Clive Merrison (born 15 September 1945, Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales) is a Welsh actor of film, television, stage and radio. He trained at Rose Bruford College. He is best known for his long running BBC Radio portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, having played the part over 75 times (from 1989-1998 and again from 2002, 2004, 2008-10).

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Clive Merrison
Born15 September 1945 (age 73)

Clive Merrison plays Sherlock Holmes. The intended approach of the series called for an actor who could make the iconic central figure a believably real person, not the infallible and all-knowing supersleuth of some presentations.


He has made numerous television appearances. He appeared as Boris Savinkov the White Russian commander in the series Reilly: Ace of Spies (1983) starring Sam Neill as Reilly. He has twice appeared in supporting roles in Doctor Who, in The Tomb of the Cybermen (1967) and Paradise Towers (1987). He has also appeared in Yes, Prime Minister, Kit Curran, The Labours of Erica, Bergerac, Drop the Dead Donkey, Time Riders, Pie in the Sky, The Tomorrow People, Mortimer's Law, The Bill, Believe Nothing, Midsomer Murders, Foyle's War, Lewis and The Brief. He played Mark's father in the 2010 Peep Show Christmas special, and also played Clement Attlee in the 2012 TV movie Bert and Dickie. He has also done voice work as a guest appearance in the children's animated series Testament: The Bible in Animation and Shakespeare: The Animated Tales.


He portrayed Antonin Artaud in the Rome and London premieres of Charles Marowitz's play, Artaud at Rodez.[1]He also portrayed the headmaster in the original National Theatre and Broadway productions of Alan Bennett's hit play, The History Boys which went on to win 6 Tony Awards and an Oliver for Best New Play.Merrison was a member of Laurence Olivier's National Theatre Company in the 1970s and the Royal Shakespeare Company, at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-on-Avon.


Merrison played the onscreen father of Kate Winslet in the 1994 film Heavenly Creatures, directed by Peter Jackson, and the traditionalist headmaster in Alan Bennett's The History Boys, filmed in 2006. He was the forger in the 1981 film Escape to Victory and also played Thaddeus Sholto in The Sign of Four (1983), Desmond Fairchild in An Awfully Big Adventure (1995) and the lawyer in Saving Grace (2000). His other film credits included roles in Henry VIII and His Six Wives (1972), Riddles of the Sphinx (1977), Coming Out of the Ice (1982), the Clint Eastwood film Firefox (1982), The English Patient (1996), True Blue (1996), Photographing Fairies (1997), Janice Beard (1999) and Pandaemonium (2000).

Sherlock Holmes on radio

From 5 November 1989 to 5 July 1998 he played the lead role of Sherlock Holmes on radio in a series of BBC 4 dramatisations, with Michael Williams as Dr. Watson. Later, with Andrew Sachs as Watson, Merrison continued to play Holmes in the Bert Coules-scripted pastiche series The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the first series of which was broadcast in 2002, the second in 2004, the third in 2008-9 and the fourth in 2010. He is the only actor to have played Holmes in adaptations of every single Conan Doyle short story and novel about the character.[2]

Sherlock Holmes Radio Shows Download

Other radio appearances

Merrison has also appeared in other BBC radio series and plays, including Groosham Grange; Burn the Aeneid! by Martyn Wade; One Winter's Afternoon; Sunday at Sant' Agata (in which he played Giuseppe Verdi); the 2003 adaptation of John Wyndham's The Midwich Cuckoos, in which he played Prof. Gordon Zellaby; Mr. Standfast; the 2011 adaptation of A Tale of Two Cities (in which he played the Marquis St. Evremonde); the 2006 radio adaptation of The History Boys (in which he played 'The Headmaster',[3] a role he repeated on film); and Strangers and Brothers.

