This is a huge subject to try to cover, and to start with I am going to be limiting myself to details of the British radio serials. This is going to be a broad overview until I have the time to research the series properly, and will be concentrating mainly, for the time being, on the most recent series with Clive Merrison and Holmes and Michael Williams as Watson. This was the first COMPLETE radio series, covering all of Sherlock Holmes stories of Conan Doyle to be recorded with the same cast throughout, and all have been released by the BBC Radio Collection (making the research a lot easier). This is by no means the only version that the BBC have made, or released on cassette, and as such the later part of the page will contain the Carlton Hobbs and Norman Shelley productions - deemed by some to be the definitve shows.
In the following lists, I have tried to keep the stories in their release order. This doesn't necessarily mean that the broadcast order is correct, but it will make it easier to find a particular story on the released cassettes. The original broadcast dates are included, and they do not deviate that much from the order of release.
ADVENTURES | MEMOIRS | RETURN | HIS LAST BOW
CASEBOOK | NOVELS | FURTHER ADVENTURES | HOBBS & SHELLEY
A Scandal in Bohemia. 7th November 1990, Radio 4
'To Sherlock Holmes, she is always the woman.' The King of Bohemia seeks the return of a compromising photograph but the woman who has it proves more than a match for Holmes.
The Read-Headed League. 14th November 1990, Radio 4
Holmes and Doyle move into top gear in one of the finest stories in the canon. Why should a pawnbroker have to copy out the Encyclopaedia Britannica and what bearing can the knees of a man's trousers have on the case?
A Case of Identity. 21st November 1990, Radio 4
A squalid little story of greed, and a solid piece of professional work on Holmes' part in finding out why a City cashier should ditch his love on their wedding day.
The Boscombe Valley Mystery. 28th november 1990, Radio 4
Another dazzler with Holmes needing all his powers to solve a splendid murder case with Australian connections.
The Five Orange Pips. 5th December 1990, Radio 4
Five orange pips herald the untimely death of two men, so when they come addressed to John Openshaw, he seeks help from Holmes. But could the detective be too late?
The Man with the Twisted Lip. 12th December 1990, Radio 4
Watson rescues a patient from a disreputable opium den in London. Whom should he meet there but Holmes in disguiese and on the trail of an unusually well-off begger.
The Blue Carbuncle. 2nd January 1991, Radio 4
When the Countess of Morcar's missing blue carbuncle is found in a Christmas Goose, Holmes must retrace the unfortunate goose's steps to find a thief.
The Speckled Band . 9th January 1991, Radio 4
A midnight vigil at a ruined ancestral estate presents Holmes and Watson with a case of atrocious villany in one of Conan Doyle's favourite stories.
The Engineers Thumb. 16th January 1991, Radio 4
No murder, but blood - dripping from an engineer's thumb. Watson's patient is involved in a bizarre incident that leaves even Holme's baffled.
The Noble Bachelor. 24th January 1991, Radio 4
Lord St. Simon's wedding day ends in disaster when his American bride disappears and her clothes are found ina lake. Holmes knows the apparent murder is nothing more than a cover for the truth.
The Beryl Coronet. 30th January 1991, Radio 4
'Holmes, here is a madman coming along'. But the terrified banker Watson sees isn't mad, but the victim in a tortuous affari involving a costly coronet, a lover, and a wronged son.
The Copper Beeches. 6th February 1991, Radio 4
A seemingly good-humoured employer offers Violet Hunter a well-paid governess position but she soon finds the house contains frightening secrets that only Holmes can uncover.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes represents the first three volumes in the set of eighteen double cassettes from the BBC Radio Collection. ISBNs 0563 409061, 0563 40907X, and 0563 409088.
Silver Blaze. 8th January 1992 , Radio 4
Silver Blaze, the favourite for the Wessex Cup, has disappeared. With only days to go before the race, Homes has his work cut out for him.
The Yellow Face. 15th January 1992, Radio 4
Whose is the face at the upstairs window, 'livid, deadly yellow, and with something set and rigid about it, which was shockingly unnatural?'
