Full Episodes

Episode 4: The Solitary Cyclist

In the 4th episode of season one, Holmes and Watson ponder the appearance of a Solitary Cyclist.  Is this the best episode of the Granada series?  Gus and Luke try hard to find any faults in this stellar entry to the series.  Also, a trip report from London – including a brush with the seedy underbelly of Shepherd’s Bush. 

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15 thoughts on “Episode 4: The Solitary Cyclist

  1. Thank you guys for creating this podcast. I was instantly hooked. Can’t wait for more episodes. BTW I really appreciate the production value, most of the podcasts I try are very amateurish, it’s really good to hear a good sound design, nicely executed editing.
    Thank you

  2. I remember the first time I saw this episode–in 1986 or ’87, when I was 10 or 11–I completely thought that Williamson staggering through the courtyard and being helped up on the horse was Holmes in disguise. The transition from the previous scene (among other things) made it seem so logical. Funny, because I think I’d forgotten that for the last 30+ years.
    Great podcast, gentlemen– something to look forward to every month.

  3. What a magnificent podcast. Thank you so much. This was the first one I listened to and somehow that seemed perfect. I’m now all caught up and can’t wait for more.

    I’ve loved the Granada series since I first watched them on Mystery back in the ’80s. I frequently break out my DVD box set and rewatch them all. Watching The Blue Carbuncle is a Christmas Eve tradition.

    Maybe I’ll pop in The Solitary Cyclist tonight. Thank you again.

  4. I just listened to Episode #4, The Solitary Cyclist. I’m currently listening to these podcasts while taking my morning walk. I LOVE THEM! Thank you so much for producing such a quality program. I’ve now gotten into a rhythm of watching the Granada episode the night before hearing your interpretation the following day. What a treat!

  5. One thing I’ve appreciated about the Granada series in general, in the way it portrayed women, is that all women are made to look like illustrations of the period and adhere to the beauty standards of the Victorian era (even Violet Smith, who is supposed to be a strikingly lovely woman). There’s no attempt to try to make the women meet the beauty standards of the contemporary era, and I think that’s why the appearance of these episodes doesn’t look dated at all.

    John Castle is such a fine actor, one of those British character actors who never quite got the respect he deserved.

  6. Your podcast is indeed of great quality gentlemen. Very well crafted, and as someone said, of very good production values in terms of information you provide, and the wonderful sound editing. I now have the habit of listening the podcast aftet watching the episode.

    Thanks and congrats

  7. Another great episode. I ALSO always thought that Williamson entering the pub was Jeremy Brett in disguise – he has a similar nose. It was interesting to hear the theory that “the solitary cyclist” is actually Carruthers, but to me that doesn’t make much sense – the fact that Violet is cycling on her own is the reason why she needs protection. I also don’t see how the punctuation in the original story proves that it isn’t Violet Smith. How would the sentence be punctuated differently if the solitary cyclist IS Violet? It is just a clause explaining who the person mentioned is, as in, for example, “the facts connected with Boris Johnson, the prime minister, and the curious sequel of our investigation”. (Sorry, I get obsessed with analysing punctuation…) I find it interesting that they thought “Carruthers” was such a comical name that even a purist like Michael Cox considered changing it. It is actually my mum’s maiden name and they were a perfectly ordinary family – no Victorian villains or old colonels with huge moustaches!

  8. This terrific podcast has given me great incentive to rewatch all of the shows, which I am in fact doing. I’d like to put my two cents in on who I think the Solitary Cyclist is, the girl or her pursuer. Comma’s aside, the title more aptly fits the girl. She chooses to be a solitary cyclist. She has invited no one to join her. Her purser only pedals when he is following her. To ride when only she rides is not exactly what I would call a Solitary Cyclist. That is more like the Stalking Cyclist. ( of course we know he’s protecting her, but the Protective Cyclist wouldn’t do!)

