It’s been an eventful time for BBC Sherlock fans, what with an appearance from the team at SDCC and the announcement of the title for the final episode of series three – His Last Vow.
Watching telly with my 15 year old stepson last night, (who is a big Sherlock fan), we saw Granada’s The Mazarin Stone. Charlie asked me which I preferred, Sherlock or Granada. It got me thinking – both were of their time so how do I feel now having experienced both times? Has my own taste evolved along with the way Holmes is now interpreted?
Ultimately, I had to conclude that even though Sherlock is brilliant, the Granada adaptations remain my first love. Trying to explain this to a 15-year-old who loves fast-paced action was a challenge. Sherlock is perfect for Charlie – non-stop action, comedy, clever use of modern gadgets and a world he recognises. The gentle world of Victorian London with its telegrams and steam trains couldn’t be further from his modern life. But, he does enjoy the canon (on his Kindle of course) so my pro-Granada argument centred on its faithful re-telling of the stories we both love so much.
Sadly, the episode we were watching was the worst example of what Granada tried to achieve. Jeremy Brett was so ill by this point that two stories were cobbled together (Mazarin Stone and Three Garridebs) with Mycroft taking the lead. But when I explained to Charlie how faithfully they tried to cover each story over a grand total of 36 one hour episodes and five feature length specials – even he was impressed. In total they adapted 42 stories despite Brett’s battles with depression and failing health. That’s a fantastic body of work. Brett was a wonderful Holmes giving an edgy, eccentric performance which is still revered by fans all over the world today. Granada produced nine series between 1984 and 1994, a feat no one else has matched since and for many, Brett remains the definitive Holmes.
It probably isn’t fair to compare Sherlock to Granada’s Holmes because both are so different. They set out to do different things though both kept the canon at the heart of what they created. So I’m not making comparisons and happily love both interpretations, but it’s my Granada box-set I turn to when I really need a Sherlock Holmes fix. Did I convince Charlie? Jury is still out on that one but he sat quietly and watched all of The Mazarin Stone without once going on Facebook – that’s got to be a good sign.