The Stockbroker's Clerk. 22nd January 1992, Radio 4
Young Hall Pycroft finds his suspicions are quickly aroused in his new job by a shoddy office and the odd behavious of his employer. Call for Holmes...
The 'Gloria Scott'. 29th January 1992, Radio 4
Tehe young Homes, just down from university, solves his very first case: the mystery of a Justice of the Peace and an old sailor, Hudson - seemingly the devil himself.
The Musgrave Ritual. 5th February 1992, Radio 4
A mysterious butler goes missing, a housemaid soon follows and a very young Sherlock Holmes must piece together a case whose origins took root two centuries before.
The Reigate Squires. 12th Febraury 1992, Radio 4
A quiet rest in the country proves just the thing to help Homes recuperate from nervous exhaustion, especially when two burglaries and a murder occur.
The Crooked Man. 7th October 1992, Radio 4
A dead Colonel, a small animal and a deformed old man involve Holmes in 'one of the strangest cases which ever perplexed a man's brain'
The Resident Patient. 14th October 1992, Radio 4
Who is the young Percy Trevelyn's resident patient and what role does a Russian nobleman suffering from cataleptic fits play in the mystery?
The Greek Interpreter. 21st October 1992, Radio 4
Holmes' reclusive brother Mycroft makes one of his few appearances, introducing the curious case of Mr Melas.
The Naval Treaty. 28th October 1992, Radio 4
'Tadpole' Phelps is in despair after a vital government document is stolen. He calls on his old schoolmate Watson who, together with Holes, uncovers a dark world of espionage and murderous intent.
The Final Problem. 4th November 1992, Radio 4
An epic intellectual struggle between Holmes and Moriarty ends high above the foaming chasm of the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland.
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes represents the second three volumes in the set of eighteen double cassettes from the BBC Radio Collection. ISBNs 0563 406356, 0563 365838, and 0563 365846.
The Empty House. 24th February 1993, Radio 4
Three years after Holmes, met his death at the Reichenbach Falls, Watson is doubly gref-stricken when his wife succumne to illness. Then a chance meeting with a bookseller suddenly leads him to familiar surroundings.
The Norwood Builder. 3rd March 1993 , Radio 4
An obvious motive and copious clues finger Holme's client as a murderer. Holmes himself has doubts but finds there are many places for a criminal to hide.
The Dancing Men. 10th March 1993 , Radio 4
An inspired pieces of code-breaking launches an investigation into what first appears to be childish scribblings and ends up bringing tragedy to a Norfolk family.
The Solitary Cyclist. 17th March 1993 , Radio 4
A music teacher is being follwed whever she leaves the house. A shy admirer or someone who wishes her ill? A hedgerow seems the best place for Holmes to find out.
The Priory School. 24th March 1993 , Radio 4
A young aristocrat disappears from his preparatory school in yorkshire and the panic-stricken headmaster asks Homes for help. The answer is closer than anyone thought.
Black Peter. 31st March 1993, Radio 4
A retired whaling skipper is pinned to the wall by his own harpoon and Holmes attempts to spear a pig's carcass in order to find the killer.
Charles Augustus Milverton. 7th April 1992 , Radio 4
Homes gets engaged and witnesses a murder as he follows the trail of Milverton, the king of all the blackmailers and one of the most insidious villains in London.
The Six Napoleons. 8th September 1993 , Radio 4
All over London, plaster busts of Napoleon are being smashed. Is it the work of a monomaniac or is there a method to the madness?
The Three Students. 15th Spetember 1993 , Radio 4
In this 'small but instructive affair' Homes must use some sharp detective work to uncover who cheated in Fortescue scholarship.
The Golden Pince-Nez. 22nd September 1993, Radio 4
Holmes is called in to find out who murdered the secretary of an invalid professor. His only clues are a pair of pince-nez and the dying man's last word: 'It was she'.
The Missing Three-Quarter. 29th September 1993, Radio 4
One the eve of the Oxford v. Cambridge rugby football match, star three-quarter Godfrey Staunton disappears and it's up to Holmes to find him. But will he be in time?
