A New Sherlock Holmes

I am very psyched because tomorrow evening one of my favorite British actors (Benedict Cumberbatch) will portray one of my favorite literary characters (Sherlock Holmes) in Masterpiece Mystery on PBS. Although his name may not be familiar, I am sure Cumberbatch’s face will be for he has been in several of my favorite period dramas:

Cambridge Spies (2003) played Edward Hand (starring with Tom Hollander, Toby Stephens, Rupert Penry Jones)

Starter for 10 (2006) played Patrick Watts (starring with James McAvoy, Dominic Cooper, Simon Woods, and Lindsay Duncan) – one of my personal favorites!!!

Amazing Grace (2006) – played William Pitt (starring with Ioan Guffudd, Romola Garai, Albert Finney, Michael Gambon, Rufus Sewell, Ciarán Hinds, and Toby Jones)

Atonement (2007) – played Paul Marshall (starring with James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Brenda Blethyn, Vanessa Redgrave, and Romola Garai)

The Other Boleyn Girl (2008) – played William Carey (starring with Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Eric Bana, and Eddie Redmayne)

Appearing with Cumberbatch in Sherlock is Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson and Rupert Graves as Inspector Lestrade. There will be 3 episodes, one 90-minute episode showing on Oct. 24, 31, and Nov. 7. From the writers of Doctor Who, Sherlock is co-created and written by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat.

As every modern fictional detective is basically derived from Sherlock Holmes, I am looking for a more traditional Holmes than the one Robert Downey, Jr., portrayed in the recently released Guy Ritchie version (a sequel is due in 2011). I am a cozy mystery fan, and Sherlock Holmes’s stories have fascinated me since I was a child.

“Sherlock fever” has followed Cumberbatch to the National Theatre, where he was, until recently, appearing in Terence Rattigan’s After the Dance. Although the run was already sold out on the back of strong reviews, long queues for returns and day tickets began forming early in the morning once Sherlock started airing on BBC1.

According to internet reports, Cumberbatch’s updated version of the fictional Victorian detective has even, apparently, become a fashion icon, as “Sherlock chic” (as it’s already been dubbed) hits the catwalks and fashion stores. Savile Row tailors have reported a jump in enquiries from gentlemen keen to copy the extra-long tailored coats sported by the actor, Debenhams menswear has announced a surge in enquiries for similar coats, and designer Paul Costelloe has already stepped up to meet demand, offering tailored coats and scarves based on the series. And for the women? Sherlock, it seems, is well in tune with the sartorial zeitgeist. “Capes are going to be massive,” says Emma Elwick, market editor of Vogue. “There is something elegant and dramatic in the swoosh of a cape.”

The series has even been raised in the Commons, with coalition Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt telling the House: “It was a very good example of the BBC at its best, investing in new programming.” That’s music to an embattled BBC’s ears, and with such a wide cultural impact, not to mention the 7.3 million viewers who tuned into last Sunday’s final episode (in which we finally met Holmes’s nemesis Moriarty), it’s hardly surprising then that the BBC plans to re-commission Sherlock. No official announcement has been made yet – timings and availability have still to be thrashed out, and all that – but Sherlock producer Sue Vertue and her husband, Steven Moffat, appeared on the BBC Breakfast sofa earlier this week to say the words that fans had been waiting for. “There will be more,” announced Vertue. “We’re having a meeting to talk about how many and when really.” (From an August 12, 2010 article in The Independent entitled “The Ideal Holmes Show”)

About Regina Jeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and historical romantic suspense.
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