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"Curse of the Baskervilles, figment of the imagination."
"But without the imagination, Watson, there would be no horror."
―Watson and Holmes (last lines)

The Hound of the Baskervilles is a 1983 British TV movie based on the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It stars Ian Richardson as Sherlock Holmes and Donald Churchill as Dr. Watson.


In 1982, American producer Sy Weintraub partnered with English producer Otto Plaschkes to make six television films of Sherlock Holmes stories. Charles Edward Pogue was enlisted to pen the screenplays but only The Sign of the Four and The Hound of the Baskervilles were ultimately filmed before Granada Television's Sherlock Holmes series premiered in 1984. A proposed third film, Hands of a Murderer (originally entitled The Prince of Crime) was eventually made with Edward Woodward as Sherlock Holmes and John Hillerman as Dr. John H. Watson.

In an interview with Scarlet Street, Ian Richardson explained:

"That was the fly in our ointment. Initially, an unseen fly. You see, when Sy Weintraub was planning the films, he was unaware that the copyright on the Holmes stories was about to expire in England and he had to go through a great deal of legal negotiations with the Conan Doyle estate in order to gain permission to use them. However, he was totally ignorant of Granada's plans to film a series with Jeremy Brett...Weintraub was furious, because he'd paid a lot of money to get permission from the estate and here was Granada saying, 'Thank you - but we're going to do it.' So Weintraub took them to court. He had a very good case, apparently; but eventually there was an out of court settlement for an extraordinary sum of money - something like two million pounds - which was enough for Weintraub to cover his costs on both The Sign of Four and The Hound of the Baskervilles, and make a profit, too. And so he wrapped the project up."

Denholm Elliott was cast as Dr. Mortimer having previously portrayed Stapleton in the comedy spoof version of the Hound starring Dudley Moore and Peter Cook. He also appeared with "Hound" co-star Connie Booth in the spoof The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It. Booth herself would later appear in 1987s The Return of Sherlock Holmes.

A large part of Martin Shaw's American accent was dubbed by another actor in post-production.


Differences from novel[]

  • The story's prologue retelling the Baskerville legend differs from the novel with the inclusion of a scene where Lord Baskerville rapes the fugitive girl after catching her, and the girl surviving when Baskerville is fatally mauled by the Hound.
  • A sniping attempt which does not occur in the original novel is made against Sir Henry.
  • Inspector Lestrade is assigned the task of arresting Seldon. Unlike previous versions of the story, he is revealed to be the policeman who arrested Seldon.
  • Brian Blessed's character Geoffrey Lyons never appears in the novel. In the film version, Lyons is presented as an imposing suspect who is at one point falsely imprisoned for strangling his wife. Holmes' solution to the case ultimately frees him.
  • The film's Geoffrey Lyons performs the feat of bending a fire iron as an intimidation tactic which was originally performed by Dr. Grimesby Roylott in "The Adventure of the Speckled Band".
  • Laura Lyons dies in the film, strangled by the murderer to protect his identity. She does not die in the novel.
  • Stapleton's demise in the bog is included as a part of the film's climax. He ambushes Holmes, Watson and Beryl outside the Hound's lair, but is chased by Holmes into the moor; he stumbles into the mire and sinks to his doom, despite Holmes' attempts to save him. The novel does not depict Stapleton's demise; he simply disappears on the moor and is assumed to have drowned in the mire.


The scene where Baskerville (Nicholas Clay) rapes the girl (Francesca Gonshaw) was criticised for its graphic nature, especially with the scene intercutting the act with the girl's horse struggling and drowning in the mire.

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