The Abbey Grange. 6th October 1993, Radio 4
Who killed Sir Eustace Brackenstall, one of the richest (and drubkest) men in Kent? Holmes finds the answer in the bottom of a bottle of wine.
The Second Stain. 13th October 1993, Radio 4
On Volume 3 of the Memoirs
Homes must find another missing documetn, but this time the theft might very easily lead to a political crisis affecting the whole of Europe.
The Return of Sherlock Holmes represents volumes 7, 8 and 9 in the set of eighteen double cassettes from the BBC Radio Collection. ISBNs 0563 40177X, 0563 401788, and 0563 40180X.
Wisteria Lodge. 5th January 1994, Radio 4
Mr John Scott Eccles wakes to find that his host and all the domestic staff have vanished and downstairs, the police find grim evidence of voodoo rites.
The Cardboard Box. 12th Januray 1994, Radio 4
The morning mail brings Miss Susan Cushing a gruesome surprise. Who would want to send a gentle spinster two severed human ears?
The Red Circle. 19th January 1994, Radio 4
A local landlady has an eccentric lodger who is causing her grave concern especially after her husband was abducted, obviously mistaken for someone else.
The Bruce Partington Plans. 26th Januray 1994, Radio 4
Holmes is asked by his brother, Mycroft, to uncover how top secret planes for the Bruce Partington submarine could have been stolen from the Woolwich Arsenal.
The Dying Detective. 2nd Febraury 1994, Radio 4
Homes is struck down by a rare tropical disease and death seems imminent. His only hope lies in a planter from Sumantra whose expert knowledge comes at a price.
The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax. 9th February 1994, Radio 4
Watson goes to Switzerland to find an aristocrat who has vanished, but the trail leads back to a funeral parlour in London.
The Devil's Foot. 16th February 1994, Radio 4
Watson enforces a relaxing holiday on Homes to cure his work-related exhaustion. The eerie Cornish Coast provides exactly the opposite when death and horror strike a local family and Holmes risks death to solve the case.
His Last Bow. 23rd February 1994, Radio 4
Holmes is lured away from retirement to help his country on the eve of World War I and employs one of his most successful disguises to penetrates a German spy ring.
Released as the tenth and eleventh double cassettes on the BBC Radio Collection label. The cassette has the ISBN 0563 39479X, and 0563 402962.
The Illustrious Client 21st September 1994, Radio 4
Throughout the chronicles of Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective, there are references to other cases, but Dr John Watson (or rather Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) never committed these to paper, and we were denied the pleasure of hearing them. However, Bert Coules, the main dramatist of the complete Radio 4 Sherlock Homes canon, has now performed the task and four brand new stories based on a few of these references are now available.
Clive Merrison returns as Holmes, but due to the sad death of Michael Williams, Dr Watson is now played by Andrew Sachs. With a superb support cast including tom Baker, Eleanor Bron, Jane Asher, Tim West, Toyah Wilcox, and Roy Hudd, the squalor, iniquity, and drama of Victorian London is brought to life.
The four new cases on tape are The Madness of Colonel Warburton, The Star of the Adelphi, The Saviour of Cripplegate Square and The Singular Inheritance of Miss Gloria Wilson. It is a shame that only four of the five stories broadcast between 20th January and 27th February have been released, but hopefully there will be more to follow at a later date.
Although it is a little unfair to compare Sachs' Watson to that of Williams, it is inevitable considering the length of the run of the original shows. Sachs puts in a brilliant performance and cannot be faulted for the portrayal, but radio, being a purely voice based, shows up the difference all too starkly and when you first begin to listen the change is a little jarring. This would have occurred whoever took over the mantel of Watson, however, after listening to one story, the transition appears almost seamless.
These stories not only capture the essence of Conan Doyle's originals but also provide a welcome extension to the complete set of recordings already available. Credit must go to Coules for his understanding Conan Doyle and his ability to write, and to Merrison and Sachs for their portrayals and Holmes and Watson.
