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The Best, Worst and Quirkiest Sherlock Holmes Interpretations


Feature by Jack Foley

THERE have been many portrayals of Sherlock Holmes and everyone has their favourite. So let’s look and some of the most memorable – for right and wrong reasons.

Best modern Holmes

This is a straight shoot-out between Benedict Cumberbatch, who played Holmes in the BBC series, Sherlock, and Jonny Lee Miller, who took the lead role in CBS’s, Elementary. Both manage to take Holmes in new directions, although Cumberbatch’s version bears more similarity to the classic image of Holmes. The BBC show did a great job of reimagining some of the classic Holmes tales and featured a brilliant supporting cast.

Having said that, there is something about Jonny Lee Miller’s character that you can’t take your eyes off. His Holmes is wired, on the edge and you can feel how his work has become the medicine for his past addiction. Again, the supporting cast is great and they manage to keep producing satisfying if somewhat formulaic storylines, even after seven full series. It might be a controversial choice but Jonny Lee Miller gets the nod.

Best classic Holmes

It would have been easy to have chosen Basil Rathbone for his legendary interpretation of the sleuth but Rathbone himself was inspired by American stage actor William Gillette who first played Holmes on the stage in 1899. Through his unique mannerisms, Gillette shaped the Holmes character for generations to come. His stage version of Holmes was brought to the screen in a silent film adaptation in 1916. The movie was thought lost but a copy was discovered in 2014 and re-mastered. Gillette gave Holmes a curved pipe and the famous line “Elementary, my dear Watson.”

Quirkiest Holmes

Holmes has had his fair share of quirky interpretations over the years but the infamous sleuth had a complete reimagining in the Holmes and the Stolen Stones slot game. This Holmes is a beefed-up muscle man covered in tattoos and wearing a cap.

Yes, he smokes a pipe but that is where the similarities to the classic image of Holmes ends. In the same game, Watson resembles a kind of bow-tied bearded hipster. The game is available at PlayOjo which also offers some free spins as a welcome bonus, plus no wagering fulfilment is required at PlayOjo which means that any winnings from your welcome bonus can be withdrawn immediately without having to play through a cash amount.

Worst Holmes

Sherlock Holmes has been played by over 75 actors but the worst portrayal of the lot was by English actor Reginald Owen. It is not that Owen is a bad actor, it was just a terrible decision to cast him in the 1933 film Study in Scarlet.

Luckily, Basil Rathbone was cast in the role just six years later and made 15 films in the space of seven years to help erase the memory of Owen’s very un-Holmes-like interpretation.

Sherlock Holmes remains the most portrayed literary human character in film and TV ever having appeared on the screen more than 250 times. With more Holmes TV shows and movies already planned, that number is set to smash the 300-barrier soon.