The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson (Приключения Шерлока Холмса и доктора Ватсона) was a series of television films made by the Soviet Union between 1979 and 1986. Commonly known as "Russian Sherlock Holmes" by Western fans, they were actually mostly filmed in the Latvian capital, Riga. They starred Vasily Livanov as Sherlock Holmes and Vitaly Solomin as Dr. Watson. Vasily Livanov became an Honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2006 for his portrayal of Holmes. The director was Igor Maslennikov.
Regular Cast Edit
- Vasily Livanov as Sherlock Holmes
- Vitaly Solomin as Dr. Watson
- Rina Zelyonaya as Mrs. Hudson
- Borislav Brondukov as Inspector Lestrade
- Igor Dmitriev as Tobias Gregson
- Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson (1979) - Two parts: Acquaintance (based on parts of A Study in Scarlet and "The Adventure of the Speckled Band") and Bloody Inscription (based on A Study in Scarlet)
- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson (1980) - Three parts: The Master-Blackmailer (based on "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton"), Deadly Fight (based on "The Adventure of the Final Problem"), and Hunt for the Tiger (based on "The Adventure of the Empty House")
- The Hound of Baskervilles (1981) - Two parts, both based on The Hound of the Baskervilles
- The Treasures of Agra (1983) - Two parts, based on The Sign of the Four and A Scandal in Bohemia
- The Twentieth Century Approaches (1986) - Two parts, based on "The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb", "The Adventure of the Second Stain", "His Last Bow", and "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans"
The series is notable for, unlike some Western adaptations, staying relatively close to the literary source. Many departures (such as Holmes's lack of cocaine use and Watson's military service taking place in "the East") were done to satisfy the Soviet censors. Vasily Livanov's Holmes is also one of the nicer, more easy-going portrayals, and several characters are used for comic relief.
The series' soundtrack was composed by Vladimir Dashkevich. The tune intentionally resembles an hourly musical logo played on the shortwave BBC World Service, and Maslennikov (the director) confirmed in a later interview that he wanted a very similar tune which could be identified with the spirit of Great Britain. It is perhaps one of the most recognisable soundtracks in the former Soviet Union.