‘Sherlock’: Interesting Facts Revealed


Twitter exploded Wednesday afternoon when BBC One announced plans for a new series of Sherlock, the channel’s modern-day adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective stories. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as the consulting sleuth and his assistant (blogger), respectively, Sherlock has become a sensation in recent years. In the wake of the show’s success, there are many interesting facts to reveal both within the Sherlock Holmes canon and behind-the-scenes.

At one point in his life, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was actually a medical practitioner studying at the University of Edinburg. It was during his tenure that he envisioned and wrote many stories, including some featuring a character who would eventually come to be known as Sherlock Holmes. Sir Conan Doyle’s character was directly influenced by two other individuals. Edgar Allen Poe’s famous detective C. Auguste Dupin served as a framework for crafting many aspects of Holmes’s personality. In addition, Sir Doyle was inspired by one of his professors at the university, Dr. Joseph Bell.

Sherlock Holmes has faked his death multiple times in mainstream media, most recently in the conclusion of series two of BBC One’s Sherlock as the protagonist leaps from a hospital roof while his best friend watches in agony, but his actual death remains in an unpublished story. The last mystery of Sir Doyle’s detective, discovered posthumously, was accompanied by a note requesting the story not be published.

Other interesting facts surrounding Sherlock Holmes reveal Sir Conan Doyle’s first story is widely considered to be a failure. The book was rejected by a number of publishers before finally finding success. The character Sherlock Holmes frequently indulges in abusive substances. In the original stories, he uses cocaine as a vice which he believes provides stimulation to his brain. Holmes’s drug of choice varies due to creative licensing (as seen with the BBC’s version of the character, who prefers using nicotine patches recreationally), but is nearly always present in some form.

The idea for a new adaptation set in modern-day London first arose when co-creator of Sherlock, Mark Gatiss, was asked to address the Sherlock Holmes Society’s annual dinner. Steven Moffat, who heads the show alongside Gatiss whenever he can find time in his busy schedule due to also serving as executive producer for Doctor Who, accompanied Gatiss to the event. Gatiss took inspiration upon running into John Simpson, who had recently arrived back from Kabul. As fans of the series will know, Sherlock’s John Watson is an army doctor newly returned from Afghanistan, looking to make new connections. Gatiss and Moffat then pitched their idea to the Society, and the rest is history.

With so many fresh and unique perspectives constantly being brought to the table, there will always be interesting facts surrounding Sherlock Holmes dying to be revealed. Plans are in motion to begin shooting the fourth series of BBC’s Sherlock, which promises to deliver the “most shocking and surprising” twists yet. There is much speculation surrounding the return of Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott), who was teased at the end of series three. Shooting on a Christmas special to be released prior to the new series will begin Jan 2015. Filming for the fourth series will commence later. Series four will continue the traditional format of three 90-minute episodes.

By Sam Williams

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