Big Finish Review – “The Ordeals of Sherlock Holmes”


Four decades. Four cases. One solution.

From the plains of Afghanistan to the alleyways of Victorian London, from the dark heart of the English countryside to the ruin of Europe after the Great War, join Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson in a quartet of astonishing new investigations which span their lifelong friendship – and beyond…

Written By: Jonathan Barnes
Directed By: Ken Bentley


Nicholas Briggs (Sherlock Holmes), Richard Earl (Dr Watson), John Banks (Inspector Lestrade), Derek Carlyle (Wherry), Blake Ritson (Christopher Thrale), Michael Cochrane (Winchester Bartley-Gower), Eve Karpf (The Gracious Adelina/Mrs Chaunt Maclise/Mrs Hope), Amy Ewbank (Eliza Hinderclay/Judy), Ken Bones (Jim Hinderclay), Caroline Keiff (Tess Dorno), Tracey Childs (Mrs Edgar Curbishley), Marek Oravec (Griesser), Andrew Fettes (Tlitzlmann Blench)

The redoubtable Mr. Sherlock Holmes has returned, along with his able companion, John Watson. Back not only on TV in series three of Sherlock, but also back in audio form from Big Finish. This is their third major series of Holmes adventures. How does it fare compared with the others?

Well, it’s decent. It’s not great, and sags a bit in the middle, but it’s decent.

The set contains four stories, each one hour long. The first tells a story of Holmes and Watson before they met, with Watson wandering around doing things in Afghanistan while Holmes introduces himself to Inspector Lestrade. The middle stories focus on Holmes and Watson working together to investigate sinister goings on that appear to involve a blue flower, and the fourth concludes the arc with the two of them visiting post-World War One Europe.

Of the stories, the first was easily the most interesting. I liked the idea of showing Holmes and Watson each on their own separate adventures; adventures which are of course linked. It was nice to see them having the chance to be characters apart from each other, as it shows a bit of their development. I also really enjoyed the fourth, even if certain plot twists were fairly predictable.

But the story falls apart a bit in the middle. Not badly so; it is still pretty entertaining. But something about them both felt a bit lacking. With the third, I think it’s mostly that we didn’t have the chance to see any real detecting from Holmes, but I can’t quite put my finger on what was wrong with the second story. The pacing seemed a bit off, and the supporting characters a bit dull.

That said, the set as a whole was very good, and one that I highly recommend to anyone who likes Holmes. If nothing else, you get to spend four hours listening to Nicholas Briggs, and that’s always a pleasure.


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