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Rewriting Sherlock Holmes

There's been a long discussion about Sherlock Holmes over on Horizon. Today I got the tv guide for Christmas and discovered the BBC are doing another Holmes story on Boxing Day this year. Their 2002 production of Hound of the Baskervilles (shown in America as part of Masterpiece Theatre) made me revisit the stories, rereading them with the idea that Holmes and Watson are active men in their thirties and not the older men we are used to from the Rathbone and Brett Holmes. I wasn't overly taken with Roxburgh as Holmes but adored Ian Hart's Watson because it was intelligent as well as emotional. Watson should be smart: it's just that his empathy humanises him so that against Holmes' calculating machine he seems less intelligent. He's less willing to think ill of people.

Happily, this new production, The Case of the Silk Stocking, has Hart again playing Watson. Even better, there's a new Holmes to go with him. Rupert Everett. Yes, that Rupert Everett. An actor I have adored for decades, ever since Another Country, and for whom I will actually watch a Madonna movie (but only the once, even his yumminess can't make me watch that again).

Any of the secret Sherlockians reading this (and not so secret - hi, Kelly!) might be trying to recall which one The Case of the Silk Stocking is, and may be about to check the canon. It's not there, nor in the list of pastishes, non-ACD work etc. It's new. Yes, new. The part of me which studies text/fan interaction, the part that discovered fanfiction has a history at least 150 years old, is naturally also happy. Sherlockian non-canon fiction has a long history, so the idea of a non-canon tv story is actually as traditional as all that nonsense with fog, hansom cabs and deerstalkers.

The only thing that could make this even better would for it to have been an adaptation of Kelly's prize-winning novel Erasing Sherlock Holmes, a lovely Sherlockian piece which seems stuck in some novelistic production hell, endlessly circling publishers who love it but don't know how to market it. I am going to reread my beta of ESH again in the New Year, imagining Rupert Everett as Holmes.

Posted @ 1:01 pm on Saturday, December 18, 2004
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