The Great Sherlock Holmes Debate <ul><li>The debate will start shortly. </li></ul><ul><li>To submit questions and comments, please use </li></ul><ul><li>the question window </li></ul>
The Great Sherlock Holmes Debate 10 th November 2011 8pm GMT
Introduction <ul><li>Since 1887 – 124 years and going strong </li></ul><ul><li>Conan Doyle is ‘the father of crime fiction’ </li></ul><ul><li>Sherlock Holmes is the most recognised fictional character of several generations </li></ul><ul><li>There has never been a better time to be a Sherlock Holmes fan </li></ul>
Introduction - How the debate came about <ul><li>Growing fast as a Holmes publisher </li></ul><ul><li>New author Charlotte Anne Walters dreamt up a mammoth challenge….. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To read and review all 56 Sherlock Holmes stories in 56 to celebrate the launch of her debut novel ‘ Barefoot on Baker Street ’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The 56 days finishes on Monday 14 th ……. </li></ul></ul>
The Audience <ul><li>Fans from 23 different countries including: </li></ul><ul><li>USA, China, Singapore, Finland, England, Czech </li></ul><ul><li>Republic, Australia, New Zealand and many </li></ul><ul><li>more </li></ul><ul><li>Thanks for all the pre-questions and participation on the forum on </li></ul><ul><li>www.sherlockholmes.com </li></ul>
Introduction – The question <ul><li>Which modern adaptation is contributing </li></ul><ul><li>the most to the ongoing legacy of Sherlock </li></ul><ul><li>Holmes? </li></ul>
Introduction <ul><li>Lets take a quick look at the players….. </li></ul><ul><li>Team 1 – BBC Sherlock [ clip ] </li></ul><ul><li>Team 2 – Warner Brothers [ clip ] </li></ul><ul><li>Team 3 – The Traditionalists [ clip ] </li></ul>
Introduction – The Debate Format <ul><li>Audience Pre-Debate Vote </li></ul><ul><li>3 quick 5 minute presentations from each team </li></ul><ul><li>Open debate </li></ul><ul><li>(with questions from the audience) </li></ul><ul><li>Audience Post-Debate Vote </li></ul>
Introduction – The Debate Format <ul><li>Audience Pre-Debate Vote </li></ul><ul><li>BBC Sherlock 52 </li></ul><ul><li>Warner Brothers 3 </li></ul><ul><li>The Traditionalists 9 </li></ul><ul><li>Undecided 9 </li></ul>
Team 1 – BBC Sherlock <ul><li>Team Captain – The Baker Street Babes [Podcast] </li></ul><ul><li>Team Members </li></ul><ul><li>Sherlockology [fan site] </li></ul><ul><li>Roger Johnson [Sherlock Holmes Society of London] </li></ul><ul><li>Charlotte Walters [author, Barefoot on Baker Street ] </li></ul><ul><li>Dan Andriacco [author, No Police Like Holmes, Baker Street Beat ] </li></ul><ul><li>Kate Workman [author, Rendezvous at The Populaire, I Will find The Answer ] </li></ul><ul><li>Tracy Revels [author, Shadowfall, Shadowblood ] </li></ul>
Team 1 - Summary <ul><li>True to the canon </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasis on John Watson, the original narrator </li></ul><ul><li>London and The Updated Setting </li></ul><ul><li>A Modern Man Written For His Contemporaries. </li></ul><ul><li>Attracts A Wide and Diverse Audience </li></ul><ul><li>Massive Fan Ownership </li></ul><ul><li>BBC Sherlock’s Popularity </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion: The 21 st Century’s Sherlock Holmes </li></ul>
True To The Canon “ Come at once if convenient -- if inconvenient come all the same.” - The Adventure of the Creeping Man
True To The Canon: Sherlock “’ Try the settee,’ said Holmes, relapsing into his armchair and putting his finger-tips together, as was his custom when in judicial moods.” - The Red Headed League “ It is quite a three pipe problem, and I beg that you won't speak to me for fifty minutes.” - The Red Headed League
True To The Canon: John “ The campaign brought honours and promotion to many, but for me it had nothing but misfortune and disaster. I was removed from my brigade and attached to the Berkshires, with whom I served at the fatal battle of Maiwand. There I was struck on the shoulder by a Jezail bullet, which shattered the bone and grazed the subclavian artery…” - A Study In Scarlet John Watson is a crack shot, and a better marksman than Holmes. He carries a service revolver with him. Most notable use in The Problem Of Thor Bridge wherein Holmes uses it to test a theory on how a homicide occurred.