Selected filmography

  • Henry VIII and His Six Wives (1972) - Weston
  • Riddles of the Sphinx (1977) - Chris
  • Escape to Victory (1981) - The Forger - The English
  • Mark Gertler: Fragments of a Biography (1981) - Futurist
  • Coming Out of the Ice (1982) - Bikov
  • Firefox (1982) - Major Lanyev
  • The Sign of Four (1983) - Bartholomew Sholto
  • Rebecca's Daughters (1992) - Sir Henry
  • Heavenly Creatures (1994) - Dr. Henry Hulme
  • An Awfully Big Adventure (1995) - Desmond Fairchild
  • The English Patient (1996) - Fenelon-Barnes
  • True Blue (1996) - Jack Garnet
  • Photographing Fairies (1997) - Gardner
  • Janice Beard (1999) - Tobo
  • Saving Grace (2000) - Quentin
  • Up at the Villa (2000) - Archibald Grey
  • Pandaemonium (2000) - Dr. Gillman
  • The Discovery of Heaven (2001) - Theo Kern
  • The History Boys (2006) - The Headmaster
  • Bert and Dickie (2012) - Clement Attlee
  • The Lady in the Van (2015) - Man in Confessional

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  1. ^Playbill for the 9–15 March 1978 performances at the Spingold Theater, Brandeis University, Massachusetts.
  2. ^'The Complete sherlock Holmes Radio Collection'. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  3. ^'Drama on 3; The History Boys'. BBC Online. December 2006. Retrieved 7 February 2015.

External links

  • Clive Merrison on IMDb
Arkangel Shakespeare

The Complete Arkangel Shakespeare is a notable series of audio drama presentations of all 38 plays of William Shakespeare, released from 1998 onwards on cassette and then on CD. The plays are unabridged and based on The Complete Pelican Shakespeare, published by Penguin Classics. The production features nearly 400 actors, almost all past or present members of the Royal Shakespeare Company. The cast members of each play are listed below.

The Complete Arkangel Shakespeare won the 2004 Audie Award for 'Best Audio Drama'.The logo on the box cover features a figure of Shakespeare composed entirely from books, reminiscent of the Renaissance Italian painting The Librarian by Giuseppe Arcimboldo.

Bert Coules

Bert Coules is an English writer, mainly for the BBC, who has produced a number of adaptations and original works. He works mainly in radio drama but also writes for TV and the stage.

Care (film)

Care is a single British television crime drama film, written by former Tomorrow's World presenter Kieran Prendiville, that first broadcast on BBC1 on 8 October 2000. Directed by Antonia Bird, Care follows Davey Younger (Steven Mackintosh), a former childhood resident of Glenavon care home, who is forced to dig up his past when a local councillor, Tony Collins (Richard Harrington), orders an investigation into reported historical sex abuse, which took place at the home during Davey's years as a resident, following evidence unearthed by journalist Elaine Hughes (Jaye Griffiths).

Gillian Barge

Gillian Barge, born Gillian Betty Bargh, (27 May 1940 – 19 November 2003) was an English stage, television and film actress.

She was born in Hastings, Sussex. She started acting at the age of 17, training at the Birmingham Theatre School.

Barge performed on the stage internationally, as well as in Britain, where she has played all the major London theatres. Her stage roles included The Cherry Orchard (as Varya), Measure For Measure (Isabella) and The Winter's Tale (Paulina). In 2001 she was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award as Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Passion Play at the Donmar Warehouse.

In addition to her theatre work, Gillian Barge has numerous television appearances to her credit. These include guest appearances on episodes of Pie in the Sky (1996), Lovejoy (1994), Midsomer Murders (2002), One Foot in the Grave(1990), All Creatures Great and Small (1980), Van der Valk (1977) and Softly, Softly (1972).

Her film credits include The National Health (1973). She portrayed Gertrude Bell in the TV movie, A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia (1990).

Her second husband was the actor Clive Merrison. She died in 2003 of cancer, aged 63.

Heavenly Creatures

Heavenly Creatures is a 1994 New Zealand psychological drama directed by Peter Jackson, from a screenplay he co-wrote with his partner, Fran Walsh, about the notorious 1954 Parker–Hulme murder case in Christchurch, New Zealand. The film features Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet in their screen debuts with supporting roles by Sarah Peirse, Diana Kent, Clive Merrison, and Simon O'Connor. The main premise deals with the relationship between two teenage girls, Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme, who murder Parker's mother. The events of the film cover the period from their meeting in 1952 to the murder in 1954.

The film opened in 1994 at the 51st Venice International Film Festival, where it won the Silver Lion, and became one of the best-received films of the year. Reviewers praised most aspects of the production, with particular attention given to the performances by the previously unknown Winslet and Lynskey, as well as for Jackson's directing. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

Clive Merrison Sherlock Holmes DownloadIn at the Death

In At The Death was a sketch revue performed at The Bush Theatre, London in 1978, most notable for being the first time that future colleagues Victoria Wood and Julie Walters would work together.The show is described in Neil Brandwood's biography of Wood as an 'alternative theatre company's sketch show about mortality.'

