Wednesday, October 26, 2005


'Masterpiece Theatre' presented us with another portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, as played by Rupert Everett in the non-canonical "Sherlock Holmes And The Case Of The Silk Stocking". This makes about thirty different actors to have played the role on TV - and that's not including appearances in single episodes or in commercials.

Luckily we have 'Sliders' to set the precedent for multiple dimensions for the planet Earth, which just plays off the Many Worlds Theory of Hugh Everett.

In the TV Universe, Sherlock Holmes is indeed a real person and exists in all off-shoots of the original TV Land. That means we've got plenty of dimensions in which to spread the wealth of his company.

Characters with multiple portayals should get some order of priority. And I think those characters who were regulars on TV series should move to the head of the class.

PBS already presented us with the definitive Holmes from 1984 to 1994: Jeremy Brett assaying the role. However, his wasn't the first production of a series about the Great Detective, and usually that should take precedence.


Previously, Sherlock Holmes was portrayed by Alan Wheatley in a 1951 series, and then by Ronald Howard in a 1954 version. By all rights, Jeremy Brett falls to third in line for the premier slot in Earth Prime-Time. He wouldn't even qualify then for Earth Prime-Time Delay. (For instance - 'The Addams Family' is on the main Toobworld; 'The New Addams Family' can be found on Earth Prime-Time Delay.)

However, as one of the Caretakers for the TV Universe, I sometimes make exceptions. When it comes to remakes, I once banished the original to Earth Prime-Time Delay and kept the remake for the main TV dimension. That was for "The Incredible World of Horace Ford". The original version was presented as an episode of 'Studio One' on June 13th, 1955, with Art Carney in the lead role. And then on April 18th, 1963, Pat Hingle played Horace Ford in a new version on 'The Twilight Zone'. And while it may not be as memorable as 'Zone' episodes starring Burgess Meredith and Billy Mumy, this version is the one that gets mentioned most often in the "history books".

I have a good reason for letting Jeremy Brett's Holmes leap-frog over Ronald Howard's and Alan Wheatley's. His series covered the entire canon of Dr. Watson's stories. (Conan Doyle was only their literary agent.) Some of Howard's episodes may have been culled from the original stories, but most were created for the show. If I'm not mistaken, the same could be said for Wheatley's version.

So where do we lump these other two guys? Since Ronald Howard's version was the first remake, I'll send that along to Earth Prime-Time Delay. But as for Alan Wheatley's Sherlock Holmes? Well, why not to the Evil Mirror TV Dimension made most famous by the various 'Star Trek' series? That's not to say his Sherlock Holmes was evil; not everybody from that dimension had to be evil. Just that their surroundings and the general atmosphere of the world throughout History was EVIL!!!!!!

That still leaves plenty of other interpretations of Sherlock Holmes from even more TV series which need to find stately homes in England; not to mention the many one-shot TV movies and specials.

Yes...... I smell a series of blog essays on this topic. The game's afoot!



Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, but what about the fact that Basil Rathbone (the definitive Cine-Holmes) played the role on Suspense in 1953? And considering he also was Holmes for radio, surely his three media-spanning work gives him an important slot.


Toby O'B said...

Perhaps a special commendation in the eventual induction for Sherlock Holmes in the Crossover Hall of Fame? Similar to the Pigeon Sisters as a Multi-dimensional honor.

But a single episode of a TV show - no matter how much a giant in other media, - shouldn't hold a candle to the work done by Jeremy Brett as the Great Detective.

I'm always amazed by the stuff you find out, Hugh!