Priced £9.99, this double cassette has ISBN 0563 552786.
An Austrian adventurer who corrupts young women proves one of Holmes' most evil adversaries in what Conan Doyle judged to be one of his best stories.
The Blanched Sailor 28th September 1994, Radio 4
Holmes works without Watson to help an ex-serviceman from the Boer War uncover a friend who has mysteriously disappeared.
The Mazarin Stone 5th October 1994, Radio 4
One of the world's largest diamonds is stolen. To recover it, Holmes sits in 221b Baker Street and waits to be murdered.
The Three Gables 12th October 1994, Radio 4
Holmes facces a formidable female criminal and a gang of intimidators when he agrees to help the widow of an old client who has received an unusual offer to sell her house...and all it's contents.
The Sussex Vampire 19th October 1994, Radio 4
A return to the supernatural for Holmes as he investigates the case of a baby with two small wounds on his neck and a woman with blood on her lips.
The Three Garidebs 26th October 1994, Radio 4
Only three men with the rare surname Garrideb are needed to claim an eccentric American's $15 million estated, but Holmes' suspicions are aroused when a reclusive old man is asked to leave his cluttered room for the day.
The Problem of Thor Bridge 22nd February 1995, Radio 4
A single, sensational deduction stands at the heart of this excelletn story of passion and unrequited love, and Holmes finds an interesting use for Watson's revolver.
The Creeping Man 1st March 1995, Radio 4
A noted professor suddenly begins to act very strangley, and when he starts scuttling about on all-fours, Holmes is asked to find an explanation.
The Lion's Mane 8th March 1995, Radio 4
Holmes has retired to the Sussex countryside to tend bees, but old habits linger, especially when there is a case of murder waiting to be solved.
The Veiled Lodger 14th March 1995, Radio 4
Mrs Merrilow has the perfect lodger - a gentle woman who keeps to herself and has paid the rent regularly for seven years. But why won't she show her face?
Shoscombe Old Place 22nd March 1995, Radio 4
The connection between a dog and its bone has never been more important than in this case which leads Homes and Watson to a gruesome discovery in an old crypt.
The Retired Colourman 29th March 1995, Radio 4
One of the last case recorded, the detective is in a ruminative mood as he tackles one of the most controversial cases in the canon.
A Study in Scarlet. Watson has been discahrge from military service after suffering severe wounds and is having no luck in finding accomodation until a chance encounter leads him to a remarkable young man and 221B Baker Street.
The arrogant, irascible Sherlock Holmes is a master chemist, a talented musician, and an expert on all aspects of crime, but despite his efforts, Watson is in the dark about his room-mate's profession. Finally, Holmes reveals that he is a consulting detective and soon Watson is drawn into the investigation of a bizarre murder in which Holmes is involved, unaware that it is the beginning of the most famous partnership in the history of criminal detection.
An unmarked corpse, a wedding ring and a mysterious message scrawled in blood are the intrepid pair's only clues as they follow the trail of a man drive to fulfil a terrible oath he swore more than twenty years before.
Originally broadcast on Radio 4 over two weeks, 3rd and 10th November 1989, this was released as the 15th double cassette in the series, and has the ISBN 0563 557656.
The Sign of Four. At the furthest reaches of the British Empire, four men swaer an oath to keep a terrible secret, a secret drenched in blood which is the key to immense wealth.
In London, Sherlock Holmes is suffering once more from the dreadful ennui which plagues him when a beautiful young woman comes to him with a mystery which is to stretch even his remarkable deductive skills.
Once a year, Mary Morstan receives an anonymous package containing a magnificent costly pearl. Aware that the gifts are somehow connected to the disappearance of her father ten years previously, she is both intrigued and frightened by the arrival of a letter summoning her for a meeting in the dead of night. Accompanied by Holmes and Watson, Mary embarks on a quest which is to lead them through the dark heart of the city, to a one-legged man and an incredible tale of greed and revenge.
This two part story was originally broadcast on Radio 4 on the 8th and 15th December 1989, and is the sixteenth in the the series of double cassettes from the BBC Radio Collection, ISBN 0563 557 389.
