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Sunday November 18th 2018

The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes | 1970

The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes filming location: Castle Urquhart, Loch Ness, Scotland
The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes filming location: the mysterious Scottish castle: Castle Urquhart, Loch Ness, Scotland | Photograph: iStockphoto / Rudolf Kotulán

Hugely underrated, affectionately romantic revisiting of the Sherlock Holmes myth, with a lush score by the great Miklós Rózsa. There’s no Professor Moriarty, but Holmes (Robert Stephens) does get to track down the Loch Ness monster.

Disappointingly, you can’t visit Holmes’ digs at ‘221b Baker Street’. The extremely convincing ‘Baker Street’ is a vast – and expensive – set, 150 yards long, and built in forced perspective at Pinewood Studios by veteran designer Alexander Trauner. It was subsequently much re-used.

You can, though, visit the mysterious Scottish castle – which really is on Loch Ness. One of Scotland’s largest, it’s Urquhart Castle, a mile-and-a-half southeast of Drumnadrochit, on the Loch’s western shore, about 13 miles southwest of Inverness. It’s open to the public. The castle’s history, and that of the families who held it, is told in an exhibition and audio-visual display in the visitor centre. Not surprisingly, Urquhart Castle is also featured in 1996’s Loch Ness, with Ted Danson and Joely Richardson.

The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes filming location: Somerset House, The Strand, London
The Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes filming location: Holmes visits his brother at the ‘Diogenes Club’: Somerset House, The Strand, London

The entrance to the ‘Diogenes Club’, to which Holmes is summoned to meet his smarter, older brother Mycroft (Christopher Lee) is Somerset House in the Strand, London WC2.

The spectacular neo-classical building, surrounding a vast courtyard tucked away between the Strand and the River Thames, used to function as the registry of births, marriages and deaths. It's been reinvented as a public space for culture and the arts and, during the winter its fountain court becomes an ice-skating rink. In the summer, there are occasional outdoor movie screenings.

Somerset House appeared in two Bond films –  as 'St Petersburg' in GoldenEye and then as the ‘Ministry of Defence’ in Tomorrow Never Dies. This popular filming location can also be seen in Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow (as turn-of-the-century ‘Manhattan’); as ‘Buckingham Palace’ in King Ralph; in Shanghai Knights (where Jackie Chan invents the kung fu movie at the end of the film); and even as ‘Beverly Hills’ in Bride And Prejudice.

The railway scenes were filmed on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in West Yorkshire – the same railway used in The Railway Children and also featured in the 2012 big screen adaptation of Brideshead Revisited.