DATELINE: Teenage Jude Law
When picking a random episode to view (and rev-view many years after first seeing it), we settled on Jeremy Brett’s definitive performance in Case Book of Sherlock Holmes. The episode is titled Shoshcombe Old Place.
Back then there was an attempt to film every short story faithfully. It was something they fell short of accomplishing when Brett died with about six stories left to produce.
The 1991 episode is about a stable of racehorses on an estate. Almost immediately in the opening, we were struck by a young actor, likely about 18, very pretty indeed. He wanted to be a jockey and approached the crusty middle-aged bachelor whose sister owned the estate. The horse master was cool to the young man who looked at him with more than yearning for a job.
Later, one of the caretakers went to Holmes and Watson with a distressing story of something not quite right at Shoshcombe. The sister was very ill, and strange events troubled the caretaker. Holmes chose to dig into it.
With a staccato delivery of lines that is nothing short of breathtaking and hambone, Brett manages to steal every scene he is in as he figures out the mystery.
Jude Law sealed his fame 20 years later as Dr. Watson in a series of bad movies, but here he is most amusingly in drag most of the show—and even shows some homoerotic interest in his boss. Interesting to say the least.
Our ends never know our beginnings. How fortuitous to have picked this marvelous episode for a peek.