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The Illustrious Client 

Violet Merville is determined to marry the man she loves, who Holmes knows has already murdered one wife.


Tim Sullivan


Arthur Conan Doyle (by) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), Robin Chapman (dramatised by)




Episode complete credited cast:
Jeremy Brett ... Sherlock Holmes
Edward Hardwicke ... Dr. Watson
Anthony Valentine ... Baron Gruner
Carol Noakes Carol Noakes ... Baroness Gruner
David Langton ... Sir James Damery
Abigail Cruttenden Abigail Cruttenden ... Miss Violet Merville
Rosalie Williams ... Mrs. Hudson
John Pickles John Pickles ... Jarvis
Kim Thomson ... Kitty Winter
Roy Holder ... Shinwell Johnson
Andy Bradford ... First Thug


Holmes is hired by Sir James Damery to do anything he can to stop the forthcoming marriage of Violet Merville, daughter of a famed General, to Baron Gruner, a known philanderer and womanizer who has been known to seduce - and perhaps even dispose of - well-to-do women on the Continent. The young woman is madly in love with him and will hear nothing against him. It's also apparent that Sir James is acting as an intermediary for someone else, whom he refuses to reveal. The Baron is soon onto Holmes' attempt to discredit him and he is not above hiring ruffians to get rid of troublemakers. Homes recruits one of the Baron's discarded women to try and convince Miss Merville of her ill-advised romance but it is only when he learns that Gruner has a diary does he find the weapon he needs. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

21 March 1991 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Granada Television See more »
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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Repeated references are made to "oil of vitriol." This is the old name for sulfuric acid, in this case thrown in the faces of women to disfigure them. See more »


In one scene, Baron Gruner is listening to a recording of a baritone singing the "Madamina" aria from Mozart's "Don Giovanni", and the singer is backed by a full orchestra. Such recordings were impossible to make in the nineteenth century, when the story takes place. Until the advent of electrical recording (i.e., using microphones) in 1925, singers and instrumentalists had to stand around a large horn to make recordings, and the use of a large orchestra would have distorted the sound. Special "chamber music" arrangements had to be made of orchestral pieces to prevent distortion and overload. Recordings were made on wax cylinders then, not discs, and the quality of sound was far worse than demonstrated in this episode. See more »


[first lines]
Baron Gruner: Oh. Oh, my dear. My dearest. I warned you; I said, "Do not go too near the edge."
Baroness Gruner: Why did you push me, Baron?
Baron Gruner: My dear wife... you, you're dreaming.
Baroness Gruner: No. Dying. Dying.
Baron Gruner: Oh, my darling.
See more »


Version of Sherlock Holmes: The Illustrious Client (1965) See more »

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User Reviews

A personal favorite
2 April 2012 | by ericksonsam60See all my reviews

Baron Grunner (Anthony Valentine), an Austrian Nobleman who had murdered his first wife and plans on doing the same to his soon to be new wife and Holmes is called on by special request of "an illustrious client" to intercede on it. This episode is one of my personal favorites from the long-running Granada Television series. While there is no mystery or much deduction, it has rather intense drama to it. Baron Grunner makes for a Holmes villain equal to that of Professor Moriarty or Charles Augustus Milverton. One of the most dramatic scenes is when Holmes gets beaten up by his goons. The ending is shocking yet satisfying and Jeremy Brett's performance in particular is excellent. Highly Recommended.

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