Murder Rooms - The White Knight Stratagem (DVD)

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Murder Rooms - The White Knight Stratagem (DVD)

MURDER ROOMS is based on the relationship between Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle (Charles Edwards) and the real-life inspiration behind th...

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Review of "Murder Rooms - The White Knight Stratagem (DVD)"

published 18/03/2017 | sellerleygirl
Member since : 15/02/2015
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Pro A film that cannot be recommended too highly!
Cons NoneA film that
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"A golden oldie that really shines"

The DVD cover - no extras I'm afraid

The DVD cover - no extras I'm afraid

:-•- Murder Rooms - The White Knight Stratagem-•-:

:-• DVD Review -•-:

:-• Introduction -•-:

After looking through the list of recent offerings on Sky Cinema, and seeing nothing to grab my attention, I decided to pick an old film from our DVD collection. This film wasn’t as old as some that I watch, in fact it was virtually brand new – it was 16 years old!!
I have no idea where the DVD came from. Whether it was one I had picked up at a school/church fair or charity shop or had been given by a friend; but I knew that I had never watched it – and the sub title – “The mysteries of the real Sherlock Holmes” grabbed my attention. So, I sat down for an hour and a half watch – and the following are the details of the film and my observations of it.

:-• Genre -•-:

• Crime
• Drama
• Mystery
• Thriller
:-• Film-•-:

'Murder Rooms – The White Knight Stratagem' was actually the last of a series of made for TV films from the BBC TV series first aired in 2000 - Murder Rooms: The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes. This episode – first aired on the 2nd October 2001, was written by Danny Boyle, not to be confused with the film director of the same name, but writer of several episodes of some much acclaimed TV crime dramas - including the first episode of "Lewis", some “Prime Suspect”, “Inspector Morse” and most of “Hamish Macbeth".

Film Details

Director: Paul Marcus
Producers: Alison Jackson and Ian Madden
Written by: Danny Boyle
Music: John Lunn
Cinematography: Peter Sinclair
Running time 90 minutes
Production company WGBH Boston
Original network BBC1
Original release 2 October 2001
:-• The Series •-:

The series, called on TV "The dark beginnings of Sherlock Holmes"; was based on the premise that during Conan Doyle's time as a GP in Southsea, he solved mysteries with one of his tutor’s, Dr Joseph Bell, who travels from Edinburgh for each case. These fictional cases involve a young Doyle and Bell working together to solve baffling cases.
This idea was inspired by the fact that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle based the character of Sherlock Holmes on his tutor at the University of Edinburgh, Dr. Joseph Bell, and that Bell did occasionally do forensic work for the Edinburgh police.

The first episode in 2000 starred Ian Richardson as Dr. Bell and Robin Laing as Arthur Doyle; this original episode was followed by a series of four, stand -alone feature-length stories. In these programmes, while Richardson once again took on the role of Dr Bell, Doyle was played by Charles Edwards.

Murder Rooms – The Patient's Eyes
Murder Rooms – The Photographer's Chair
Murder Rooms – The Kingdom of Bones
Murder Rooms – The White Knight Stratagem

:-• The Story •-:

The plot of this film centres on an unsolved murder in Edinburgh; when grieving father Sir John Starr (played by Ronald Pickup) complains that the police are dragging their feet in finding the murderer of his son, the Chief Constable calls upon Bell and Doyle to help.
It is soon revealed that the case was preceded by another unsolved murder in which Bell had clashed with Lt. Daniel Blaney (played by Rik Mayall), a once prodigious police detective who has now hit rock bottom. Blaney, still works on the force and greatly resents Bell’s involvement in the case.
For once Bell and Doyle do not agree on this case and at the same time Doyle must try to negotiate the enmity between Bell and Blaney while at the same time solving an increasingly more multifaceted case.
:-• The Main Cast •-:

Ian Richardson ... Dr. Joseph Bell
Charles Edwards Arthur Conan Doyle
Rik Mayall ... Lt. Daniel Blaney
Annette Crosbie Margaret Booth
Beatie Edney ... Lyla Milburn
Ron Donachie ... Fergusson
Anton Lesser ... Milburn
Ronald Pickup ... Sir John Starr

:-• My Opinion •-:

I must have been otherwise engaged in the first two years of the new millennium, as I have no recollection at all of this BBC TV series, despite it being the ‘type of thing’ that I tend to enjoy!
Of course, the BBC have always succeeded with such productions and this film for me, is another example of high quality television and can be watched by both Holmes and non-Holmes fans – it can, in fact, be watched and enjoyed by anyone who is fond of a good well written, well-acted and brilliantly produced crime drama. What I found very enjoyable was the fact that there is plenty of humour threaded in-between drama and it is as sharp as in any of that in “Sherlock” – one especially funny part is when when Bell wants to buy a deer stalker hat!
The film has a really clever, well-crafted script that keeps guessing until the very end; it also contains moments of emotional power and some superb dialogue.

