Some quick thoughts on the 1982 four-part BBC television series of The Hound of the Baskervilles, starring everybody’s favourite Dr. Who – Tom Baker – as Sherlock Holmes. Over the years, this version has developed a reputation for being pretty bad. I am guessing a part of the reason for this is that is hasn’t been available – many people concluding that it must be bad if it has never been released. As one of the few people who could sit through the entirety of Peter Cook & Dudley Moore’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, I wondered just how bad could it be?
The answer is, it is not bad at all. It may not reach the heights of some of the other versions – the Hammer version with Peter Cushing being my favourite – but none-the-less tells the oft told tale in a professional way. Baker is a fine Holmes – but as people familiar with Hound already know, Holmes is absent from the story for a sizable amount of time. But Terence Rigby is not the worst Watson to carry the story (Robert Duvall, with his dreadful accent and voiceover in The Seven Percent Solution gets my vote for worst Watson). Like many other versions of Hound, it could be said that the ferocious canine of the title lets the series down – but I don’t believe any version has really nailed the Hound.
On the plus side, if you are a Tom Baker fan, the recent Madman DVD release has an entertaining audio commentary by Baker over all 4 episodes, which in itself almost makes it worth the price.