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16 Alternative Takes on Sherlock Holmes

Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional sleuth Sherlock Holmes was first introduced to readers in 1887 in The Strand magazine's serialisation of   his first adventure A Study in Scarlet . Well over a hundred years later and Holmes is still going strong, having become comfortably the most famous fictional detective of all time. Even his death, in  The Final Problem in 1893, proved to be only a minor interruption to his career.  Martin Freeman as Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes in the BBC's "Sherlock"
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The Pure Hell of St. Trinian's (1960)

This second sequel to   The Belles of St. Trinian's  begins with the inevitable finally happening. The young tearaways of St. Trinian's School have managed to burn the whole building to the ground. The entire school of 200 pupils is then put on trial for arson at the Old Bailey. It seems that nothing can save them, until glamorous blonde sixth former Rosalie (Julie Alexander) catches the eye of the Judge (Raymond Huntley), hoping to get the school more lenient treatment. Thanks to Rosalie, the Judge is better disposed towards St. Trinian's by the time a child psychologist and doctor of philosophy, Professor Canford (Cecil Parker), formerly of the University of Baghdad, steps forward with a proposal to build a new school. These girls aren't bad, he argues, they are simply the inevitable product of today's troubled society. All they need is some love.  At that point the Judge seems to be lost in reverie thinking about Rosalie again. But Professor Canford regains hi

Miss Grant Goes to the Door (1940)

Britain's Ministry of Information produced or sponsored a range of short films during World War II. Some were stirring and inspiring, like Words for Battle , narrated by Laurence Olivier, or Britain at Bay , written and narrated by J. B. Priestley.  Others were informative, passing on important messages. These included a series on the dangers of "careless talk" , as well as individual films about the importance of observing the blackout ( Mr. Proudfoot Shows a Light ), how to deal with incendiary bombs ( Go to Blazes , with the comedian Will Hay), what to put out for salvage ( Salvage with a Smile ) and how to grow your own veg (Dig for Victory ). But 1940's  Miss Grant Goes to the Door offers a more sobering lesson - how to act during a German invasion.

Left, Right and Centre (1959)

This comedy stars Ian Carmichael as Robert Wilcot, a zoologist and explorer turned TV personality, who has decided to run for Parliament. Wilcot will stand as the Conservative Party candidate for the Parliamentary constituency of Earndale. The area was his childhood home and the location of Wilcot Priory, the family seat and current residence of his uncle, Lord Wilcot (Alastair Sim). Robert Wilcot is confident of his prospects in the election, and doesn't think he will have too much trouble against the Labour Party candidate, a "bluestocking battleaxe" from the London School of Economics. Especially as he can deploy the most potent new political weapon of the age - his television fame. Wilcot swapped zoology and exploration for the life of a celebrity and TV personality on a popular panel game show called  What on Earth Was That? On the train up to Earnley, the biggest town in the area, Wilcot meets an attractive young woman, Stella (Patricia Bredin). They get along fam

Blue Murder at St. Trinian's (1957)

The Belles of St. Trinian's had been a big box office success on its release in 1954, so the producers Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat decided to follow up with a sequel, Blue Murder at St. Trinian's ,   something that turned St. Trinian's from a popular comedy film into a long-running series. The plot of  Blue Murder at St. Trinian's is even more convoluted than that of the original film. St. Trinian's has now become such a haven of mischief and mayhem that the army have been called in to take charge and cordon off the school. In command is Thorley Walters as a Major who has been given the task of overseeing "Operation St. Trinians". The Ministry of Education has also found a tough new headmistress to take over, the no-nonsense Dame Maud Hackshaw (Judith Furse), previously the governor of a borstal. The pupils, though, have other ideas. In the film's most dubious development, the spiv "Flash" Harry (George Cole) is now running the St

The Belles of St. Trinian's (1954)

The anarchic schoolgirls and disreputable teachers of Ronald Searle's St. Trinian's cartoons were first brought to the screen in a series of comedies in the 1950s and 1960s. The first film, The Belles of St. Trinian's , was released in 1954 and starred Alastair Sim in a dual role as the school's headmistress, Miss Fritton, and her shady bookmaker brother Clarence. St. Trinian's School for Young Ladies is an English boarding school in a traditional country house setting, with uniforms, a motto, hockey matches and a semblance of lessons. But the teachers are a mixture of criminals and seedy low lives with barely a qualification between them. The pupils have an alarming tendency for violence and are allowed to run amuck, creating chaos wherever they go and involving themselves in assorted mischief and illicit activities. The school's official motto is In Flagrante Delicto , meaning "caught in the act". As the headmistress Miss Fritton explains to the

Two Cheers for St. Trinian's!

The St. Trinian's films were an unexpectedly long-running British comedy series, instigated by Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat in the 1950s. They took as their inspiration the cartoons of Ronald Searle, showing schoolgirls behaving badly at an English boarding school. In the films that meant beating up their rivals on the sports field, brewing illicit booze and causing a crimewave wherever they went. Between them, Launder and Gilliat managed to make five St. Trinian's films from 1954 to 1980. Yes, there really were five. Not four or three, as some might claim. Or like to think. As a result, St. Trinian's became one of British cinema's big three comedy series, together with the Doctor films (running from 1954 to 1970) and the Carry On films (from 1958 to 1992). The St. Trinian's brand was even strong enough to see it revived for another two films in the 2000s.