Tag Archives: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

SHERLOCK bbc series one benedict cumberbatch martin freeman holmes watson

Sherlock Series Three To Begin Filming

Programme Name: Sherlock - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 2) - Embargoed for publication until: 27/10/2011 - Picture Shows: (L-R) Dr John Watson (MARTIN FREEMAN), Sherlock Holmes (BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH) - (C) Hartswood Films - Photographer: Colin Hutton

Sherlock certainly left our screens with a bang last year as The Reichenbach Fall played out on our screens, including a deathly plunge at the climax by one Sherlock Holmes.

However, there must have been a good trick to it, as the series will begin filming its third series on the 18th of March, according to Co-star Martin Freeman and BBC producer Sue Vertue.

The 18th of March is shaping up to be a busy day in the world of British cult television as the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special begins filming on the same date.

Filming on series three of Sherlock will continue until Summer, when a short break will occur before cast and crew come together again a few weeks later to film the third installment in the series.

Vertue says this type of shooting schedule is important to the shows longevity:

“We could never have fitted all three films into one long go because of everyone’s availability.  It’s being flexible like this which allows us to keep making them.”

Sherlock series three will most likely air in 2014, with a slight possibility of it being transmitted in late 2013 as well.

(Via Sherlockology/Radio Times)

Alistair Duncan's

Book Review: Eliminate The Impossible

As fans of Sherlock Holmes may know, Baker Street’s finest holds the distinction of being the most filmed person in all of fiction. Not bad for a character whose own creator tried to kill him off at a career high (and indeed, The Final Problem remains my favourite Sherlock Holmes story) and who was based on the same creator’s old medical tutor.

Alistair Duncan's Eliminate The ImpossibleEliminate The Impossible’s intent is to acknowledge the public image of Holmes as a hawk-nosed man with a deerstalker never far from his head, wearing an Inverness cape and always in possession of a calabash pipe (an image so iconic that it is used as a tiny pictogram on the back cover), an image that came from the actor William Gillette. It then proceeds to debunk this image, moving on to examine the original canon story by story and then moves on to examine his film and television appearances. Precious little time is spent on the latter but we can’t have everything.

I’ve been a fan of Sherlock Holmes for about five years now and during that time I’ve absorbed a lot of information about the great detective (an act that would probably disappoint him if he actually existed, as his knowledge of literature was famously lacking). So I was surprised to find a great deal of information that I’d never come across before. His dissections of the original stories are short but thorough and he presents interesting theories to the reader.

The book is well written with author Alistair Duncan’s clear knowledge of Sherlock Holmes infecting every paragraph as he reveals something interesting. It would’ve been nice to see some of the facts elaborated on further but it reads more like a populist work than an academic one, which is a good thing as it knows its target audience.

Really, the only major problem with this book is for fans who might want to read about his more recent exploits in the Sherlock Holmes movies and the BBC miniseries Sherlock. While one can’t blame the author for not writing about things that weren’t around in 2008 when the book was written, it would be nice to see an updated edition incorporating those productions. I’m sure he would’ve had a lot to say about them and I for one would like to read an updated version.

Unless you are a consultant to other Sherlock Holmes experts, there will be some level of new information here for you. I found myself learning quite a lot. This is truly a monograph worthy of the Holmes bookshelf.

You’ll find Eliminate The Impossible available on Amazon for just £6.99.

[This review was originally written in March but was never uploaded for reasons that aren't quite known at this juncture.]
Andrew Scott as Jim Moriarty in Steven Moffat's Sherlock

The Problem with Moriarty

Andrew Scott as Jim Moriarty in Steven Moffat's Sherlock

Professor James Moriarty, it’s fair to say, has become the definitive arch-villain more by reputation than achievement.

That grand soubriquet — ‘the Napoleon of Crime’ — outweighs his fleeting presence in the Sherlock Holmes stories. He fails to kill Holmes in “The Final Problem”, his henchman Colonel Sebastian Moran is no more successful in “The Empty House”, and his part in The Valley of Fear is almost a red herring with little connection either to the tragedy at Birlstone or the ‘Scowrers’ prequel.