True To The Canon: A Study In Pink “… his unanswered correspondence transfixed by a jackknife into the very centre of his wooden mantelpiece…” - The Musgrave Ritual "Quite so. The W. suggests your own name. The date of the watch is nearly fifty years back, and the initials are as old as the watch: so it was made for the last generation. Jewelry usually descends to the eldest son, and he is most likely to have the same name as the father. Your father has, if I remember right, been dead many years. It has, therefore, been in the hands of your eldest brother." - A Study In Scarlet
True To The Canon: A Study In Pink “ As he spoke, his nimble fingers were flying here, there, and everywhere, feeling, pressing, unbuttoning, examining, while his eyes wore the same far-away expression which I have already remarked upon. So swiftly was the examination made, that one would hardly have guessed the minuteness with which it was conducted.” - A Study In Scarlet "Why," I cried, "you have an aortic aneurism!" "That's what they call it," he said, placidly. "I went to a Doctor last week about it, and he told me that it is bound to burst before many days passed. It has been getting worse for years..." - A Study In Scarlet
True To The Canon: The Blind Banker - The Adventure of The Dancing Men Cipher that can only be broken with a similar book and a woman fleeing from a group of criminals. - The Valley of Fear
True To The Canon: The Great Game “ I have always held, too, that pistol practice should be distinctly an open-air pastime; and when Holmes, in one of his queer humours, would sit in an armchair with his hair-trigger and a hundred Boxer cartridges and proceed to adorn the opposite wall with a patriotic V. R. done in bullet-pocks, I felt strongly that neither the atmosphere nor the appearance of our room was improved by it.” - The Musgrave Ritual "But the Solar System!" I protested. "What the deuce is it to me?" he interrupted impatiently; "you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.“ - A Study In Scarlet
True To The Canon: The Great Game “ ‘ All that I have to say has already crossed your mind,’ said he.” “ ‘ Then possibly my answer has crossed yours,’ I replied.” - The Final Problem “ I would try to convince you, but everything I have to say has already crossed your mind.” “ Probably my answer has crossed yours.” - The Great Game
John Watson: The Original Narrator John Watson is the original narrator and audience surrogate. Audience members are meant to identify with him to a certain extent. Doyle wasn't always kind to him and said himself that he thought him “rather stupid”. In the modern update, John is a well-educated man who has enough medical and military training and education under his belt to have been a field medic in the war in Afghanistan. However, he returns home traumatised, injured, and without friends. Living with Sherlock allows him to put to use the skills he has, and to cope with the mundanity of civilian life. By developing him as a character and giving him a great amount of quality screen time, it's made clear that he is more than just a sidekick.
London We contend that rather than being a barrier, the modern setting is an incredible asset to the series’ presentation, not least in it’s depiction of London as not just a city, but also effectively an additional, secret character. Against the dodgy geography, historical inaccuracy, and steampunk flavour of the Ritchie version, the city in ‘Sherlock’ is grounded, mysterious and very real, more so than any period version of the place could hope to achieve. The major unsung benefit of the modern day setting is the ability to use the city as it is, rather than rely on green screen, soundstages, and historic buildings which is an approach both a traditional adaptation or the Warner Brother’s film must take, thus grounding us completely and allowing the narrative and characterisation to sing incredibly strongly.
