Loren D. Estleman - Sherlock Holmes vs Dracula
BBC Radio 4: Saturday Night Theatre
Broadcast: Saturday 19th December 1981 @ 8:30 p.m.
The year is 1890. In August, the Demeter, a schooner, is discovered adrift off the English coast near Whitby Harbour, its crew missing, its murdered captain lashed to the wheel, and its only passenger is a sinister black dog. This impenetrable mystery is clearly a case for the inimitable Sherlock Holmes who is approached by Thomas Parker, on behalf of his Whitby Editor, to take up the case, which he does. But for the first time in his illustrious career, the great detective is baffled. Clearly the crew have been murdered and dumped overboard, but what can account for the captain's expression of imponderable terror and his acute loss of blood, or the ship's strange cargo -- fifty boxes of earth?
The game is afoot, and Sherlock Holmes, aided as ever by the faithful Dr. Watson, finds himself on the trail of no mortal enemy, but the arch-vampire himself -- Count Dracula...
From the impalement of the "Bloofer Lady" to the abduction of Watson's belowed wife, Mary, from the death of Rachel North, a harmless prostitute, to a terrifying conclusion on a lonely beach, this unique case is at once a glorious celebration of two of the most famous literary genres, a riveting thriller with sensational climaxes, and a tale guaranteed to delight all Holmes and Dracula lovers everywhere.
Adapted for radio by Glyn Dearman from Loren D. Estleman's 1978 novel, "Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula".
With John Moffatt [Sherlock Holmes], Timothy West [Dr. John H. Watson], David March [Count Dracula], Aubrey Woods [Professor Van Helsing], Michael Maloney [Thomas Parker, a Journalist from Whitby], John Hollis [Ned Bridger, a Whitby Dock Worker], Katherine Parr [Mrs. Barton, the Watson's Next Door Neighbour], Noel Howlett [Mr. Caffyn, a Surgeon], Nicholas Courtney [Inspector Lestrade], Theresa Streatfield [Mary, Dr. Watson's Wife], and Frances Jeater [The Vampire].
Other parts played by members of the cast.
Directed by Glyn Dearman
Re-broadcast on Monday 21st December 1981 @ 3:02 p.m.
Bert Coules comments on the radio play:
"It's great fun; and though the production is deliberately pitched just slightly over-the-top, there are moments of very effective emotional reality. "John Moffatt is a sombre and sonorous Holmes, Timothy West is nicely (if sometimes only just) the right side of the Nigel Bruce border, and David March has a whale of a time with the Count. Aubrey Woods isn't really given much to do as van Helsing, but he does it very effectively.
Similarly, Nick (Bridger) Courtney only has one scene as Lestrade, but at least manages to present a real person and not a bumbling Scotland Yard stereotype. "My only moan might be that there's a touch too much of what radio people call the "This gun in my right hand is loaded!" syndrome - clunky dialogue-description to put across visual information: "Holmes, why are all those men gathered around that coffin? Good Lord, one of them has a wooden stake! He's going to stab her with it!"
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