After being impressed by Wood's songwriting skills, director Dusty Hughes invited her to be part of a six strong writing team. The topicality of the review was also deemed suitable for her, as she'd just finished writing weekly topical songs on the BBC1 consumer show That's Life!.Other writers included were Ken Campbell, Snoo Wilson, Ken Hutchinson and Nigel Baldwin. They were asked to write short items based on the weeks newspapers around the theme of death. Campbell took stories from the Malaysian New Strait Times, Baldwin the Holyhead and Anglesey Chronicle, but to be more accessible, Wood drew her inspiration strictly from the tabloids.

Wood wrote six items in the first half of the show, including a requiem for Guy the Gorilla, a song about 'battered wives' (inspired by an article in The Sun about domestic violence). A song called 'Road Blocks' about a motorcycle accident, and a melancholy number titled 'Love Song'. The second half featured a sketch by Wood called 'Dear Mum', about a middle classed woman who refuses to visit her mother in hospital, and also a harrowing song titled 'Abortion.'In the cast was Julie Walters. Having only met Wood briefly four years before, the two hit it off immediately. Wood also performed in the show, but said later 'There was a sketch set in Belfast and I couldn’t do the accent, so they made me a deaf mute.' Wood received much critical acclaim for her work on the show though. The Daily Telegraph said her songs 'successfully blend a gallows humour with an unexpected touch of humanity', and Time Out wrote 'Victoria Wood's musical epigrams brilliantly embroider the action'.

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The revue was initially too short, and making up the shortfall, Wood discovered a new talent, writing comedy sketches. The sketch 'Sex' was set in a Manchester library and starred Walters as a teenage girl who thinks she's pregnant asking Alison Fiske (as the librarian) advice. As almost the only comedy in the show, it came as a welcome relief to the audience and went down extremely well. During the writing process, Wood said she discovered her true voice. 'It was the first thing I'd written with proper jokes and I thought 'aha!' I'd suddenly found something I could do. It was a blinding flash, like learning a new language.' The Times said of the sketch that she was a 'great discovery' who 'got more poetry out of Manchester speech than I had heard for years'.The cast also included Godfrey Jackman, Philip Jackson and Clive Merrison. The production ran from 13 July to 6 August 1978.

Due to Wood's acclaim, then theatre director David Leland commissioned her first play Talent.

List of BBC Radio Sherlock Holmes dramatisations

This List of BBC Radio Sherlock Holmes dramatisations summarises the BBC Radio 4 radio dramatisations of the complete Sherlock Holmes stories, with Bert Coules as head writer, and featuring Clive Merrison as Holmes and Michael Williams as Watson. Together, the two actors completed radio adaptations of every story in the canon between 1989 and 1998. The complete canonical run is available on CD and audio cassette, as well as downloads.

Painted in Blood (Midsomer Murders)

Painted in Blood is the third episode of the sixth season of British television show Midsomer Murders and the thirty first episode overall. It stars John Nettles as Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby and Daniel Casey as Detective Sergeant Gavin Troy.

Prince Regent (TV series)

Prince Regent is a British period television series made and transmitted by the BBC in 1979. It depicts the life of George IV from his youth time as Prince Regent and his reign as King. It consists of eight episodes of 50 minutes.

The After-Dinner Joke

The After-Dinner Joke is a television play in the epic form written by the English playwright Caryl Churchill for the BBC1 Play for Today series which was broadcast on 14 February 1978.

Unfolding through a sequence of 66 short, episodic scenes and utilising a large number of characters, the drama explores the politics of charity through the story of a young woman called Selby who wants 'to do good.' As a charity worker, she studiously avoids becoming embroiled in political issues, only to discover during the course of the action that this is impossible. 'There's something political about everything,' a local Mayor assures her.

Colin Bucksey directed the television production, which featured Paula Wilcox as Selby, Richard Vernon as Price, Clive Merrison as Dent and Derek Smith as the Mayor.

It has also been produced for the stage, including a major revival at the Orange Tree Theatre in London, directed by Sophie Boyce in May 2014.

The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

This article is about the BBC Radio 4 series transmitted from 2002 to 2010. There is also a U.S. produced series, which began in 1998, that transmits under the same title and a book range from Titan Books.