The Updated Setting The updated setting is a key point to the new show's success. Amazing as Sherlock Holmes is, we generally tend to feel that he is inextricably linked to the Victorian age. Updating the setting in a way that shows that Sherlock Holmes still has something to say in an age where modern forensics exist is a great idea, and the execution is magnificent. The world is completely modern and the episodes are enjoyable even for people who have not read the original stories, yet they are also rife with canon references, some of them so obscure that they please old-time Sherlockians (most prominently, James Philomel as the name of the boy who went to fetch his umbrella).
The Updated Setting We love the ingenious way in which Arthur Conan Doyle's characters have been adapted for the 21st century. Holmes, Watson, Lestrade, Mycroft Holmes, Mrs Hudson - they are the same personalities, but they are people of today and entirely at home in our world. They are not Victorian characters awkwardly slotted into a world of electronics and all those scientific and social advances that we now take for granted. Not everyone understands/appreciates/enjoys what the Victorian setting is about. Sherlock makes Sherlock Holmes more accessible to people. The average person may not be able to connect to the idea of handsome cabs, Victorian London, or telegrams. But people today can easily relate to a London black cab, cell phones/text messages, and blogging.
Modern Man Written For Contemporaries <ul><ul><li>Sherlock Holmes was written by Arthur Conan Doyle for his contemporaries. By transporting Sherlock to the 21 st Century, Moffat and Gatiss have honoured that. Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have both said the idea of the project came from chats between the two of them about how much they loved Sherlock Holmes and what it would be like if Sherlock Holmes existed in modern day. And this is exactly what they created. They kept the fictional detective as he is (personality, hobbies, actions, etc.) and just transplanted him into the London of our time. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Every update is logical. Of course Sherlock would send texts instead of telegrams. The recent Afghanistan War lends itself perfectly to Dr. Watson’s story, and Mycroft as a MI-6/CIA operative matches perfectly with his canonical occupation. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>One of the features of Sherlock that many of us find especially pleasing is the casting of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Their performances are excellent, and their relationship as Sherlock and John is entirely convincing. Also, they are the right age . Holmes and Watson are usually portrayed as men in their forties or fifties, but they would have been little older than thirty when they first met. </li></ul><ul><li>The popularity of such shows as CSI and Criminal Minds, along with a slew of modern detective shows have made Sherlock an exceptionally popular series on both sides of the pond, as well as around the world. </li></ul>
Wide & Diverse Audience <ul><li>Some people worry that younger people who enjoy Sherlock will find the original stories too old fashioned, but the series has actually helped boost sales and loans of Arthur Conan Doyle's books. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Publishers and retailers reported a 180% rise in sales of Sherlock Holmes books during the first series' broadcast . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>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 . 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. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul>
Fan Ownership & BBC Sherlock’s Popularity <ul><li>Viewing Figures: UK </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Study In Pink: 9.23 million </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Blind Banker: 8.07 million </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Great Game: 9.18 million </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Fan Community </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sherlockbbc Community on livejournal : 6606 members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sherlock category on fanfiction.net : 5,714 stories </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sherlock Facebook Pages: 247,422 collective members </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sherlockology web traffic : 15,000 hits (twitter, tumblr, facebook, etc), 4,000-6,000 hits a week from website </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Baker Street Babes podOmatic web traffic: 22,517 hits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Baker Street Supper Club Forum : 34,379 posts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ BBC Sherlock” in Google : 12,100,000 results </li></ul></ul>Record PBS ratings in America with 6.5 million viewers for A Study in Pink. Shown In: South Korea, France, Australia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Netherlands, Russia, Germany, Japan, Finland
BBC Sherlock’s Popularity The series won the BAFTA award for “best drama series”, with Martin Freeman winning "best supporting actor" for his role as Doctor Watson. The show was also nominated for the "YouTube Audience Award" and Cumberbatch had been nominated for “best actor.”