His fixture in the Holmesian furniture probably owes more to William Gillette than Arthur Conan Doyle; Gillette’s 1899 play, with its dashing, deerstalker-clad Holmes, needed a moustache-twirling antagonist, and so Moriarty returned to trap Holmes in a gas-chamber and threaten a maiden’s honour with scenery-chewing glee. All this energetic activity is a far cry from Conan Doyle’s stooped academic: “His forehead domes out in a white curve, and his two eyes are deeply sunken into his head. He is clean-shaven, pale, and ascetic-looking … His shoulders are rounded from much study, while his face … is forever slowly oscillating from side to side in a curiously reptilian fashion.”

As film-makers embraced and updated Holmes from the 1910s to the 1930s, Moriarty soon became a villain for any occasion. So Moriarty is portrayed as an inhuman grotesque by Gustav von Seyferlitz in the John Barrymore-starring Sherlock Holmes (1922) (also notable for its Cambridge-set prologue that defines Holmes by his quest to defeat Moriarty); as a British Capone (Ernest Torrance) against Clive Brook (Sherlock Holmes, 1932); as a Nazi-aiding swine (Lionel Atwill) or serial killer (Henry Daniell) in Basil Rathbone’s Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon (1942) and The Woman in Green (1945).

Probably the truest to the original, and certainly the best written and portrayed, is George Zucco’s repressed, urbane professor in Rathbone’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939). Among so many entertaining lines and scenes in among the finest Holmes films, this professor elicits Holmes’ sardonic appraisal “You’ve a magnificent brain, Moriarty. I admire it … so much, I’d like to present it pickled in alcohol for the London Medical Society.” Also notable for its sinister pathos is a scene Moriarty berates his valet for not watering his plants: “Through your neglect this flower has died … and to think that for merely murdering a man I was incarcerated for six weeks”.

Professor James Moriarty, it’s fair to say, has become the definitive arch-villain more by reputation than achievement. His fixture in the Holmesian furniture probably owes more to William Gillette than Arthur Conan Doyle.

But the professor’s familiarity began to breed contempt. Moriarty remains a problematic inclusion in a Sherlock Holmes story; any mystery is difficult with a known master criminal hanging around, and Moriarty’s regular defeats, like so many recurring nemeses (many of whom — Superman‘s Lex Luthor, Batman‘s Joker, James Bond’s Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Doctor Who‘s ‘the Master’ — owe him a debt) make him into something of a joke. From Hammer Films’ The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959) to the BBC’s Douglas Wilmer and Peter Cushing-starring adaptations (1965-68), the trend was to return to Conan Doyle—and more interesting and lesser-known opponents like Baron Gruner, Charles Augustus Milverton, and Grimsby Roylott.

Of the more iconoclastic 1970s Holmes adventures, Moriarty is absent in Billy Wilder’s comic mythopoeia Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, and played as a comical bogeyman by Leo McKern (with a gleefully broad Irish accent) in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother (1975) and Laurence Olivier in The Seven Per Cent Solution (1976).

Eric Porter made a dignified enemy for Jeremy Brett’s much-lauded Holmes in 1985, and Paul Freeman was a formidably straight, if background, menace in the underrated Michael Caine-starring Without a Clue (1988). But the post-Brett disinterest in Holmes contributed to some of the worst Moriartys: Vincent D’Onofrio (in 2002’s Sherlock: Case of Evil) and Richard Roxburgh (in 2003’s dismal adaptation of Alan Moore’s masterful Victorian polyglot The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) contributed to a sense that Holmes’s paraphernalia needed a rest.

Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, in updating Sherlock (2010- ), appreciated Moriarty’s baggage; Moffat’s assessment, “Moriarty is usually a rather dull, rather posh villain so we thought someone who was genuinely properly frightening. Someone who’s an absolute psycho” misses a few greats but is broadly correct. In some ways it’s surprising that they should want to include Moriarty.

Many of Conan Doyle’s cases hinge on timeless personal dramas — lovers’ revenge, crimes of passion, abusive relationships — which could be updated almost unchanged, and next to which a Victorian fiend seems old-fashioned and simplistic. As Douglas Adams said of the Master in 1983’s Doctor Who: The Unfolding Text: “OK, you’ve got somebody who walks around in a black beard and moustache and is an obvious baddy, so that anything he does is bad. He is the guy in the black hat. He wants to take over the universe. One can take that for granted and then get on with everything else. But to my mind that in the end means “boring” because why does a guy want to take over the universe?”

