Love BBC Sherlock but Granada still has the edge for me

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.

About barefootonbakerstreet

Author from Shropshire
This entry was posted in BBC Sherlock, Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Love BBC Sherlock but Granada still has the edge for me

  1. rabidsamfan says:

    Show him the Red-Headed League!

    Actually, start from the beginning. Brett deserves to be savored.

  2. LeeAnne says:

    My sons (ages 24,19 and 15) all adore Brett as Holmes and readily say he is the best.I showed them the entire collection from the beginning. As rabidsamfan says ” Brett deserves to be savoured” from the very beginning!

  3. tripleransom says:

    I’d say if your grandson was captured by The Mazarin Stone, he will be a fan for life when he gets to see the other episodes.Rabidsamfan is right – Brett does deserve to be savored

  4. Michael Harper says:

    Do you have any idea if Granada or the BBC have any intention whatsoever to revive the series? TV is inundated with modern-day adaptations, but I believe the audience would love to see the Victorian era brought back to life.

    • I agree and would love to see a really good series set in the Victorian period. As far as I am aware there are no plans to do so. Comedian Barry Cryer was in talks with the BBC about adapting his novel The Mrs Husdon Diaries which is set in period – but that seems to have gone quiet. Sir Ian McKellen is to star in a new Holmes film which, I think, will also be set in the 19th century. But it will not be based on the canon. From feedback producers have given me about my own novel, BBC Sherlock has dominated the TV market and it will be unlikely that anything else Holmes-related will get made until it finally comes to an end. Of course, this could just have been a polite way of them saying my novel wasn’t good enough! But with Sherlock on the BBC and Elementary on CBS, I do think they have got the TV market sown up – sadly.

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