Awards Won <ul><li>BAFTA 2011 : Best Drama Series, Best Editing - Fiction/Entertainment for episode "A Study in Pink" , Best Supporting Actor: Martin Freeman </li></ul><ul><li>BAFTA Cymru : Director of Photography (Fiction) for “ A Study In Pink”, Best Direction for “The Blind Banker”, Best Make-Up & Hair for “The Great Game”, Best Production Design for “A Study In Pink”, Best Television Drama </li></ul><ul><li>Banff Television Festival : Best Continuing Series </li></ul><ul><li>Crime Thriller Awards : Best Actor: Benedict Cumberbatch </li></ul><ul><li>Broadcasting Press Guild Awards: Best Actor: Benedict Cumberbatch </li></ul><ul><li>Peabody Awards: Mark Gatiss & Steven Moffat for Sherlock </li></ul><ul><li>Royal Television Society: Best Drama Series, Best Music, Best Tape & Film Editing </li></ul><ul><li>Satellite Awards: Best Miniseries </li></ul><ul><li>TV Quick Awards: Best New Drama </li></ul><ul><li>Television Critics Association Awards: Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Mini-Series, and Specials </li></ul><ul><li>Nominated for 18 more awards including Emmys, Writer’s Guild of Britain, Prix Europa, National Television Awards, the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Horror Films. </li></ul>
BBC Sherlock: The 21 st Century’s Sherlock Holmes Sherlock is the ultimate proof that as long as you treat classic characters with complete and total respect, it doesn’t matter where you place them in time. They will endure. So really, what better way to contribute to Holmes in the 21 st century than an adaptation set in the present day that thus focuses on the characters, rather than the era in which it is set? What BBC Sherlock does is prove Sherlock Holmes is a character that translates to an audience no matter what time period he is presented in. Anyone who watched BBC Sherlock knows, even though it's set in 21st century London, it's still Sherlock Holmes. The man who sees things no one else can. It's the stories ACD wrote over a hundred years ago that people are enjoying. It doesn't matter where it's set.
Sherlock screen caps from http://sc.aithine.org/sherlock Many thanks to The Baker Street Babes (Kristina, Ardy, Jenn, & Taylor), Sherlockology (Emma, Jules, & David), Dan Andriacco, Charlotte Walters, Roger Johnson, Tracy Revels, and Kate Workman for their amazing help and arguments.
Team 2 – Warner Brothers <ul><li>Team Captain – I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere [Podcast] </li></ul><ul><li>Team Members </li></ul><ul><li>Gerry O’Hara (film director) </li></ul><ul><li>Better Holmes and Gardens (blog) </li></ul><ul><li>Larry Feldman (Society Founder, journal editor) </li></ul><ul><li>Kieran McMullen (author, Watson’s Afghan Adventure , Sherlock Holmes and the Irish Rebels ) </li></ul><ul><li>Gerry Kelly (author, The Outstanding Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes) </li></ul>
Holmes-a-Vision: That’s Entertainment! A world market for adventure that expects explosions, thrills, excitement… $500 million USD = 50 million people worldwide?
Holmes-a-Vision: That’s Entertainment! Head cocked to the left. Partial deafness in ear. First point of attack. Two. Throat. Paralyze vocal cords. Stop screaming. Three. Got to be heavy drinker. Floating rib to the liver. Four. Finally, drag the left leg. Fist the patella. Summary prognosis: Conscious in 90 seconds Martial efficacy: quarter of an hour at best. Full faculty of recovery, unlikely. - I like the hat. - I just picked it up. Worthy adversaries – Holmes’ powers shown …
“ Canonicity” Informed by the fabric of Conan Doyle…
Canonicity People we know well, in a re-imagined 19 th century London….
