Mystery buffs are captivated by charismatic crime fighters, and perhaps none has been embraced more enthusiastically than Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock, a modern-day Holmes vehicle starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the eccentric detective, and Martin Freeman as his partner, Dr John Watson, currently provides some of the most popular programming on television. Past, present and future, Sherlock Holmes rules the roost, so we'll continue to see his legacy in pop culture, including various media interpretations of his idiosyncratic adventures. But what's behind the rise of this popular character, and where can fans fill their need for more Sherlock Holmes?
2. Inspiration and Character DevelopmentHolmes' character is thought to be derived from a pair of doctors author Doyle worked with in Scotland, including one tied to Edinburgh police work. But Doyle himself has also been cited as an inspiration for some of the character's signature traits, including his heightened capacity for deductive reasoning. According to Doyle's tales, Holmes developed these powers at university, before deciding to take detective work as a career.
3. Holmes SocietiesTwo primary societies dedicated to Sherlock Holmes were formed in the 1930s, still operating today. The American, Baker Street Irregulars were organised in 1937, devoted to literary studies of Holmes and Doyle; while the Sherlock Holmes Society in London originally came together in 1934.
4. Copyright and Public DomainCopyrights expired in UK in 1980, placing Sherlock Holmes material in the public domain. In the United States, however, some pieces published after 1923 remain protected by copyrights. In 2013, a court ruled the characters of Holmes and Watson are themselves included in public domain, perhaps opening the door for further interpretation of these Doyle characters.
5. Film and Other Portrayals
6. Robert Downey and Jude LawIn 2009, Robert Downey Jr reprised the Holmes character for a Hollywood blockbuster film, tapping Jude Law as his sidekick Watson. The sensational portrayal ignited a whole new following for the character, which was crafted in Holmes essence, but emphasised eccentric tendencies not always played-up in earlier portrayals. The well-received film was expanded with a 2011 sequel called Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Downey has been recognised with awards for his interpretation, including a Golden Globe for the first film.
7. ElementaryAmerican television viewers continue to embrace a contemporary interpretation of Doyle's Holmes character, which first aired in 2012, on the television series Elementary. The vehicle, set in the United States, stars Jonny Lee Miller as a modern-day Holmes, paired with a female version of the Watson character, played by Lucy Liu.
8. What's in the Cards for Sherlock Holmes?With copyright issues settled, and public interest clamouring for more Sherlock Holmes, there are no limits to what we might see from Doyle's enduring character. While a comedy version starring Will Ferrell as Sherlock Holmes seems to be off the cards for now, a third instalment in the popular Robert Downey Jr Sherlock franchise is set for future release. Additional rumblings of a Chinese production and even a Punjabi Sherlock may bring even greater diversity to Sherlock Holmes' ever-evolving legacy.
Author Byline: This guest post is contributed by Rebecca Gray, who writes for Backgroundchecks.org. She welcomes your comments at her email id: GrayRebecca14@gmail.com.