Jared Harris as Dr. James Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Jared Harris as Dr. James Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

And this lies at the heart of Sherlock‘s approach. Though they have received justified acclaim for their smart and exciting stories, and the excellent characterisation of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Holmes and Martin Freeman’s Watson, Gatiss and Moffat have fallen short with their antagonist. In “A Study in Pink”, the cabbie loses both his name (Jefferson Hope) and his back-story, from A Study in Scarlet. Fair enough, you might say, an 1887 tale of vengeance on evil Mormons might not play in 2010 (although as the next episode’s villainous Chinese Tong is pure 1890s ‘yellow peril’ melodrama, from Fu-Manchu and Doctor Who‘s 1977 Victoriana pastiche “The Talons of Weng-Chiang”, you might be on shaky ground). With it goes the cabbie’s fascinating tragic motivation. Instead of Conan Doyle’s sympathetic, nearly admirable figure, he becomes a far duller serial killer… who speedily mentions Moriarty to conveniently explain himself away.

Similar concerns come to a head in Moriarty’s climactic appearances, “The Great Game” and “The Reichenbach Fall”. To be fair, Moriarty is arguably as re-contextualised as Holmes, his methods and ambitions chiming with the 2000s hysteria about terrorism, most notably embodied by Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight (2008)—whose supernatural malevolence the script only bothers to explain by Alfred’s (Michael Caine) oblique suggestion, “Some people just want to see the world burn”.

The fey, elfin Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott) clearly has the same Anarchist mantra—going to the ludicrous lengths of staging a schoolboy athlete’s murder purely as a calling card to a short-trousered Sherlock. The sheer implausibility of such a stunt is sidestepped—the point is the simple terrifying reality of it, as is the achingly modern referent of Moriarty strapping explosives to terrified by-standers (although that satisfyingly delays his entrance).

He goes one further in “The Reichenbach Fall”, getting a jury to acquit him of a crime he was caught committing (a more deranged re-run of his first appearance in 1939’s The Adventures, which must surely rank with Gillette’s play as the most influential Sherlock Holmes story not written by Arthur Conan Doyle). Whereas a real-life judge would surely declare a mistrial for such blatant jury-tampering, dream-logic prevails and he promptly walks free to accost Holmes (this time re-running their Woman in Green encounter).

Harris’ performance is as small as Scott’s is large, every gesture contained and suppressed. Game of Shadows‘ occasionally wayward plot returns to that most perverse notion from the original stories—that the Professor’s respectability is his greatest villainy.

Scott’s (now BAFTA-honoured) performance, with an Irish lilt recalling McKern and the hyper-distracted sarcastic parlance of a Joss Whedon character, is a skilled embodiment of Moffat’s “properly mad” enemy. That may be why he’s ultimately such a boring character. Worse, his villainy is showy, but ends up reductively futile: he whimsically discards the believed-vital ‘Bruce-Partington plans’, and commits his three impossible “Reichenbach Fall” crimes with common bribery rather than ingenuity. They’re fine twists — in the moment — but reduce much of the previous excitement to a bit of a distraction for a highly-strung evildoer.

But Jim Moriarty, unusually, does not stand alone. For the first time since Brett’s heyday, this Holmes has some big-screen competition, in Robert Downey Jr.’s more swaggering period-set Great Detective. Mirroring the Rathbone series, director Guy Ritchie saved the professor (Jared Harris) for his sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011). Harris’ performance is as small as Scott’s is large, every gesture contained and suppressed. When he first meets Holmes, his fractional upper-gum sneer—like a half-smile that he can’t bring himself to finish—is as revealing as Zucco’s plant diatribe. Game of Shadows‘ occasionally wayward plot returns to that most perverse notion from the original stories—that the Professor’s respectability is his greatest villainy. The scene where he politely autographs The Dynamics of the Asteroid while mayhem is afoot at the Paris Opera House sums up his evil far more than any ‘final problem’.

Late-19th century Britain was full of madmen and anarchists, all too easily vilified in penny-dreadful thrillers — given foreign (preferably Chinese or Slavic) and/or Jewish backgrounds — by a society looking for others to blame. But Arthur Conan Doyle was far too enlightened and humane for such obvious spectres. As John Le Carre observed: “He knew that evil can live for itself alone. He had no need for hate and prejudice, and he was wise enough to give the devil no labels.” On the contrary, he gave his devil every Victorian virtue: education, taste (his art collection is his biggest talking point in The Valley of Fear), politesse.