The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a series of radio dramas based on Arthur Conan Doyle's detective Sherlock Holmes. Written by Bert Coules as a pastiche of Conan Doyle's work, the series was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2002, 2004, 2008-9 and 2010. There are sixteen episodes, all of them produced and directed by Patrick Rayner of BBC Scotland. Clive Merrison stars as Holmes, having portrayed the detective in a complete canonical run for Radio 4 (the only actor to successfully do so to date). Andrew Sachs appears as Dr. Watson, replacing Michael Williams after Williams died following the Radio 4 run of Sherlock Holmes adaptations. Each of the stories is based on a throwaway reference from an actual Conan Doyle short story or novel. The first two series are repeated regularly on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

The 2010 story The Marlbourne Point Mystery brings to seventy-five the number of times Clive Merrison has played Sherlock Homes on BBC Radio 4.

The Glittering Prizes

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The Glittering Prizes is a British television drama about the changing lives of a group of Cambridge students, starting in 1952 and following them through to middle age in the 1970s. It was first broadcast on BBC2 in 1976.

The History Boys

The History Boys is a play by British playwright Alan Bennett. The play premiered at the Royal National Theatre in London on 18 May 2004. Its Broadway debut was on 23 April 2006 at the Broadhurst Theatre where 185 performances were staged before it closed on 1 October 2006.The play won multiple awards, including the 2005 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play and the 2006 Tony Award for Best Play.

The Kit Curran Radio Show

The Kit Curran Radio Show is a British sitcom created and initially written by Andy Hamilton, and screened on ITV in 1984. A second series in 1986 was co-written with Guy Jenkin, the title reduced to simply Kit Curran.Set in the fictional UK location of 'Newtown' (though exteriors are filmed in Bracknell), it stars Denis Lawson as devious radio DJ Kit Curran, Paul Brooke as his assistant, Les Toms, and Clive Merrison as newsreader Damien Appleby. The first series saw Kit clashing with new station boss Roland Simpson (Brian Wilde), while the second series saw Kit attempt to start his own pirate radio station, while fighting for the affection of Pamela Scott (Lindsay Duncan).

The Masters (novel)

The Masters is the fifth novel in C. P. Snow's series Strangers and Brothers. It involves the election of a new Master at narrator Lewis Eliot's unnamed Cambridge College, which resembles Christ's College where Snow was a fellow. The novel's dedication is 'In memory of G. H. Hardy', the Cambridge mathematician. It was the first of the Strangers and Brothers series to be published in the United States.

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories, originally published in 1893, by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Doyle had decided that these would be the last collection of Holmes's stories, and intended to kill him off in 'The Final Problem'. Reader demand stimulated him to write another Holmes adventure—The Hound of the Baskervilles. In 'The Return of Sherlock Holmes', Holmes relates the aftermath of 'The Final Problem', and how he survived.

The Newly Discovered Casebook of Sherlock Holmes

The Newly Discovered Casebook of Sherlock Holmes was a BBC Radio 2 comedy series written by Tony Hare. It starred Roy Hudd, Chris Emmett, Jeffrey Holland, and June Whitfield, and was broadcast between 16 January 1999, to 20 February 1999. It has since been re-broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra (formerly called BBC Radio 7).

The burlesque series was a comic pastiche of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. The series was recorded in front of a live audience and each 30 minute episode was broadcast on BBC Radio 2 at 1 pm, making some of the rude, and occasionally crude, jokes rather risqué for the time of day.

Hudd, Emmett, and Whitfield had all worked together on the very long-running radio series The News Huddlines. Holland is a familiar voice in British comedy series, probably best known for his role as Spike Dixon, the camp comic at Maplin's holiday camp, Crimpton-on-Sea, in the BBC sitcom Hi-de-Hi!

Hudd later appeared alongside Clive Merrison as Holmes, and Andrew Sachs as Doctor Watson in an original radio play in the series The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in 2002.

The Return of Sherlock Holmes

The Return of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of 13 Sherlock Holmes stories, originally published in 1903-1904, by Arthur Conan Doyle. The stories were published in the Strand Magazine in Great Britain, and Collier's in the United States.

The Smoke Screen

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“The Smoke Screen” is the third episode of the BBC comedy series Yes, Prime Minister and was first broadcast 23 January 1986.

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