Cottingley Fairies photographic hoax.

There was also another family connection of the Hardwickes to the Sherlock Holmes Canon: Edward's father, Cedric Hardwicke, had portrayed Sherlock Holmes in a 1945 radio adaptation of the The Adventure of the Speckled Band. This particular radio adaptation was even introduced by Adrian Doyle, Sir Arthur's son.


2003 two-part interview with Edward Hardwicke, about his time on the Granada Television series

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