The more I look at the people who played Dr. Watson over the years the more I come to the conclusion that there were far more good representations of Watson than poor ones. This is the case of another good one. The mid-‘60s TV series “Sherlock Holmes” started in 1964 Douglas Wilmer was Holmes in the first half of the series and Peter Cushing playedd Holmes in the second half. The are 29 stories in the series and for all of them, Nigel Stock was the stalwart companion. Most of the Douglas Wilmer stories still exist and can be gotten on DVD. The remaining Peter Cushing stories are also available on DVD.
Stock plays Watson the way he was. Delightfully he does an exceptional job with Wilmer and even seems better with Cushing . While I believe that Wilmer is a better Holmes, there is a better chemistry between Stock and Cushing, so it’s kind of take your pick. The constant is Stock’s portrayal. You might remember Stock from the 1955 classic “The Dam Buster”. I remember seeing it as a kid. It is one of the classic war films.
Stock shows up again in the movie “Young Sherlock Holmes” in 1985. This was the movie that tested all the theories of animated special effects. Stock played Sherlock’s mentor Professor Waxflatter. It is amazing how many actors cycle through Holmes stories at intervals of 10 or 20 years. The Sherlock Holmes series is well worth the viewing.
Nigel Stock was born in 1919 in Malta. His father was an officer in the Royal Engineers and he grew up mostly in India. He returned to England in his teens for schooling . He made his first appearance on the stage in 1931. He would go on the play with The Old Vic and on Broadway. In 1937 he made his first film but like many of his generation WWII interfered. Stock served with the London Irish Rifles and the Assam regiment, Indian Army. He served in Burma, China and Kohima. If anyone can confirm he was there during the Battle of Kohima I would like to hear from you. Kohima was also called the Stalingrad of the East, holding out against the “U Go” Japanese offensive.
After the war Stock returned to acting. He had a long and productive career in film, TV, stage and radio. He died in 1986 in London. His TV credits include some of the best series in the media: The Prisoner, the Avengers, Secret Agent, and Sherlock Holmes. Besides the Dam Busters, another classic movie was The Night of the Generals. Stock was another classically trained actor that did a superb job with Watson.