Heartbeat to Holmes

PUBLISHED: 11:31 08 March 2007 | UPDATED: 15:01 12 May 2010

Philip Franks as Dr Watson, and Peter Egan as the great detective

Philip Franks as Dr Watson, and Peter Egan as the great detective

Heartbeat s old- fashioned policeman will be playing a different kind of detective when he visits Cambridge next week in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first stage production of The Hound of the Baskervilles Philip Franks will be starring in

Heartbeat's old- fashioned policeman will be playing a different kind of detective when he visits Cambridge next week in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first stage production of The Hound of the Baskervilles

Philip Franks will be starring in Sherlock Holmes' greatest adventure at the Arts Theatre from March 12-17.

He said: "I have always been a Sherlock Holmes fan. It's one of the best relationships that's ever been written, and a classic which people welcome like an old friend."

Philip will play Holmes' loyal assistant Dr Watson.

He said: "There are two extremes of Watson - Nigel Bruce's comedy version, and Edward Hardwicke's serious version, but I'm middle ground.

"I'm just being myself in the production and have tried to play him as an intelligent kind-hearted man."

Philip says the new stage production is very 'faithful' to the original.

"Those are the best versions. It's a wonderful atmospheric story."

The production is directed by Robin Hereford, renowned for the record-breaking The Woman in Black.

"Robin is a very gentle and kind man," Philip said. "You can hardly believe he's terrified audiences for years."

Starring alongside Philip is Peter Egan as Sherlock Holmes.

"Peter definitely keeps you on your toes. He's the best thing about the job," Philip said.

Philip is best known for his roles in The Darling Buds of May, and as Heartbeat's Sgt Raymond Craddock.

But he has also played many leading roles for the Royal Shakespeare Company, including Betram in All's Well That Ends Well directed by Trevor Nunn.

He has also directed 20 plays which he says is the most challenging and satisfying thing he does.

"As a director you're on the go all the time and responsible for every element of the production, so you worry about everything from the start to finish.

"I worry about people walking out of the theatre and even if someone coughs.

"Shakespeare, however, is easier to direct, because the writing is so brilliant"

Philip's most recent production includes Nicholas Nickleby Parts 1 and 2 at Chichester Festival Theatre.

"Directing Nicholas Nickleby with a cast of 26 and seven-and-a-half hours of drama in an enormous theatre was one of my biggest challenges to date," said Philip.

The Royal Shakespeare Company is where Philip learned about theatre.

"I was taken there as a six-year-old," he said.

Philip says audiences can expect a 'good thrilling evening with some committed acting' if they go and see the production next week.

When the tour comes to an end Philip who is the associate director of Chichester Festival Theatre will be returning to Chichester to work on other productions.

For tickets priced at £10-£27 call the box office on 01223 503333.


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