I first read the Sherlock Holmes stories over 40 years ago when I was a student, and since then have always enjoyed revisiting them. I was also a fan of the television and radio series and the films in their various incarnations, and it struck me quite recently that following White Cobra venturing into the world of audio, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to adapt and produce one ourselves as a radio play.
There was if I’m honest, another (and frankly selfish if not self-serving) aspect to this: I’d always wanted to play Dr Watson again (I’d played him in a children’s adaptation of “The Sign of Four” years ago and absolutely loved it). There were no readily available (or to be more precise, free) adaptations, so I decided to go ahead and try to adapt one of the short stories myself. The question was: which one? For me, they all have something individual, but after some consideration, I decided on The Resident Patient – it had all the classic Holmes elements, was an intriguing story, had a good pace and was about the right length. I put the idea to Kate & Richard, who were happy for me to proceed and so I immediately got to work.
I’d never adapted a story before, and initially found it a bit of a daunting task. However, I had a master storyteller to help me who also wrote great descriptive dialogue, and once I got into it, I found that I actually really enjoyed the challenge of turning the story into a workable script. The tricky part was dealing with the sometimes lengthy pieces of exposition, but I found that concocting some invented Conan Doyle dialogue helped to break up the narrative and move the story along.
I had pitched the idea to Ian Spiby before I started on the project and on sending him the script he made some valuable suggestions which I incorporated immediately. I’d already asked Ian to play Holmes - it took him a while to think it over it over (about 2 seconds) and I was fortunate that in addition to Ian, John Myhill, Ben Stanton and Phil Purkis also agreed to join the project.
We’ve been rehearsing it for a few weeks, and soon we’ll be ready to record, and this will be something of a first for White Cobra, as it will be recorded with all the cast members together. The pandemic has meant that earlier audio projects had to be recorded separately and then edited together by our technical wizard Martin Borley-Cox (who I am VERY glad to say is also Technical Director on The Resident Patient), but with restrictions lifting, we’ll be in the same room at the same time.
We hope you enjoy it – if you do, who knows, there may be scope for Holmes and Watson to return. Is that a Hound I hear barking…….?