Many years ago when I was 16, I wrote a full-length Sherlock Holmes screen play and sent it to a producer at Granada – the company responsible for the long-running series starring Jeremy Brett as Holmes. I can still remember the excitement of making a submission to them.
After a week of suspense, I finally received a letter back. It was a very polite ‘thanks but no thanks’. Their series had ended for the final time and the producer explained that Holmes had been ‘done to death’. They had no plans for any further productions involving that character. She said my writing was very good and urged me to write something else. I was gutted. And can still remember how that felt too.
Now, 19 years later, I’ve received a very similar letter mentioning BBC Sherlock. How ironic. I am in the process of submitting my novel, Barefoot on Baker Street, to production companies in the hope that someone will want to adapt it for television. I had a lovely email last week from the head of development at one of the companies I had contacted. She genuinely enjoyed my novel and wrote some wonderful comments but felt that it will be impossible to get it on TV as long as BBC Sherlock is running.
She suggested that the market is saturated and I’m too late – or too early depending on your point of view. Naturally I will keep trying and feel that Barefoot is different enough to deserve an audience share. But I couldn’t help smiling at the irony. And it shows the massive impact Sherlock has had – just like Brett and Granada did all those years ago.