If you are fan of Conan Doyle’s original stories, Jeremy Brett was absolutely the definitive screen Sherlock Holmes. I mentioned this to a friend, an admirer of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Holmes, who then decided to download a few episodes, and she said, ” I did not realize Benedict Cumberbatch was completely emulating Jeremy Brett!”

I have not seen Benedict Cumberbatch, but to give him the benefit of the doubt, he might not be emulating Jeremy Brett, but instead he’s simply impersonating Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes from the stories, which is what Jeremy Brett did and which is why I love his Holmes. Sherlock Holmes from the stories was an egocentric neurotic (albeit extraordinarily polite and gracious), and I have always said Brett had him down perfectly, unlike any of the iconic movie Holmes’s like Basil Rathbone. So perhaps that’s all Cumberbatch is doing.

It’s a sad and an ironic aspect of modern life that while everyone is familiar with Sherlock Holmes through moves and teevee, relatively few people bother to read the original stories anymore. That’s a real pity because of all the reading I have ever done, I believe the Sherlock Holmes stories have given me the most pleasure. They are really that good, well-crafted and with extremely interesting and likable characters (Holmes, Watson and even Mrs Hudson and Inspector Lestrade, for whom you often feel rather sorry). The only other writing I enjoy as much is Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe stories.