  9. I only just discovered this wonderful podcast a couple of days ago – I started at the beginning and just finished Episode 4 this afternoon. “The Solitary Cyclist” was, if I recall correctly, the first episode I ever saw on CBC-TV (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) when I was around 13 years old in 1984 and I was instantly hooked. I cannot remember if it was the Holmes character that lured my literary mind in or if it was as simple as spotting an actor with the same surname as mine! Can’t tell you how disappointed I was to find that he was not an authentic Brett, but he’s “Uncle Jeremy” in my heart for all of my days! In Grade 11, the entirety of our English course was to work on two research papers. My first was on Sherlock Holmes. I was sincerely interested in the research, but I am fairly sure at least part of my decision lay in being able to claim all viewings of the series as research for my project.

    I collect celebrity autographs – nearly all obtained via the old-fashioned mail system – and was fortunate enough to receive a signed photo from Jeremy Brett. I do not know what I wrote to him, but I am certain I did not sufficiently convey what the series and his exquisite performance meant to me even then, and it means all the more to me as the years pass. I am still so sad that we lost him all-too soon.

    I am very excited about this podcast and plan to re-view each episode along the way – it had been a few years since I saw any of them and many years since I saw all of them! I watched “The Solitary Cyclist” this evening and will backtrack to the first three before I venture onward. You keep referring to “Top 10” episodes – I don’t know if I can pin such a thing down, but am going to have a look and see what I come up with – a fun project!

    Did want to note one thing I only tonight noticed. I also thought the story’s title referred to Violet, but at least the Granada version is clear. Holmes himself uses the phrase to refer to the mysterious cyclist following her. When he critiques Watson for his choices while observing the goings-on on the country road, he says “Your hiding place was ill-chosen. You should have been in the bracken on the other side of the road. In that way, you would have had a close view of this fascinating solitary cyclist.” And he obviously is not referring to Violet here.

    I adore all of the background details you have been researching for us – it’s just amazing. I am so impressed with all of your work. I knew that Brett had a hand at the style and content of the series beyond his own performance, but did not realize how very in-depth he was with it. I am so grateful to him for all that he did. What a wonderful, beautiful, and ageless series it is. Top-notch!

  10. The answer is in the story. Watson writes “I will now lay before the reader the facts connected with Miss Violet Smith, the solitary cyclist of Charlington, and the curious sequel of our investigation…” The cyclist is somehow connected to Charlington Hall. Violet Smith has no connection to Charlington, Carruthers does.

  11. With the sound only, I just realized how much miss Violet sounds like Sarah Jane, from Doctor Who (Elisabeth Sladen). It’s something about how they pronounce their “s”.

  12. You’ve been hyping this up a bit in previous episodes, and I still can’t tell what’s so special about this episode. Maybe that the plot is fairly tight and concerning an actual danger, as opposed to those two past episodes just concerning stolen documents.

    Maybe I’m feeling the lack of a “looking for clues” scene, or the dullness of all that cycling over that boring stretch of road. But I had more fun in The Naval Treaty, where Holmes gets kicked out of his nest early and has to dress and go meet his client.

    Episode highlight, the whole “you did remarkably badly” thing. How dejected poor Watson is, the “now don’t do something rash just because you’re temporarily depressed”, the “did I really do so badly?” – “yes!”, the “visit the local pub” – “EXCELLENT IDEA” – *oh crap he heard me*, moments.

  13. I have just come across your wonderful podcasts and I am enjoying them immensely.

    In regards to the kind of clergy Mr. Williamson was, I would assume that he was more than likely Anglican (Church of England), or at least Protestant (Methodist, Quaker, Baptist, Presbyterian) all thanks to Henry VIII. There would have been fewer Catholics, and they would have been given the side-eye in much of English society since, until the 1870’s, there were many restrictions against them, including holding public office and attending University. That would make them more than suspect as far as your average bloke would be concerned. 🙂 Defrocking in most of those religions would suspend their performing of any functions of their respective church.

    I’m looking forward to making my way through the rest of your podcasts. Thanks for providing all that extra behind the scenes info, and the bios of guest actors. Lots of fun.

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