The Inspectors Of Scotland Yard –
A Force To Be Reckoned With



It isn't easy for the inspectors of Scotland Yard to do their work when Sherlock Holmes roams the streets of London.

In comparison to the cool, intellectual thinker, the members of the police force seem to be slow and slightly dim-witted. To add insult to injury, Holmes usually lets them know this quite frankly.

In truth, they are as hard working as the detective. Bound by their duty to the law, the Scotland Yarders often simply can't go where Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson go.

And the detective may sometimes seem to dislike the official force and its members. But even he can't live without them. He usually lets them even take the credit for his work.


Meet some of the men that are just doing their jobs as police inspectors:

Inspector Lestrade

We meet Inspector Lestrade most often in the Sherlock Holmes stories as well as in the movies.
Watson describes him as "sallow, rat-faced and dark-eyed" as well as a "lean, ferret-like man, furtive and sly-looking".
Not a very flattering description, I grant you.

Yet, Lestrade is a capable police officer who brings interesting cases to the private detective.

He also coined the famous phrase, "It beats anything I have seen, and I am no chicken." during Holmes's first adventure "A Study in Scarlet".

In the Granada series, he becomes a good friend to Watson after Holmes's "death" at the Reichenbach Falls.

Here are some of the actors who have played Lestrade so far:

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Alan Mowbray played the Scotland Yard official in "A Study in Scarlet" with Reginald Owen as Sherlock Holmes.

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Arthur Wontner had to mince words with three actors, John Turnbull in "Silver Blaze", Charles Mortimer in "The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes" and Philip Hewland in "The Sleeping Cardinal" and "The Missing Rembrandt".

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Dennis Hoey usually was the laughingstock for Basil Rathbone's Holmes and Nigel Bruce's Watson, but sometimes he showed his true colours.

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Archie Duncan played the inspector in the American series with Ronald Howard as Sherlock Holmes.

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Frank Finlay as Lestrade investigated the Jack the Ripper murders twice; first in "A Study in Terror" and later in "Murder by Decree".

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Peter Madden's distinctive features made him a perfect choice to play the police official opposite Douglas Wilmer's Sherlock Holmes in the 1960's BBC series.
Madden also starred as Bill McCarthy in the episode "Boscombe Valley Mystery".

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William Lucas took the reins from Madden and appeared in "A Study in Scarlet" with Wilmer's successor, Peter Cushing.

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Ronald Lacey offered his services to Ian Richardson in "The Hound of the Baskervilles".

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Roger Ashton-Griffiths played Lestrade in "Young Sherlock Holmes".

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Borislav Brondukov starred as the police officer in the Russian adaptations.

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Colin Jeavons is the most recognisable actor who has played Lestrade.
In the Granada series, he admitted defeat to Jeremy Brett’s Holmes quite often. But Jeavons was man enough to acknowledge when gratitude and respect were due.

Before playing Lestrade, he had already played Holmes's nemesis, Professor Moriarty, in an episode of "The Baker Street Boys".

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Jeffrey Jones delivered a comic performance in the parody "Without a Clue" alongside Ben Kingsley and Michael Caine.

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Julian Casey worked closely with Matt Frewer's Holmes in a series of films produced for Canadian television broadcaster, CTV.

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Neil Dudgeon had to solve a series of murders in "Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking".
At present he plays DCI Tom Barnaby in the popular series "Midsomer Murders".

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Eddie Marsan is a recent addition to the league of Scotland Yard inspectors. He stars in both Guy Ritchie movies with Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes.

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William Huw played Lestrade in The Asylum's independent version of "Sherlock Holmes".

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In the current BBC series, Rupert Graves as DCI Lestrade needs the help of Benedict Cumberbatch's modern-day Sherlock Holmes more often than he likes.

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Inspector Tobias Gregson

Tobias Gregson is Lestrade’s colleague. According to Holmes, he is also "the smartest of the Scotland Yarders"; high praise indeed from the ultimate reasoner.

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Matthew Boulton nearly despaired because of a series of unsolved murders in "The Woman in Green" with Basil Rathbone as Holmes.

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George A. Cooper played opposite Peter Cushing's Holmes in the 1960s BBC series.

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Oliver Maguire investigated the case of the Greek Interpreter in the Granada series with Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes.

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Aidan Quinn plays Captain Tobias Gregson in the CBS TV show "Elementary" opposite Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes and Lucy Liu as Joan Watson.

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Inspector Athelnay Jones

Athelney Jones only appears in one story, "The Sign of Four".
But he leaves a lasting impression with his stout figure, his patronizing view of Holmes's methods and his favourite exclamation, "Here's a pretty business!".

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Gilbert Davis played Jones in the 1930s version of the novel with Arthur Wontner as Holmes.

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John Stratton investigated the murder of Bartholomew Sholto in the 1960s BBC series with Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes.

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Emrys James is my favourite actor to have played Athelney Jones. He appeared in the Granada series with Jeremy Brett.

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Michel Perron played the inspector in the Canadian production opposite Matt Frewer's Holmes.

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Inspector Bradstreet

The Scotland Yard official Bradstreet is only mentioned in a handful of the original stories. Yet his appearances in the Granada series justify it to include him in this list.

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Brian Miller played Bradstreet in the episode "The Blue Carbuncle" as a rather pompous man.

Later,
Dennis Lill played the official in three episodes, "The Man with the Twisted Lip", "The Mazarin Stone" and "The Bruce Partington Plans".

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Honorary Mention

Mr. Mac / Inspector Alec MacDonald of Scotland Yard

Gordon Jackson played "Mr. Mac" in "Masks of Death" with Peter Cushing.
The veteran actor is perhaps best known for his roles as George Cowley in the TV series "The Professionals" and as butler Hudson in "Upstairs, Downstairs".

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