Arthur and George

Some might see this ITV adaptation, starring Martin Clunes, of Julian Barne’s novel about Arthur Conan Doyle’s efforts to clear George Edalji’s name, as an attempt to cash in on Sherlock Holmes’s popularity.

Viewers will likely be drawn to to the show by Arthur (Clunes), but it is the reverend’s son George (Arsher Ali) who is the incentive to tune in again for parts two and three: an all too rare insight into the life of a specific Anglo-Indian in Edwardian Britain, modelled on a real person. Commendably, Arthur and George demonstrates an effort not to pretend that stainless Doyle and his amiable “man” Woodie (Edward James) were the only forward-thinking gentlemen in 1903 (Woodie thinks George ‘uppish’ for correcting their pronunciation of his surname). Diverting, to an extent, but unfortunately the most pressing mystery is the wax and wane of Doyle’s accent.

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