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A View from A Hill

BBC Television Christmas highlights 2005


Arthur Conan Doyle For The Defence


As part of BBC FOUR's festive collection of programmes celebrating Sherlock Holmes' creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, a new documentary highlights the author's own prowess as an investigator.


Arthur Conan Doyle For The Defence features two of the most controversial and illuminating cases of injustice that the author-cum-detective handled.


The son of an Indian-born vicar in rural Staffordshire, George Edalji, was sentenced to seven years' hard labour for the horrific mutilation and killing of horses.


It is a tale of shoddy forensics, poison-pen letters and institutional racism, which intrigued Conan Doyle, especially as it touched on events earlier in his own life when he was a practising doctor: a young man died in his care and the circumstantial evidence pointed towards him.


The second case tells of Oscar Slater, a German Jew, sentenced to hang for the brutal murder of elderly Glasgow spinster Marion Gilchrist. Doyle fought his corner, revealing a high-level cover-up by the Scottish authorities to convict a man they knew to be innocent to protect a well-connected family.


These cases contributed to the passing of the Appeal Court Acts in England and Scotland.


Rare archive film of the author himself is included in the programme, alongside testimony from modern-day experts.




The Man Who Loved Sherlock Holmes


The Man Who Loved Sherlock Holmes, part of BBC FOUR's collection of programmes celebrating Arthur Conan Doyle, provides a unique insight into the world of Sherlock Holmes fans via the life and death of Richard Lancelyn Green.


The son of children's writer Roger Lancelyn Green, Richard's obsession with the great detective took hold at a very early age.


When only 14 years old, he made a faithful recreation of Sherlock Holmes's study in the attic of his family home, complete with a recording of horse-drawn carriages which he played as people approached the room.


His fascination led to an ongoing friendship with actor Douglas Willmer - the Sherlock Holmes fans' Sherlock Holmes.


However, his biggest ambition was to write the definitive biography of Holmes's creator, Arthur Conan Doyle. It led to close links with the Doyle family and their secrets, a global search for original manuscripts and letters and a desperate bid to save such treasures for the nation.


But it also cast a pall over his last days and he was found dead in mysterious circumstances in his flat in March 2004.




A View from A Hill


BBC FOUR presents the television première of M R James' classic ghost story and invites viewers to settle down for a spine-chilling evening with the ghosts of Christmas past.


Who dares to whisper the spooky secrets of Edwardian England, where the living and the dead were known to be strange bedfellows?


How different Fanshawe's holiday might have been had his trusty binoculars not broken. The Squire's archaic pair prove strangely bewitching, but is everything they see to be believed? And why does their very mention fill the elderly butler with dread? He looks like he's seen a ghost, or worse. Perhaps Fanshawe should have consulted the old man before venturing up Gallows Hill.


Some stones are better left unturned, and questions of the dead should remain the secrets of the past, because sometimes the dead answer back.


The ghost stories of Montague Rhodes James are widely regarded as the greatest and most influential of the English language.


They provoke a fascination and terror as potent today as when James first narrated them over 100 years ago.


Every Christmas Eve, his Cambridge fellows would gather round the fire for a much-loved evening of frightful horrors and unearthly delights.


Many stories famously brought to the screen include Casting The Runes, A Warning To The Curious and Jonathan Miller's 1968 classic, Oh, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad.


This Christmas, the BBC revives a seasonal tradition by premièring the first screen adaptation of M R James's 1925 A View From The Hill, from Dennis Potter Award-winning writer, Peter Harness.


Mark Letheren plays Fanshawe, Pip Torrens plays Richards and David Burke plays Patten.








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Date: 22.11.2005
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