You know who I mean, Sherlock Holmes of course! I have very quickly learnt that he is not just popular back in the UK, but is huge around the world. In my first lesson I asked the students to tell me what they already knew about the UK. Most classes put Sherlock Holmes, a couple put 221B Baker Street (Sherlock Holmes' address) and some more wanted to know how to spell Benedict Cumberbatch! In at least one of my classes there has been a book at the back with Sherlock Holmes on it, and I have a student whose English name is Sherlock too!
But who is Sherlock Holmes? Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character created by British author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle over 100 years ago. He first appeared in print in 1887 in A Study in Scarlet, and has permeated popular culture for over a century. He has become famous for his early use of forensic science and deductive reasoning, as well as his eccentric personality. In total, Holmes features in four novels and fifty-six short stories. The majority of these are written from the perspective of his friend Dr Watson, but 2 are from Holmes’ own perspective. The final two are written in the third person. His adventures took place from around 1880 to 1914, with a minor interlude when the character was presumed dead.
Although originally a character in novels and short stories, Sherlock Holmes has become a well-known character on the big and small screen. In fact, he has the honour of holding the official Guinness World Record for the ‘Most Portrayed Movie Character’. More than seventy actors have played the role in over two hundred films. There are currently at least three actors simultaneously playing the role! Robert Downey Jr stars in the popular film franchise alongside Jude Law as Dr Watson, set in the time the character was first written. There are also two TV series which have modernised the setting. Benedict Cumberbatch is centre stage in the BBC adaptation Sherlock, with Martin Freeman as his Dr Watson. Last but not least, there is Jonny Lee Miller portraying the character in the American series Elementary alongside Lucy Liu, who plays a female Dr Watson.
Sherlock Holmes continues to entertain audiences after 100 years and there is no sign of his appeal waning any time soon.
Note from the editor: If you want to learn more about Sherlock Holmes you can watch this video.
Do you like Sherlock Holmes? Which adaptation is your favourite?