Alan Moore reveals Moriarty both as a proto-‘M’ and enemy of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with these words: “When you begin shadow-boxing, sometimes the shadows become real… am I, for example, a director of military intelligence posing as a criminal… or a criminal posing as a director of military intelligence… or both?”

And it remains as potent, and sadly true, today as it did in 1893.

sir arthur conan doyle house saved sherlock holmes

Sherlock “Homes”: Doyle Residence Preserved

The home the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle lived in from 1897 to 1907 has been saved from being developed into flats. The house, called Undershaw, which was also designed and built by Conan Doyle, was saved in part by the Save Undershaw Campaign, which was started in 2009 by Holmes fan and scholar John Gibson.

Since then, the campaign gained some famous names including Sherlock Co-creator Mark Gatiss and Stephen Fry.

The house, which was where Conan Doyle wrote thirteen of the Sherlock Holmes stories, including The Hound of the Baskervilles, was set to be partially demolished and it it’s place would stand eight separate living units.

Undershaw in Better Days

On the 29th of May a High Court judge, Mr Justice Cranston, decided that due to ‘legal flaws’ the prior permissions given to the Waverley Borough Council to allow Fossway Ltd to come and convert the house to flats.

No information was available at time of writing about future plans for the house, although the Undershaw Preservation trust did post this on their website:

“We’re waiting on the report from the judge to view his findings and of course to see whether Waverley Borough Council will appeal; they have until Wednesday (6th June) to make that decision. 
In the meantime we have submitted a new application to English Heritage to have the property upgraded from Grade II to Grade I listed status in order to give Undershaw greater protection.”

(Via Daily Mail)

Sherlock logo

“Less Literal” Sherlock

Last week’s Bafta awards featured writer Mark Gatiss and star Benedict Cumberbatch teasing vague hints about the third series of the intense detective series Sherlock.

Speaking to DigitalSpy, Cumberbatch enthused over the love for the show.

“We’re very fond of it, and we adore our audience – they’re smart and intelligent and ever-growing, which is wonderful.”

Meanwhile, Gatiss – who also plays Mycroft Holmes in the series – revealed that is penning the Sherlock series three opener, loosely based on Conan Doyle’s The Adventure of the Empty House.

“It’ll be a version of it, because that’s the one in which [he] returns. How much or how little [is changed], I don’t know yet. As before, we cherry pick and we choose bits and pieces of others that we like. They’re always less literal adaptations.”

Sherlock Series 3 begins filming in early 2013.

New Sherlock Holmes Novel: Scotney Castle

Mx Publishing will be releasing a new Sherlock Holmes adventure, Sherlock Holmes and the Dead Boer at Scotney Castle on the 19th of March by author Tim Symonds. The book involves Holmes and Doctor Watson attempting to solve the mystery of a body found dead in a pond:

Holmes and Watson take the train to the English High Weald to address the mysterious Kipling League at Crick’s End.  A body is found in a wagon pond at nearby Scotney Castle – but why the wagon pond and not the moat?  And why unclad?  What is the meaning of the pair of shiny dark glasses clutched in one hand?  And that hatband – could it really be from the skin of a yellow and brown spiny snake?

Here is a small tease of the novel to get your detective juices flowing:

‘Late Extra! Dead Body at Scotney Castle,’ the boy sang, his face turned upwards, his apron displaying the bold headline black upon yellow on a poster.

‘Heavens, Holmes,’ I called over, amused. ‘Fame indeed. Scotney Castle has found its way into the Evening London Standard!’

I anticipated my companion would wave aside the small beseeching newspaper vendor. Had he declined to make the purchase, I would have followed suit while offering the boy a ha’penny in compensation. Thereby we may never been hurled into the extraordinary matter of the dead Boer at Scotney Castle.


Rather than waving the boy away, Holmes stared down at him and demanded ‘What did you say?’

‘Dead Body at Scotney Castle,’ the vendor sang out once more, pushing a copy into my companion’s outstretched hand and taking three-halfpence in return.

Holmes unfolded the newspaper and turned to an inside page as directed. He read for a moment and glanced up.

‘Watson, listen to this. ‘LATE EXTRA. From our local Correspondent by wire’.’  