Rebooting the Characters Each generation rediscovers Holmes and Watson, and makes them their own…
Mass Medium, Mass Audience Death of Conan Doyle ‘ 39 Hound Rathbone 1942-1946 Hammer Hound (‘59) 7% Solution Jeremy Brett 1984 - 1994
Team 3 – The Traditionalists <ul><li>TeamCaptain – Nicholas Briggs (actor) </li></ul><ul><li>Team Members </li></ul><ul><li>Martin Montague (Producer, Sound Designer, Presenter) </li></ul><ul><li>Alistair Duncan (Author) </li></ul><ul><li>Paul R Spiring (Author) </li></ul><ul><li>Vida Starstvic (Historian) </li></ul>
The Great Victorian Detective <ul><li>“ It is of course possible to present the core of the Holmes and Watson relationship without rigid adherence to the books. This has been proved with the Rathbone/Bruce films and, latterly, BBC's Sherlock . However, Holmes as a pioneer of forensics and a man needed by the police makes the most sense in a Victorian setting when both the police and forensics were in their infancy. For me the Victorian environment is an important part of the Holmes world and any production without it, no matter how excellently done and enjoyable it is, is missing a significant ingredient.” </li></ul><ul><li>Alistair Duncan </li></ul>
The First Detective <ul><li>“ The Victorian era is an essential context. Then, there was clear social stratification, a strong moral code, and science was beginning to overhaul religious dogma. In other words both good and evil was less opaque than is the case now (are bankers the new villains?), and it is now difficult to imagine/believe that the authorities might call upon a consulting detective for assistance. Finally, I prefer the portrayal of Watson in the canon because in later films, he was frequently portrayed as clueless which is not the case.” </li></ul><ul><li>Paul Spiring </li></ul>
Getting to the Point <ul><li>“ Holmes is a product of a particular era, in much the same way that Marple and Poirot are products of theirs. It’s worth remembering this point if we’re to seriously ask the question, ‘Which is making the best contribution to Holmes in the 21 st century?’ From 1891, beginning with The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes , the Strand Magazine began serialising Arthur Conan Doyle's tales of detection. In other words, he’s a Victorian detective, written by a Victorian writer. The people making the best contribution to Holmes in the 21 st Century are therefore the ones who remain true to the character and words, as written by Conan Doyle himself.” </li></ul><ul><li>Martin Montague </li></ul>
A New Man for a New Century <ul><li>“ Sherlock Holmes…works best in a Victorian setting… he is a new man for a new century. He adds romantic element to reason instead of reducing it to a dry science, using his imagination as well as logic and observation to creatively interpret the facts before him. He presents a unique personality and rises above the commonplace: in a modern world, his skills are more commonplace than in Victorian times, for literature, culture and the streets are all littered with vigilantes, investigators and heroes who are adept at meeting the challenges Holmes's intellect poses them.” </li></ul><ul><li>Vida Starcevic </li></ul>
The Authentic Adaptations <ul><li>“ Sherlock Holmes is something I’ve always loved; it’s as much a part of our popular culture as Doctor Who has now become – except of course it’s been around a lot longer...” </li></ul><ul><li>Why change perfection? Big Finish Productions is, next month, releasing their audio adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles , which is being faithfully adapted for the very first time. </li></ul><ul><li>“ People always feel the need to embellish on it, quite outrageously. The original is brilliant. There’s no need to add a séance; there’s no need to add a scene where a man gets sucked down into a mire. It’s perfect as it is.” </li></ul><ul><li>Nicholas Briggs </li></ul>
Feedback from a Production Company <ul><li>• Big Finish primarily sells to the main English-speaking territories. UK, US, Canda, Australia, New Zealand </li></ul><ul><li>• We decided to adapt Conan Doyle stories, because they were ‘so good’ and because other adaptations (of The Hound of the Baskervilles in particular) were not faithful - and the adaptation changes, in some cases, served only to weaken the stories. </li></ul><ul><li>• Sherlock Holmes range sells around 1,000 units per title. We’re hoping a bigger marketing push this time will improve those figures. </li></ul><ul><li>• In line with all other Big Finish ranges (Doctor Who, Stargate, Highlander, Dark Shadows etc.), the Holmes audio adventures suffer massively from pirating/file sharing. Our online copyright investigator tells us that pirating of our Holmes titles is far more widespread than our Doctor Who titles. One reason for the surprisingly low sales figures on Holmes. </li></ul><ul><li>• Holmes titles very well received and reviewed, with Nicholas Briggs being favourably compared with Jeremy Brett, Peter Cushing and Basil Rathbone. </li></ul>