Ian Richardson just sparkles in this film as the essential kindly Professor Joseph Bell of Edinburgh University, who inspired a young medical student named Arthur Conan Doyle to create a great fictional detective and who worries that Doyle will be remembered more as a writer than a doctor. His interpretation of Bell is deeply based on the character of Holmes
Doyle is well played by Charles Edwards, as an intelligent and vulnerable, (particularly due to a damaging relationship with his father that plays a central part of The White Knight Stratagem). Edwards plays the lovelorn Doyle with assurance, the perfect partner for Richardson to work his spells on. The core strength of the film for me is the decisive central relationship that exists between the impetuous, often frustrated, younger man (Doyle) and the deductively brilliant older doctor (Bell).
However, for me, the actor who really steals the show is the normally uninhibited, wacky comedian Rik Mayall (who gives an unforgettable performance as Lt. Daniel Blaney. He is just brilliant in his portrayal of the boozy, emotionally traumatized, intense and enigmatic Scottish detective. In a rare straight, dramatic role Mayall gives a fantastic and chilling performance.
The smaller rolls in the film are all played well by the skilled cast, especially by Ronald Pickup as the grieving Sir John Starr, father of the victim whose murder opens the story.

The ending is thought provoking and emotional and certainly comes across in an ‘end of a series’ type of way that suggest the possibility of more to come, sadly they never came!

I THOROUGHLY enjoyed this film, it is no ordinary or predictable detective drama and I cannot recommend it too highly.

:-• Ratings •-:

• IMDb:8.3/10 from 287 votes
:-• DVD •-:

The single disc came in a plastic side-snapped keep case
The DVD does not have any extras, but the picture and sound are both sharp


As of 18/03/17 ‘Murder Rooms - The White Knight Stratagem ‘can be purchased from Amazon from £7.31 new and from £3.49 used. Some DVDs on Amazon are available for free delivery within the UK and are if you have a Prime account, if neither of these apply add £1.26 for postage
Amazon are currently offering £1.00 credit to spend on movies or TV on Amazon Video when you purchase a DVD or Blu-ray offered by A maximum of 1 credit per customer applies.
Offer ends at 23:59 GMT on Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The film is also available on Netflix.


Format: PAL
Language: English
Region: Region 2
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
Number of discs: 1
Classification: 12
Studio: Imc Vision
DVD Release Date: 11 Mar. 2002
Run Time: 90 minutes
ASIN: B00005Y41C
:-• In Conclusion •-:

If you have never caught this series I really recommend that you do. I thoroughly enjoyed this extremely polished, professional and engrossing film. With two superbly cast central performers, a great performance from straight-acting Rik Mayall as guest star, and the flamboyance and vitality of BBC drama at its best, "Murder Rooms: The White Knight Stratagem" is a quintessential detective story which adds a genuine new slant on a much-loved idea.
I am going to look out for the rest of this series, as I thoroughly enjoyed this one with its great direction, authentic costumes and fine camerawork all at the high level that gives BBC films its prodigious reputation. and I give it 5/5!!

Thanks for reading, I hope that you have found this review useful
•:¦:-•© Sellerleygirl March 2017 -•-:¦:•

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Comments on this review

  • euphie published 09/04/2017
    e :o)
  • catsholiday published 23/03/2017
    Like the sound of this one
  • mikemelmak published 21/03/2017
    Love the sound of this and Rik Mayall in a straight role too!
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Product Information : Murder Rooms - The White Knight Stratagem (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

MURDER ROOMS is based on the relationship between Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle (Charles Edwards) and the real-life inspiration behind the famous fictional detective--forensic pathologist Dr. Joseph Bell (Ian Richardson). Set in the late 1800s, this BBC1 series follows Bell and Doyle as they attempt to solve various mysteries. This episode depicts Bell on a mission to connect the murder of two men with a young woman's suicide.


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