The report commenced with the curiously garbled sub-heading ‘Well-Dressed Unclad Body Discovered At Lamberhurst’ and continued, ‘To-day, at around 4pm near the village of Lamberhurst, on the Kent and Sussex border in the Valley of the River Bewl, in the undertaking of his rounds, James Webster, woodman on the Scotney Castle Estate, came across the unclad body of a man lying mostly submerged in the wagon pond, off the old Carriage Drive at Kilndown Wood, believed drowned. Age is estimated around 50.

Gentlemen’s clothes of a good quality and condition lay at a short departure from the verge, neatly piled, and topped by a crimson hat like a bowler out of a Mexican sombrero, bearing a hatband made from the skin of a yellow and brown spiny snake. Death is estimated to have taken place within the previous hour as the arms and legs were still supple. It was noticeable the dead man’s chest was unusually seared by the sun in a triangle to a point some five inches above the navel, with similar ruddiness of arms right to the armpit, and the legs from above the calf to just below the knee. Exact details are few but no traces of struggle or nearby disturbance have been reported. A man in this garb was seen standing at the edge of the wagon pond in the middle of the afternoon, around three o’ clock, by Lord Edward Fusey, owner of the Estate, whose house overlooks the valley from the top of a nearby hill.

While suicide is a possibility, the empty pockets of the clothing and weathered condition of the skin incline the Lamberhurst constable to agree with Lord Fusey’s suggestion the body is most likely that of a passing tramp, who, having stolen a gentleman’s clothing, felt obliged to bathe in the wagon pond and consequently drowned.’’

Turning to me with an air of excitement, Holmes demanded, ‘Well, Watson, what do you make of it?’


‘What do you make of it, Holmes?’ I parried, staring at him. He was on a hot scent but as yet I could not in the least imagine in what direction his inferences were leading him. Without responding to my own query, he returned to the Standard and continued, ‘‘A pair of shiny dark glasses was discovered between finger and thumb, but identifying papers or other memoranda are lacking. The old smugglers’ track is a favoured route of indigents and vagabonds overnighting in the castle ruins on their way to London. No further action is expected’.

Holmes lowered the newspaper.  ‘‘The body is most likely that of a passing tramp?’’ he repeated. ‘How could this be?’

He raised the paper again and continued reading out loud. ‘’The probability remains that the deceased has been the victim of an unfortunate accident which should at the very least have the effect of calling the attention of the Estate owner to the parlous condition of the wagon pond verges’.’

Once more Holmes lowered the newspaper, frowning. ‘Again, Watson, I ask, what do you make of it?’ 

‘Apart from the sensationalistic prose, Holmes, what should I make of it?’ I replied evasively. ‘Any self-inflicted death or accident is a sad event.’

He cocked his head. ‘’Self-inflicted death or accident’ you have already decided?’ he demanded. ‘Is it not obvious to you this matter strikes rather deeper than you think?’

Sherlock Holmes and the Dead Boer at Scotney Castle is available for pre-order on Amazon and will also be available at Foyles Online.

*This image is under embargo for publication not before 27th July 2010**  Tx: BBC One TBC  Picture shows: Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes.  WARNING:  Use of this copyright image is subject to the terms of use of BBC Pictures' BBC Digital Picture Service.  In particular, this image may only be published in print for editorial use during the publicity period (the weeks immediately leading up to and including the transmission week of the relevant programme or event and three review weeks following) for the purpose of publicising the programme, person or service pictured and provided the BBC and the copyright holder in the caption are credited.  Any use of this image on the internet and other online communication services will require a separate prior agreement with BBC Pictures.  For any other purpose whatsoever, including advertising and commercial prior written approval from the copyright holder will be required.

Sherlock Series Two: The Interviews

Here are some excerpts from a series of interviews about the second series on the hit BBC drama Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes), Martin Freeman (Doctor Watson) and co-creators of the series Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss.

Benedict Cumerbatch

On Sherlock Series One:

“I was thrilled with how the first series of Sherlock was received…It was such great fun to film, which makes it so rewarding when something you enjoy, is so well received.”

On Series Two:

“Without giving anything away, there are some very nice moments in the new series and of course there is the comedy of John reprimanding Sherlock. John knows now, what he’s dealing with in Sherlock, he’s accepting of his friend, I think in this series, what we see more of is John having to explain it to other people.

With series two we wanted to move the characters on, but at the same time you want to tick some of the boxes that made the first series so popular. Now, John and Sherlock are established as a team, there are still a few ‘I can’t believe he’s doing that’ moments, but on the whole they form a united front. The characters are evolving, and they’re facing some of their biggest challenges yet. I think if anything has changed, he (Sherlock) is gaining humanity.