The Valley of Fear. A coded warning of imminent danger sends Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson to the fortress-like country house of the reclusive Jack Douglas. When they arrive too late to prevent a tragic death, the great detective and his chronicler must follow a series fo bewildering clues to find a murdered who had vanished into thin air. Only then will they solve the mystery of the dead man's desparate please 'Am I ever foing to get out the valley of fear?'
What is the connection between a corpse with a missing face and a ruthless secret society which once terrorised a desolate region of the United States? With the aid of a ocal guidebook, a missing dumb-bell and Dr Watson's umbrella, Holmes unravels a tangled web which stretches over fifteen years and two continents; and in the center of that web lurks the sinister presence of the most brilliant criminal mind in all England - Professor James Moriarty.
Released as the last in a series of 18 double cassettes on the BBC Radio Collection label, this was first broadcast on Radio 4 as a two part story on the 23rd and 30th March 1997. The cassette has the ISBN 0563 381590.
The Hound of the Baskervilles. For generations the legend has been passed down - a satanic tale of a gigantic hell-hound, a devil incarnate who stalks the wastes of Dartmoor wreaking a bloody and terrible vengeance on the Baskerville family.
What turns out to be one of the most interesting cases of the great detective's career begins when a country doctor visits Holmes and Watson in London. He brings with him the legend of the hound and news of the sudden death of Sir Charles Baskerville. Sir Charles' heir, Henry, is arriving from America and the doctor os afraid for the young man;s life. Holmes despatches Dr Watson to accompany them back to the dark and sombre estate int he Deven moor.
With peril at every turn and a murderous escaped convict at large, the mystery deepens. Is the ancient legend true, or is the hideous creature merely a part of a sinister conspiracy whose origins are all too diabolically human?
This was originally broadcast in two parts on the 28th June and 5th July 1998 on BBC Radio 4, and have been released on the 17th double cassettes for the BBC Radio Collection, ISBN 0563 557338.
For some this is THE Sherlock Holmes, and ran from 1953 through till 1969. Comprising of 58 shows, what follows is a basic episode guide. The storylines, to my knowledge, are true to the Conan Doyle stories, so are not repeated from those above.
Sherlock Holmes 3.1.53
The Hound of the Baskervilles 6.4.58-11.5.58
The Beryl Coronet 12.5.69
The Blanched Sailor
The Copper Beaches
The Man With the Twisted Lip
The Noble Bachelor
Shoscombe Old Place 25.8.59
The Cardboard Box 23.2.60
The Engineer;s Thumb
The Greek Interpreter
The Illustrious Client
Lady Frances Carfax
The Naval Treaty
The Stockbroker's Clerk 31.5.60
The Valley of Fear 31.12.60
Charles Augustus Milverton 27.11.61
The Empty House
The Priory School
The Reigate Squires
The Resident Patient 1.1.62
Thor Bridge 8.1.62
The Abbey Grange 17.7.62
The Devil's Foot
The Golden Pince-Nez
The Mazarin Stone
The Missing Three Quarter
The Musgrave Ritual
The Speckled Band 4.9.62
A Study in Scarlet 22.12.62
The Sign of Four 2.3.63
The Abbey Grange 7.8.64
The Bruce Partington Plans
The Mazarin Stone
The Norwood Builder
The Red Headed League
The Retired Colourman
The Solitary Cyclist
The Sussex Vampire
The Three Gables 2.10.64
The Three Garridebs 9.10.64
The Boscombe Valley Mystery 21.11.66
The Crooked Man 28.11.66
The Dying Detective
The Final Problem
The Five Orange Pips
A Scandal in Bohemia
The Second Stain 2.1.67
The Six Napoleons 9.1.67
Wisteria Lodge 16.1.67
Black Peter 24.6.69
A Case of Identity 1.7.69
The Dancing Men 8.7.69
His Last Bow 15.7.69
The Lion's Mane 22.7.69
The Red Circle 29.7.69
The Blue Carbuncle