There probably isn’t a fictional detective more popular than Sherlock Holmes. Since his creation by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887 Sherlock Holmes has been written about, appeared on the silver screen and the little screen more times than any other fictional character.
The Guinness World Records has consistently listed Sherlock Holmes as the “most portrayed movie character” with 75 actors playing the part in over 211 films.
Actors taking on the role have included John Cleese, Robert Downey Jr. and Jeremy Brett – considered by many as the greatest portrayal of Sherlock ever. Take a look at this Telegraph article for more actors that have taken on Sherlock.
In recent years Sherlock has been more popular than ever with both Guy Ritchie bringing him back to the big screen, in a contemporary action style, and the BBC opting for a somewhat more off-kilter portrayal, keeping it just this side of ridiculous in a Dr Who sort of way.
The BBC adaptation of Conan Doyle’s painfully clever detective has proved hugely popular. From my own perspective as someone who is never particularly enamoured by TV dramas I have found Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of the Sherlock captivating.
Ridiculous plot lines acted out almost flawlessly, female’s private parts covered by opportunely placed props in an Austin Powers-inspired moment of sexy comic genius and listening to Sherlock draw the wildest of conclusions from the smallest amounts of evidence; all add up to make the BBC’s new Sherlock one of the best TV programmes in quite some time.
What is it that makes Sherlock such a gripping character?
Well in my opinion it’s his braininess, as Irene Adler said in the new series of the BBC’s Sherlock:
“Brainy is the new sexy”.
In all of the portrayals of Sherlock through history it is the scenes in which we are allowed to glimpse into his mind and follow his hurtling logic that audiences are most heart thumping-ly gripped.
I think we are all supremely satisfied when things come together and work in an simply yet elegant way. Watching Sherlock solve seemingly impossible crimes reminds me of the same satisfaction of watching an elaborately set up series of dominoes fall or seeing something you’ve long been building finally come together.
Have a look at the trailer of the BBC’s Sherlock adaptation.
What do you think makes Sherlock Holmes such a compelling fictional character?