I think the audience can expect three incredibly different films. The first episode is going to be about the heart, whatever that may be for Sherlock. The second episode is about horror and suspense and the third is going to be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster and a thriller, so expect love, horror and thrills!”

On new Love Interest Irene Adler and the running gag in series one of Holmes and Watson possibly being homosexual:

“The last series played on that [joke] quite a few times, with two men living together, and so many people getting it wrong. But episode one presents a very definite female presence in the form of Irene Adler, and she is more than a match for Sherlock. It’s really nice to have a female counterpart.

Irene Adler is someone who has an incredible amount of power. She’s very beautiful, very smart and intelligent, quick-thinking and resourceful. She’s got a lot of attributes that mirror Sherlock and she doesn’t suffer fools gladly, Steven and Mark are very clear though, this is Sherlock ‘and’ Love, not Sherlock ‘in’ Love. But viewers can expect a lot of flirtation!”

On Sherlock’s look and Wardrobe:

“The coat was interesting, because there is so much about Sherlock in the original Conan Doyle books, that is modern, so the hardest thing to get right were the clothes and how to dress him for a contemporary audience and what should the silhouette be.

The coat was Ray Holman’s, the costume designer’s idea. Sherlock’s suits have a clean, linear, perfunctory beauty about them, there’s nothing showy or flamboyant. They’re very well cut, functional but still very stylish and I think that sums up Sherlock perfectly.”

Martin Freeman:

On Sherlock Series One:

“It was beyond all of our wildest dreams’…

We hoped it would be well-received and as popular with viewers as it was with us. We loved making it and are very proud of it, but beyond that it’s out of your control as to how people will view it, so the response was great.”

On Sherlock Holmes and Love:

“John thinks Sherlock would be much healthier if he had a relationship with a human being as opposed to a theory or something. John in the interim, according to the writers, he’s had a number of girlfriends, so I think he’d like Sherlock to do the same. I think it makes Sherlock more human in John’s eyes.”

On Holmes and Watson’s Relationship:

“By the end of the first series you saw John and Sherlock’s relationship moving on, John went from being merely ‘agog’ at everything Sherlock did to being just miffed at some of his actions. That takes a step further in the new series and I would say it is definitely a partnership now, with Sherlock being the main thrust, but John is only half a step behind, as opposed to six steps behind.

You kind of need John there, what he brings to ‘the game’ isn’t the same as Sherlock, but it’s kind of useful doing, as Mycroft says with disdain, ‘the legwork’. John can do different legwork to Sherlock, but he’ll do it all the same. It’s pretty much more of that really, I mean there’s only so much you can develop John’s role in the deduction because then it’s not Sherlock anymore. it has to be primarily about him, and that’s the only way to do it, with John as backup.

All that I require, as an actor, and as an audience, is that it’s good backup, that it’s interesting and it’s three-dimensional, because otherwise I can’t see the point of being here, and I certainly wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t interesting.”

On Why Sherlock is Successful:

“I think people just like seeing friendship. I think people like seeing people who just drive each other up the wall, but at same time, can’t live without each other. You see it in Waiting For Godot and Steptoe And Son, that’s everything, especially involving two blokes who want to kill each other, but ultimately, where else are they going to go?”

Mark Gatiss:

On The Hounds Of Baskerville:

“My idea for Baskerville was, as ever, to look for the ‘modern’. So rather than setting it in a spooky old house, I wanted to find the sort of thing that frightens us today. We’re still a very credulous species but we tend to be more afraid of secret goings-on and conspiracy theories. So I thought, what about a scary weapons research place out on Dartmoor? Where secret animal experimentation or something similarly terrible was taking place.

“The reputation of the story was obviously a challenge, it’s the most famous and best-loved of them all. No pressure! At its heart, though, it’s a horror story and horror is a big part of the appeal of Sherlock Holmes. I wanted to make it the scariest version there’s ever been. Trying to work that out almost killed me!”

On Sherlock Holmes’ undying popularity:

“He’s a mass of contradictions and that makes him fascinating. He’s cold, aloof, arrogant, dangerous, therefore, absolutely magnetically attractive. It works in real life as well, but ultimately people would not remember Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson if Conan Doyle had not been a genius writer, what he created was pure gold. It’s precisely because of those things that we love them.”

