11 thoughts on “Episode 1: A Scandal In Bohemia

  1. I discovered your podcast only last week (it scrolled across my facebook feed), and I just finished listening to episode 1 today. It’s a class-act, gentlemen: very well done indeed.

    I’ve been a fan of Sherlock Holmes since I was 9 years old (more on that in a moment), and I actually teach British history at the university level. One of my favorite classes to teach is Crime, Misery, and Vice: London and the Victorian Underworld. As you can imagine, Sherlock Holmes figures prominently. Both as a professional and as a fan, I found myself mentally weighing in—to confirm, amplify, or (occasionally) correct—just about every observation you two made. It was quite a treat, and if you continue at the rate of an episode every month or so, I know I have several years’ worth of good listening ahead of me.

    Like I said, I could buzz in and comment on so much you two covered, but I’ll try and rein myself in and just point out some personal bits that tie in particularly to this episode.

    First off, I gather the older of you two first saw a Jeremy Brett Sherlock Holmes when you were around 10. Me too: It would have been a month or two before I turned 10. You watched it on Mystery! on PBS in Pennsylvania. Me too: Thursday nights at 10pm on WQED-Pittsburgh. The only thing I watched that late. You must be a year or two older than me, however, since I started with ~The Return of Sherlock Holmes~ in the winter/spring of 1986. I tuned in to “The Adventure of the Empty House,” and was absolutely hooked. I watched the next 6 episodes, and then waited with baited breath until the ~Adventures~ came back around as re-runs. We can talk about the ~Return~ when we get to it.

    So far as “Scandal” is concerned, it’s among my least favorite of the first series. But being among the least favorite of the best imaginable is still pretty good. In fact, it’s damn’ good. I was weirded out by David Burke, since I had cut my teeth on Edward Hardwicke, but taking everything as a whole, David Burke is my favorite.

    I haven’t seen most of these episodes for 25 years or more, except for occasional YouTube clips and the like, and one of the things that surprises me a lot is that the programs have aged. Not in a bad sense, mind you, but in the sense that you can plainly tell they are artifacts of the mid-1980s. They were made to be timeless—and they very nearly are—but little clues here and there (women’s hairstyles or eyebrows, for instance) point a big, fat finger right at 1984 or thereabouts. I once saw an interview with Edward Hardwicke where he talked about the timelessness of the program, and he was so right. Except it’s not always possible to 100% hide your origins.

    One more final comment. Or two rather. One, I also remain traumatized, to this day, by the creepy dream-sequence that opened “The Resident Patient” (in other respects, I loved that one, and can’t wait to hear your treatment of it). And two, I remember really looking forward to “The Devil’s Foot” (I had read the story by then) and, on the whole, was pleased with how they dramatized/stylized that one.

    Thanks again for the excellent program.

    1. Great to hear from you, Richard! Thanks for taking the time to write. Glad to hear that I am not the only one who was traumatized by The Resident Patient. 🙂 -Gus

  2. I just got around listening to the second half of your first episode. Really enjoyed the discussion by the two of you. It really lets me think about the episodes from a different persepctive, as all my friends I ever told about this series were not too keen on watching something that is older than themselfs. For example the mask of the king is something I thought about, too, when I was watching the episode for the first time, but I could not validate if other people thought about it the same way.

    On another note, regarding Irene Adler’s name, or rather the pronunciation of it: I uploaded some parts of the German version of the series on YouTube where you can hear the German pronunciation of her name: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GK9ck2Csb80
    In newer adaptions, even the German translation uses the British pronunciation, though.

  3. Glad to find your podcast! I’ve been listening to it while I garden or draw/paint. Fun knowing someone else enjoys the series as much as I do.

  4. I’m so happy I stumbled upon this podcast. Like both of you, I’ve been a fan since the 80s, when I was a small child. I’m most fond of this episode for the camaraderie between Holmes and Watson. I agree it’s not much of a mystery, and interestingly enough it’s “solved” more by Holmes’ questionable psychological theory–dare I say feminine intuition–that someone will head for the object they most value in a fire. Although Irene really, at that point, doesn’t seem to value the portrait much at all, since she’s already decided not to use it to disgrace the king.

