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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Sherlock Holmes: Most portrayed literary character

ANI  London, May 18, May 18, 2012
First Published: 12:39 IST(18/5/2012) | Last Updated: 12:39 IST(18/5/2012)
Sherlock Holmes, who has been portrayed by actors like Basil Rathbone, Jeremy Brett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr, Tom Baker and many others, has broken the record for having more film and TV portrayals than any other literary character.

The super sleuth has been depicted on the big and small screen a total of 254 times.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation beats the next most popular character, Hamlet, by a total of 48 appearances.

Shakespeare’s prince of Denmark has been portrayed 206 times.

In the past couple of years alone, Holmes has been portrayed by Cumberbatch in the Bafta-winning BBC series and by Downey Jr in two Hollywood blockbusters. Previous incarnations include Basil Rathbone in several US films mostly made in the 1940s, and Jeremy Brett in more than 40 ITV adaptations in the 1980s and 1990s.

Whereas Brett’s work stayed faithful to the canon, Rathbone’s war-time plots stretched beyond Conan Doyle’s stories and had him thwarting Nazis, among others. The consulting detective made his debut in the 1887 novel ‘A Study In Scarlet’ and went on to become a hit with the reading public.

His first depiction on screen is believed to be in a 30-second silent movie, ‘Sherlock Holmes Baffled’, which appeared in the US in the 1890s.

He has since been played by more than 75 actors.

Guinness World Records, which awarded Holmes the record, called him a “literary institution”.

This title reflects his enduring appeal and demonstrates that his detective talents are as compelling today as they were 125 years ago,” the Daily Mail quoted Claire Burgess, a Guinness adjudicator, as saying.

Doyle’s creation has enjoyed huge success in recent years after being brought to life by Robert Downey Jr in Guy Ritchie’s movie ‘Sherlock Holmes’ in 2009 and a sequel last year.

BBC1’s series, called ‘Sherlock’ and set in modern times (with Martin Freeman as Dr Watson), has also proved to be a huge hit, winning the prize for best drama at last year’s Bafta television awards.

Despite many being adapted from Doyle originals, Cumberbatch’s storylines have a unique 21st century twist, with slightly tweaked titles such as ‘A Study In Pink’.

And in the United States, a TV series called ‘Elementary’ is in production with ‘Trainspotting’ actor Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes and’ Charlie’s Angels’ actress Lucy Liu as Dr Watson.


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