I have now seen the arguments put together by our fantastic team captains (The Baker Street Babes) and feel very confident about our chances of success. I thought this might be a good time to put some of my thoughts down in my own blog as a sort of ‘sneak preview’.
BBC Sherlock appeals to men, women and viewers of all ages – therefore the series has a greater impact on the long-term future of Sherlock Holmes than other interpretations which have a more selective target audience. In essence, Sherlock has universal appeal unlike the Guy Ritchie films which are aimed at young boys and men, and the traditional adaptations which appeal predominantly to existing fans. For something to have a significant impact, it must engage with the widest possible range of people. I did a very unscientific poll of my girlfriends and not one of them had enjoyed the Guy Ritchie films. The only traditional adaptations they knew of were the Granada series – nothing more recent than that. But they all, without exception, loved Sherlock.
BBC Sherlock gets the balance right between appealing to existing fans of Sherlock Holmes and also attracting a new, contemporary audience. As someone who is familiar with the original stories and interested in the character of Sherlock Holmes, I would happily tune-in to a traditional adaptation but it’s not people like me who need to be convinced if the future of Holmes is to be assured. Modern day Holmes writers must be innovative to attract a new audience or else the genre will stagnate. And Sherlock is innovative in the right way – cerebral, detailed and capturing the essence of the original characters.
Sherlock is more likely to make someone want to read the original stories. If someone starts reading them after watching the Ritchie film, they could be very disappointed to find that the books aren’t full of violence, action, ‘flashes and bangs’. But Sherlock prepares an audience well for the intelligence and method in the canon.
Traditional adaptations are restricted in terms of being able to include strong, believable female characters depending on which stories they are portraying. But in Sherlock, the women were professional and believable – members of the police, the manager of a medical recruitment company, an expert at a museum etc. By using a modern setting, they could include real, modern women and therefore engage with a female audience better than any other.
Here’s hoping for a very successful debate for everyone involved.