    The idea of Irene as a love interest has always perplexed me and kind of annoyed me. Can’t a man and a woman have a purely intellectual respect for one another? On another note, one reason David Burke is my favorite Watson (although only by a hair over Edward Hardwicke) is the subtle sexual chemistry he has with Brett. The mystery isn’t a great mystery, but this dramatization is great for world-building what is to come, and setting the tone of the relationship.

    Okay, off to listen to more episodes after loving this first one–and your interview with Stephen Fry–so much. Also, on a very obnoxious note, I was interviewed for another podcast about Holmes.


    So if you’re ever interested in having another voice on from the Sherlockian universe, I’d be happy to help out (although I fear anyone after Stephen Fry will be a HUGE letdown, and kudos for getting him on the podcast). I write horse books, so that’s my additional credential for discussing Silver Blaze when you get to it, although I could easily discuss any of them, particularly my favorite first and second season episodes, on a moment’s notice.

  5. I’m just waiting for you guys to get to The Red-Headed League and The Final Problem-and talk about Eric Porter’s portrayal of Moriarty-the best onscreen Moriarty I have ever seen. I’m loving the podcast guys , I love the little details you guys pepper through the episode-i’m loving the podcast guys- please keep going.

  6. Hello guys

    It was a great pleasure listening to your podcast. Very professional, interesting, and entertaining.

    It is a great companion piece while watching the series.

    I’ll, be continuing to follow this podcast with great interest. Thank you for doing it with so great competence.


  7. I just discovered this podcast! Thank you – Jeremy Brett and Sherlock Holmes are getting me through the pandemic. Helps calm me with Jeremy Brett’s divine spark as Sherlock Holmes. My thoughts on Scandal in Bohemia:
    1. Best Line: Holmes: From what I have seen of the lady, yes indeed, she is on a very different level to your Majesty.
    2. Most poignant scene, Holmes at the end, looking at Irene’s photo, locking that drawer, then playing on the violin the same haunting piece that Irene sang earlier; then Holmes looks into the fire. Irene really touched him deeply. One of the things I love about Jeremy Brett is that he imbued the role with soulfulness or romanticism while keeping true to the character’s persona.
    3. Holmes’ disguises are extraordinary and contrast with the feeble attempt the King makes at wearing a disguise. Irene’s disguise at the end is a fittingly ironic as it allows Irene to confirm she is dealing with Sherlock Holmes. Holmes disguise as a grooms man is also ironic since he becomes the grooms man at Irene’s wedding.
    4. What doesn’t work: when Irene passes Sherlock on the street outside his home and calls out to him, why didn’t Sherlock put two and two together since he was in disguise – who else would have known it was him? This should have aroused his suspicions.
    5. Question: why is Irene referred to (twice) as “The beautiful Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory.” It’s very poetic but what does it mean?
    Thank you again for such a superb podcast.

    1. Agreed on all counts. The moment when she passes him on the street would have been a giveaway. But. It does read a little better in the story than it plays in the episode (if I am being generous).

      As for the poetic line: It has been a while since I re-read this one – but, there is much debate about this quote and the “late” Irene Adler. I don’t have a solid answer. But part of me gets the feeling that Doyle might have had some other ideas for how this character/story would go… and some of these lines might have been remnants of that. Hard to say for sure. But, if you are interested in the minutiae of this one, I would suggest one of the annotated books. They always provide a good deep dive.

  8. Hi. Just found your podcast and really enjoyed it. By far the most loyal incarnation of Holmes, and I’ve seen a fair few, all the way back to Basil Rathbone.
    One little thing, though. It was avaliant attempt to pronounce Warwickshire…phonetically it is more like worricksheer. Hope that helps.
    I look forward to catching up on the rest of the episodes.

    1. Thanks, Shel! We are admittedly often off on our British pronunciations. Tho, I think we get better as the show goes. 🙂 Thanks for listening!

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