On the effect of Sherlock’s Success:

“The most wonderful and moving thing that happened to me throughout the whole series, was getting a letter from a woman whose son was profoundly dyslexic, who had never read a book in his life and he’s now read all of the Conan Doyle books. The entire canon of Sherlock Holmes is fantastic and sales of the old stories have gone up and I couldn’t think of anything more brilliant than for people to be pointed back towards Doyle, who is the well spring of all of this. And still a criminally under-rated genius writer.”

Steven Moffat:

On the difference between series one and series two:

“It’s a different feeling, being back for a second series, last time nobody knew about us and there was some scepticism about ‘modernising’ Sherlock Holmes. And now look at Benedict and Martin, they are so famous in those roles! So far the series has sold in over 180 countries worldwide, so it’s a very big change.

I think the first series was more about John Watson being redeemed from being a massively traumatised war veteran into a bit of a hero. This year it’s more about the forging of the mighty Sherlock Holmes.”

On Series Two:

“Well this year, knowing we were a huge hit, I suppose we felt let’s do the three big things, The Woman, the Hound and the Fall.

Instead of making people wait years and years, we thought – to hell with deferred pleasure, let’s just do it now, more, sooner, faster!

That also means we see three different sides to Sherlock. We have Sherlock and love, Sherlock and fear and Sherlock and death. He definitely goes through the mill in this new series.”

On the history of endurance of Sherlock Holmes and his adventures:

“We’ve almost forgotten how good the characters of these stories are. They’re not just an old artefact that has become, by accident, venerated. They are in my opinion, without a doubt, the biggest hit in fiction, since their launch over a 100 years ago in the Strand Magazine, it’s now a hit movie series and a hit television series right now and its down to the characters who are perfect, they are brilliant.”

Sherlock series two starts on BBC One at 8:10 PM on New Year’s Day





BBC One's contemporary Sherlock series, by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss

A Scandal In Belgravia Preview

BBC One's contemporary Sherlock series, by Steven Moffat and Mark GatissOur preview coverage of Sherlock series 2 continues today with a few interviews and this synopsis provided by the BBC for the plot of the first episode, “A Scandal in Belgravia”.

Compromising photographs and a case of blackmail threaten the very heart of the British establishment, but for Sherlock and John the game is on in more ways than one as they find themselves battling international terrorism, rogue CIA agents, and a secret conspiracy involving the British government.

But this case will cast a darker shadow over their lives than they could ever imagine, as the great detective begins a long duel of wits with an antagonist as cold and ruthless and brilliant as himself: to Sherlock Holmes, Irene Adler will always be THE woman.

Written by Steven Moffat and directed by Paul McGuigan (he helmed two of the first series episodes), “A Scandal in Belgravia” stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock and Dr John Watson, and Irene Adler is played by Lara Culver.

What isn’t clear at this stage is whether or not the thrilling cliffhanger we were left on in The Great Game will be resolved or not – I guess we’ll have to wait until New Year’s Day!

Sherlock Holmes: The Breath of God

Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson seek the assistance of Alister Crowley in Guy Adams new Sherlock Holmes novel The Breath of God, which is now available from Titan Books.

The nineteenth century is about to draw to a close. In its place will come the twentieth, a century of change, a century of science, a century that will see the superstitions of the past swept away. There are some who are determined to see that never happens.

A body is found crushed to death in the London snow. There are no footprints anywhere near it. It is almost as if the man was killed by the air itself. This is the first in a series of attacks that sees a handful of London’s most prominent occultists murdered. While pursuing the case, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson find themselves traveling to Scotland to meet with the one person they have been told can help: Aleister Crowley.

As dark powers encircle them, Holmes’ rationalist beliefs begin to be questioned. The unbelievable and unholy are on their trail as they gather a group of the most accomplished occult minds in the country: Doctor John Silence, the so-called “Psychic Doctor”; supernatural investigator Thomas Carnacki; runic expert and demonologist, Julian Karswell…But will they be enough? As the century draws to a close it seems London is ready to fall and the infernal abyss is growing wide enough to swallow us all.

The Breath of God is a brand-new original novel, detailing a thrilling new case for the acclaimed detective Sherlock Holmes.

There is also a small preview of the book available, which can be seen here.

(Via Den of Geek)